Good Afternoon everyone,
I am very happy to welcome once more at From Pemberley to Milton author Jayne Bamber who is here to talk a little more about her upcoming novel Five Daughters Out at Once. Mrs. Bamber has released some of the most innovative austenesque stories I’ve heard about mixing up many of Austen’s novels in one single story and recently I have learned that many of them are actuallly available at audible, so I will certainly be checking them out soon!
Thank you so much for visiting Jayne, and best of luck with this new book 🙂 I am sure readers will like reading what you brought us.
Hello Dear Janeites, it is a pleasure to be back at From Pemberley to Milton to share more details of my new release, Five Daughters Out At Once.
This is my eighth novel in the Austenesque genre, and like most of the ones that have preceded it, this book is focused on, but not limited to, the characters of Pride & Prejudice. The Bennet sisters are the primary focus of the novel, which begins with tragedy at Longbourn and then at Rosings. Bonding over loss – and loathing of Mr. Collins – Lady Catherine and the Bennet sisters find themselves residing harmoniously together at Netherfield.
Those of you who have been following my blog tour will know that Mr. Darcy, his sister Georgiana, and their cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam also come to stay at Netherfield, and that ere long Lady Catherine fills the house up even more, with a house party full of eligible bachelors for the Bennet sisters’ benefit. Lady Catherine is convinced these familiar Austen heroes are in possession of large fortunes and in want of wives, but Elizabeth Bennet is not so sure about her companions, and will be stirring the pot in today’s excerpt, which gives of some serious Box Hill vibes….
Frank Churchill would make a sketch of Elizabeth, and took prodigious pride in his work. “You have taken my likeness metaphorically – I shall reciprocate in the most literal of terms,” he said, making little invisible adjustments to her pose, his fingertips brushing her shoulders, her chin, a loose wisp of her hair. It was a bold means of flirting, accompanied by many brief, smoldering looks, and yet he made such a show of arranging everything before beginning his sketch that to anyone else looking on it might have appeared more comical than provocative.
Lady Catherine was certainly watching them from the card table with the others of her old set, and though she looked on with proud affection and even the occasional wink, Elizabeth was mortified. “You must let me hold something.” She picked up the nearest book, a volume of poetry, and with one hand she raised it up to shield her face from view.
“Ahem – Miss Elizabeth, nobody really reads in so serious a fashion as that, I am sure, and I must see your face,” Mr. Churchill cajoled her.
Elizabeth lowered the book enough to peek up at him with a wide smile. Mr. Darcy had come into the room and was moving that way, to approach his sister; Elizabeth could not resist the impulse to reply to Frank a little louder than strictly necessary, “I am resolved to improve my mind through extensive reading.”
Mr. Churchill laughed, and in making way for Mr. Darcy to pass, he drew closer to Elizabeth, repositioning her posture once more. His hands covered hers as he gently lowered the book to a more realistic pose, and Elizabeth felt her face flush with heat at the contact; beyond them, Mr. Darcy scowled and retreated to speak with Georgiana.
Here, the proud gentleman was thwarted again – Miss Crawford intercepted him, begging for a partner in a game of chess. “Your cousin promised me yesterday that he and I would have a game, but I understand he is much occupied with estate matters – how magnanimous of him to be so attentive to your aunt. But I am sure you will show the same gallantry in indulging me,” she purred at Mr. Darcy, who looked so reluctant to oblige Miss Crawford that Elizabeth almost pitied the man.
Miss Tilney looked up and offered Miss Crawford a warm smile. “I will play with you, if Mr. Darcy does not like to.”
“No, no indeed,” Miss Crawford cried, attempting to wave her off with a gentle laugh. “I could not disrupt your conference in the corner, there – you are all afflicted with novel-mania, and I am sure you would not be minding the game at all. But I daresay Mr. Darcy despises novels, and would do much better to employ the powers of his mind over a game of strategy.”
