The timing just happened to work out this way, but lost in and amongst the blog tour and release of Mistress, I happened to have another new release: the audiobook for A Constant Love. So I thought I would devote my post this month to the audiobook, and give readers some chances to win it.
While I will not allow it to be quite as famous as a certain other opening line, I’ve had the opening line to L. P. Hartley’s The Go-Between in my mind as I thought about what I would say about this release: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”
When I wrote A Constant Love, my primary goal was of course to continue Pride and Prejudice. But I did have other things I wished to do with the series. One was to bring in a bit of the Georgian Royal Navy, that world of Patrick O’Brian’s novels. It had always astounded me that the worlds Austen and O’Brian wrote about took place during the same time period, and yet were so entirely different: the estates, towns, and villages of the English countryside vs. the wooden walls of Nelson’s navy. There were naval characters, of course, in some of Austen’s work, and O’Brian’s characters did spend some time ashore in Britain, but I wanted to bring those worlds much closer together.
The other thing I wished to do was create that sense of being in history, of visiting that “foreign country.” I find that era to be a fascinating one, and its history provided ample opportunities to help drive the plot: the Corn Bill Riots and Napoleon’s Hundred Days in particular. Yet it was also the smaller, day-to-day aspects of living back then that I found important, and I wanted to give readers a sense of living in that time. Jane Austen, of course, wrote at a time when the Regency was the “modern era.” Her readers had no need for details about dresses, dinners, balls, or even a walk or ride in Hyde Park. So it was a delicate balance, to provide more details to readers, while still remaining as true as I could to the tone of the original.
I had not thought of it in this way (indeed, for a long time I did not think I would ever do an audiobook), but I think this is one of the aspects that makes it work well as an audiobook. One of my readers described me in a review as favoring character development over angst, and I think that’s a very apt description – while the story has moments of romantic and other tension, a great bit of it is about character development, and that visit to the past.
However, none of that would work without wonderful narration, and so I was very fortunate to have Verona Westbrook on the project. The primary reason I had thought I would never do an audiobook is that I felt this needed to be done in a British accent, and Verona’s lovely voice is that, and much more, as she truly brings these characters to life.
So although I never expected to do an audiobook for this story, I’m very happy to have been able to do so. It’s a great opportunity to escape into that Regency world while commuting or cleaning the house, and spend many hours with the characters of Pride and Prejudice. But you don’t have to take my word for it – a sample is below, and you can have a look at its reviews on Audible.
And now it’s time to give away some audiobooks! I have FIVE audiobooks to give away here! Comment below by 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 to enter.