In Plain Sight – Guest Post by Don Jacobson

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:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

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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

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

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:

Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author’s Page

Goodreads Author’s Page (with blog)

Author Website 

Twitter  (@AustenesqueAuth)

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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.

25 Comments

Filed under giveaway, Pride and Prejudice

25 responses to “In Plain Sight – Guest Post by Don Jacobson

  1. donjacobsoncarpediem

    Thank you, Rita, for hosting me today. I am excited to interact with everybody as we move deeper into my thinking behind the creation of “In Plain Sight.”

    Like

  2. I appreciated this insight into how this story came to be. It is an ambitious enterprise to take Darcy so far from where we are used to seeing him. Thanks for the post, Don and Rita!

    Like

  3. Jan Hahn

    I enjoyed your post, Don, and I’m glad you made Mr. Bennet a helper in your story. So many times, his indolent nature causes writers to transform him into a villain, and that’s not my Mr. Bennet. I have a soft spot for him and love to see him be a good guy. Thanks for having Don as your guest, Rita. This book looks like a real winner!

    Like

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      Hi, Jan…thank you for this. Mr. Bennet has always been (in my opinion) given short shrift. I have tried to make him a more three-dimensional character…a man with faults, but also virtues…someone a reader could see gracing the head of their dining table. A real person.

      Like

  4. Love the role reversal in regards to social status.

    Like

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      Thank you. I was looking for something to move the plot forward…something that had not been used before…not a scarlet pimpernel, but a true, Job-like, stripping of status to explore the underlying bedrock of the man and the woman.

      Like

  5. J. W. Garrett

    Thanks to Rita for hosting and to Don and his publisher for the generous giveaway. 8 lucky people will have this fabulous book. It is unlike anything we have read before. It grips you by the throat right from the first. This is no frilly, fluff piece. This story is gritty, marvelous, scary, horrifying, and the best D&E face-time I’ve seen in a while. I am wishing you all the best on this launch, Don. Yeah, I’m stalking you along the blog tour. Not sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      You are one of my angels (no, not in the Bingley sense). Your support on fan fic throughout the creation of In Plain Sight guided me along. Authors write their truth. That authenticity shines through the work which, in its own right, becomes the greater truth as it is the author’s voice speaking to the reader through characters and plot. Thank you.

      Like

  6. caroleincanada

    I am amazed Don, though I probably shouldn’t be by now, how this concept of Darcy being the lesser to Elizabeth came to be. Yes, we have seen where Elizabeth may be from a higher class (in the aristocracy) than Darcy, but for Darcy to be a convict and garner Elizabeth’s attention was definitely an inspiring premise. You really took it down to its roots and laid them both bare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      That was my goal…we have become inured to the “traditional” Darcy and Elizabeth. If I was to create a work around them, to tell a truth, we all needed to see the stuff of which both were made. Thank you for being in my corner! As always.

      Like

  7. Glynis

    Oh Rita please take care! I hope the threat is soon eased.
    Now as regards this book, I know you will absolutely love it! It’s completely different which is one of your criteria. It’s gripping, emotional and the characters as described above make it a wonderful story. Some descriptions of actions brought me to tears. The people who helped are so dedicated while there are the despicable people acting against ODC. Part three is fabulous as all concerned are rewarded or punished!
    As you can probably guess I absolutely loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      G- I did want to create something that was different…but the desire to do that was not the reason the action flows as it does. I am an organic writer (building as I go). The plot, the characters, the book itself told me where to go with this. There are times when I engage in automatic writing, allowing my inner guide (a feature that you see in the Bennet Wardrobe) to speak the truth as it must be spoken. Thank you for your plaudits.

      Like

  8. maryvad

    Don,

    May I commend you on such an original plot! It sounds intriguing and one I very much look forward to reading.

    Thank you,Rita,for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      And with a smile, I look forward to your review. I do hope that my thoughts on the supporting characters reveal something more about the book. I see them as the third leg of a stool–Darcy being one and Elizabeth being the second–which support the plot (the seat). Thank you for your support!

      Like

  9. There am I always hoping for a Colonel and Mary Bennet storyline (my favourite) . At least it is not a Collins

    Liked by 1 person

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      Yes…but in this (mine) universe, any Henry Wilson has his Annie Reynolds…and any Mary Bennet has her Edward Benton. There will always be a Doctor (or Mr.) Campbell to patch all up! I am inclined to have Richard Discover the gem that is Charlotte Lucas (alluded to in the Netherfield Library Scene in IPS) if he does not (as in the Wardrobe) find Lydia. I tend to dispatch Collins. He is such a disposable creature.

      Like

  10. ForeverHis

    One of the elements that I enjoyed most about the book–in addition to the Mary/Benton story and the strong character of Mr. Bennet–was Lizzy’s intuitive sense about William, from the first moment she saw him when he tried to help Wilson and was knocked unconscious for his efforts. She knew, she just knew…

    Like

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      There are cords, fibers of invisible energy flowing throughout the Universe. The ley lines that are the life forces of Elizabeth and Darcy are so consonant, so attuned to one another, that they resonate when in close proximity. Thank you for your note here!

      Like

  11. Beatrice

    Much as i loved this story at first reading, his insightful guest post gives me deeper appreciation of Don’s talents as demonstrated in this incredible book. Time to re-read! Which will be easier now I can relax about – not fear – the outcome.

    Like

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      Thank you so much. Your kind words were blush-worthy. The comments and reviews about my process essays have been quite gratifying. Please feel free to leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon! Check you tomorrow’s post which ought to give you a bit more ending!

      Like

  12. suzanlauder

    It’s rare to hear about how the characters were cast to support the main characters in a story. This story, being quite un-canon, is especially interesting in that regard. Thanks, Don. Also obrigada to Rita for hosting.

    Like

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      SL…thank you for the nod. I felt that it was so important finish the inversion of Darcy to move him, as I noted, from the ever-officious helper to the helpless.

      Like

  13. evamedmonds

    Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway. Can’t wait to read it.

    Like

    • donjacobsoncarpediem

      And I am looking forward to your review. I do hope you find it engaging and something different from the normal fare.

      Like

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