While seated beside the great readers of their group, Miss Tilney appeared to be sketching, though more discreetly than Mr. Churchill; she did not correct Miss Crawford’s misapprehension, but looked over at her nearest companions. Lydia, Georgiana, and Henry Tilney were poring over a book Mr. Crawford had given them to examine – Lydia and Georgiana seemed especially affronted by the slight upon their pursuit, offering Miss Crawford a matching pair of grimaces before returning their attention to their beloved novels. Miss Crawford looked momentarily chagrined, but squared her shoulders back and laughed it off. “Sir?”
“I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” Mr. Darcy said in all solemnity; he sat across from Miss Crawford at a little table just large enough for the chessboard and motioned for her to open the game.
Elizabeth and Mr. Churchill had watched this exchange with considerable private amusement; a look between them served to express their mutual appreciation of such an absurd display of hauteur. He ceased his sketching for just a moment to lean close to Elizabeth and whispered, “She certainly knows how to enthrall a man of such discernment.”
“Oh yes,” Elizabeth replied softly. “She shall make him a proper wife!”
Mr. Churchill smirked, looking ready to say something else very wicked and very clever, when Lady Catherine called out to him, playfully demanding to know what he and Elizabeth were speaking of. “Husbands and wives,” he answered directly.
Elizabeth managed to hold her pose as Mr. Churchill resumed his sketching once more, but she flicked her eyes over to the dowager as she added, “I have always supposed that felicity in marriage is entirely a matter of chance, your ladyship – that it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”
Jane had been playing at the pianoforte on the other side of the room, but she missed a few notes and turned to look at Elizabeth with some little alarm. Mr. Crawford, who had been listening attentively at Jane’s side, now chuckled merrily and turned about to speak. “You know that is not sound, Miss Elizabeth – I do hope you would not act that way yourself. My uncle had such a marriage, and I quite pitied my aunt.”
“He is happier now – but the less said about that the better,” Miss Crawford said with a sniff.
“Miss Elizabeth is laughing at us all,” Mr. Darcy said evenly, something like mirth in his eyes as he moved his knight across the board to capture one of Miss Crawford’s pawns. “A poor gambit,” he murmured.
He had once before noted her delight in professing opinions which were not her own, and Elizabeth was at once impressed and annoyed by his ability to see through her teasing with such acuity. “Indeed, I am not,” she replied to the room at large – nearly everybody was listening to her banter now, but Elizabeth was not daunted by this. “I am quite at my leisure, you know, and am grown philosophical. It occurs to me to wonder how well one person might become acquainted with another, at a house party or in some public place like Bath.”
“Such things do occur, undoubtedly,” Lady Catherine said wryly.
“A hasty and impudent attachment may arise,” Mr. Darcy, his gaze alighting upon Elizabeth as cannily as ever. “But there is generally time to recover from it afterward. It can only be weak, irresolute characters – whose happiness must be always at the mercy of chance – who will suffer an unfortunate acquaintance to be an inconvenience, an oppression forever.”
“Short of that, it is all guess and luck,” Miss Crawford tittered.
Mr. Bertram looked up from a book depicting illustrations of the cathedrals of Rome, which he had been examining with Mary, and fixed Miss Crawford with an inscrutable look. “Perhaps you are right – how many a man has committed himself on short acquaintance and rued it all the rest of his life!”
Mr. Ferrars began to cough; Kitty patted him gently on the back. Everyone in the room was now looking about at one another; Elizabeth had not intended to spark such a debate, but relished what she had unwittingly initiated. She smiled broadly as she waited for someone else to speak out, and ere long Mr. Crawford obliged them. “It is only by seeing women in their own homes, among their own set, just as they always are, that one can form any just judgement.” He smiled at Elizabeth, offering her just the trace of a wink before he leaned forward against the pianoforte and beckoned for Jane to continue playing.
Elizabeth was ready to consider the group discussion at an end, but as she glanced over at Mr. Churchill, he looked up from his sketching and flashed her a bright smile before saying, “I have so little confidence in my own judgement that whenever I marry, I hope someone shall choose my wife for me. Lady Catherine, what do you say? Shall you undertake the commission?”
