Good Afternoon everyone,
I hope you are all in good health and that you’re keeping safe on your side of the globe.
Things are starting to get back to normal in Portugal, but my area of residence is one of the few that has been seeing more and more cases lately, so we had extra confinements measures been announced today. I wasn’t happy to hear this, but that means more time at home, and that means more time for my blog and for reading. Maybe this will help me decrease my ever growing TBR! Speaking of which, I have a new book in it, it’s In Plain Sight, Don Jacobson’s latest book.
In case you’ve missed it, I revealed the cover for this book a week ago, and at the time I had a chance to look into this book more carefully and got very curious. I’ve read 3 books from the Wardrobe Series, so I know Don Jacobson is a natural storyteller, and this new book is totally focused on Darcy and Elizabeth, with a very different premise, so based on those two aspects alone, I know I am in for a treat.
What about it? Aren’t curious about this book? Have you read it yet? In case you haven’t heard much about it, I’ll leave you with the blurb and Don’s guest post. I hope you enjoy 🙂
“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
You can find In Plain Sight at:
Looking For the Helpers
Thank you, Rita, for hosting me today on your wonderful blog. I look forward to replying to your readers’ comments. DJ
American television personality Fred Rogers related that his mother gave him some essential advice as a young boy: Look for the helpers. This simple recipe distills the essential nature of well-functioning human societies. Persons we would consider “helpers” are those who act to relieve life’s pain, to bring people to a better place, to soothe and comfort.
Oddly enough, the man at the center of Pride and Prejudice was not someone who would ever actively seek out assistance. Darcy was far too confident in his abilities that he was constitutionally unable to ask anyone for aid. When his natural shyness was factored in, his self-assuredness often was construed as arrogant pomposity. This attitude, of course, was deployed by Austen as a device to set Elizabeth Bennet’s teeth on edge and send events cascading throughout the book.
Would that Darcy could have been more like Bingley, but then we would not be here today!
The novel grew from my sentiment that Darcy could be taught to set aside his insufferable pride at being Darcy of Pemberley independent (at least in is essentials) of the fraught love for Elizabeth. To do that, I had to strip away that cloak of wealth and invincibility. He could no longer be Fitzwilliam Darcy, one of Derbyshire’s greatest landowners. He had to become what he earlier would have seen as nobody, invisible to any who mattered. Fitzwilliam Darcy had to disappear before the man himself could discover how to be worthy of the name.
He, of course, could not do it alone. Nor, could he accomplish this solely through Elizabeth’s good offices. While her love would redeem him, he needed others to get him to the place where that force could be usefully applied.
As I wrote In Plain Sight, I found myself surrounding Fitzwilliam Darcy with a cloud of helpers. This grew from the essential inversion of Darcy’s position in the world: no longer was he the helper, but rather he, in his guise as Smith, was the helpless. No longer was he an independent actor. Instead he, as a convicted felon, was utterly dependent upon the whims of his warders, men who determined his work, his home, his food, and, most tellingly, his punishment.
In the Canon secondary characters often become grace notes: useful to amplify plot details or to establish the nature of other individuals, but not required to be painted in the same detail as Darcy or Elizabeth. Given the task assigned to them, In Plain Sight’s extra characters had to be deeper and richer so that readers could watch them help the solitary man, the prodigal. Thus, I had to build the supporting cast layer-by-layer as we move through the book.
Others may come to the forefront in the novel, but here are some supporting individuals I directed toward the rehabilitation of William Smith. Please note that I am not forgetting the essential nature of Elizabeth’s love for the convict Smith as being the ultimate force that eases his path back to Pemberley.
Henry Wilson: The youthful convict provides us with the power of Smith’s innate character. His backstory as one who formerly would have been ignored, if tolerated, by Fitzwilliam Darcy ignites the first central plotline. Later in the book, Wilson’s marriage to a young Darcy House servant, Annie Reynolds, moves the tale forward at Hedgebrook House where he has risen to under-steward and Annie, as Mrs. Reynolds’ niece, to under-housekeeper.
Mary Bennet and Edward Benton: The story of this young couple serves to educate Elizabeth while also working in concert to help Smith reclaim his honor and freedom. Benton stands as the antithesis to William Collins. Benton’s nobleness of character shows us that the man who had captured Mary’s heart was more than a simple country vicar. Likewise, his shining standard shows us that Mary has scruples and approaches life much like her older sisters. Mary creates an interesting counterpoint to Elizabeth deep in the novel when she, herself, hides in plain sight to avoid the seekers.
Richard Fitzwilliam: Delegated by the court to leave the army and assume Pemberley’s proprietorship, Fitzwilliam does much of the heavy lifting on Smith’s behalf in Book Two, being forced to behave much like the original Darcy. He also removes the threat to both Smith and Lizzy in Book Three. His sardonic sense of humor provides some comic relief (Many readers have enjoyed his conversations with his stallion, Imperator. My personal favorite was his tête-à-tête with Mr. Bennet at the Dower House.) to relieve the tension inherent in the novel.
Mr. Bennet: In brief, Longbourn’s master becomes the savior of Henry Wilson, William Smith, and Elizabeth Bennet. He confronts and delays the book’s villain, Sir Thaddeus Soames as the reader transitions from Act Two to Act Three. He throws off his cloak of indolence (see the aforementioned confrontation with Richard Fitzwilliam) to stand astride the resolution of the Meryton side of the story.
I sought to avoid creating caricatures as I built the supporting cast. I will admit to leaving Mr. Collins much as we have come to see him. The power the helpers, though, brings a richer feeling to In Plain Sight by offering relatable and believable persons who can exist outside of the confines of the novel.
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 began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series—
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)
Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.
Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.
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.
You can contact Don through the following media:
Goodreads Author’s Page (with blog)
The blog tour for In Plain Sight is right in the middle, but you can still go back to check all the previous stops. You can find the schedule below:
Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson. To enter the giveaway all you need to do is comment this post and click on this link.