Elizabeth was happy to still be holding the book of poetry, and raised it higher to cover the blush that spread across her cheeks at Mr. Churchill’s saucy teasing. As she tried to regain command of her countenance, Lady Catherine replied in her most imperious tone, “You shall have a charming wife, Frank.”
Jane resumed the concerto she had been practicing; Elizabeth was as pleased to see her elder sister smile shyly up at Mr. Crawford as she was to hear the conversation turn – the talk of husbands and wives had dwindled, and the division of their large party into smaller groups once again prevailed. Mr. Churchill was still prone to giving her some very significant looks as he went about his sketching, and Elizabeth began to read aloud to him to distract herself from the flustering effect of his gaze. His endeavors lasted another half-hour, and then he was ready to display the fruit of his labors and be praised for the result.
Lady Catherine beckoned Mr. Churchill to bring the sketch to her, that she might have the first look at it when it was complete, and she was at once in raptures, declaring it must be framed and displayed in a place of great distinction. Mr. Churchill was subsequently entreated to make a circuit of the room, showing the portrait to all, to mixed review. Most of their companions were pleased and ready to offer praise; Elizabeth’s sisters were the only critics, finding fault with the eyebrows and lashes – until Mr. Churchill presented the drawing to Mr. Darcy for inspection.
He looked at it in silence for an interminable space of time; until Miss Crawford leaned across the chessboard, displaying herself to no little advantage as she declared, “You have made her too tall.”
“Certainly not,” Frank cried. “Consider, she is sitting down, which naturally presents a different aspect – I am sure the proportions have been preserved.”
“I rather wonder at her reading material,” Mr. Darcy quipped. “You have shaded over the cover of the book, and given it no title at all, though I have heard her reading poetry to you. You ought to inscribe a title – a volume of sonnets, I think, would do very well.”
Elizabeth had expected something more severe; her surprise was tinged with relief – and something else. She knew he intended some private insinuation by referencing sonnets, as this had been a jest she made her first night at Netherfield – something about driving away love – but she was determined not to attempt to puzzle the man out.
Thank you, dearest readers, for following my blog tour! Best of luck to all of you in the giveaway – I will be announcing the winners on Release Day, April 7th. For those of you who missed a post, each stop on the blog tour has featured a tantalizing excerpt. Happy Reading!
After the untimely death of their parents, Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters are left to make their own way in the world, and the dubious decision to stay at Longbourn until they are forced out leads to chaos and confrontation two years later, when their cousin Mr. Collins comes to claim his inheritance.
Hot on his heels is his noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a woman consumed by grief of her own after the loss of her husband and daughter in a terrible fire at her estate, Rosings Park. While her nephew Mr. Darcy is shocked by his aunt’s interest in the five orphaned girls, her niece Georgiana thinks it just the thing to soothe the dowager’s low spirits. Moved by the bonds of sorrow and a shared contempt of Mr. Collins, Lady Catherine offers the Bennet sisters her protection and assistance in society – and what better way to help them than to find them all rich husbands?
Much to her chagrin, Lady Catherine is not the only one to meddle in Meryton’s marriage mart – Richard Fitzwilliam joins her, at leisure to make mischief, Charlotte Lucas, now an heiress in her own right, has a secret of her own, and Georgiana Darcy finds herself inspired to write a novel that will document – and change – the lives of her new friends.
Tensions rise between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy as they both bristle at Lady Catherine’s plans – for very different reasons. Misapprehension and misunderstandings abound and plans go awry as the great lady rents Netherfield Park and hosts a horde of single gentlemen in possession of good fortunes, who must be in want of wives.
Will the Bennet sisters find love and happiness? What other Austen heroes and rakes might appear in the once dull village of Meryton? Will Darcy and Lizzy overcome the obstacles of their own making?
You can find Five Daughters Out at once on pre order at:
Jayne Bamber is kindly offering one ebook copy of Five Daughters Out at Once to readers following her blog tour. To apply to the giveaway, comment on this post and click on the following Rafflecopter Link.