We’re all familiar with the adage that one should write what one knows. Here’s the thing; Jane Austen fan fiction and Regency romance, in general, are so far removed from my real life existence that they serve as the ultimate escape. For me, Historical England and its days of yore are far more intriguing than any fantasy and I love it.
My dearest, loveliest daughter was named Elizabeth at birth. She is charming and witty and, yes, obstinate. For the longest time, I got away with dressing her in the cutest little outfits imaginable, topped off with fancy ribbons and bows. I like to refer to that stage as the good old days. Then she started grade school and discovered blue jeans.
She’s always eager to know anything she can about her birth family. I’ve long supposed she might one day wish to meet them, which leads me to wonder what would happen if indeed such a life changing prospect were to occur.
While I can only wonder and pray for the best if indeed such a day does come, in So Far Away: Everything Will Change Book Two, Lady Sophia learns first-hand what happens when the daughter she raised as her own meets her birth family.
Here’s an excerpt from the upcoming release:
As soon as the last of Longbourn’s guests were gone, Lady Sophia and Elizabeth excused themselves from the rest of the family party for time alone in Elizabeth’s room. The two sat side by side on Elizabeth’s bed, as had always been their wont when at home.
“Pray you’re not horrified by my family’s rather untoward behavior. As you have surmised, my Hertfordshire relations are nothing like the Gardiners.”
“Elizabeth, my dear, you must never feel the need to apologize to me for the people who are your own flesh and blood.”
Her spirits rising to playfulness, Elizabeth asked, “Not even Mr. Collins?”
“Not even Mr. Collins. I wager that were you to think of any number of our lofty aristocratic acquaintances, you would find they are not unlike your relations. Enjoying wealth and privilege does not alter the fact that people are very much the same wherever we go.”
“Of course, you are correct. I shall endeavor to remember that the next time my idiot cousin delivers one of his preposterous speeches or my youngest sister parades herself before one of the officers.”
“Indeed, it’s human nature to want to prove one’s significance. Not everyone goes about it in the same manner.”
Elizabeth picked up her little doll with golden hair and blue eyes and started smoothing its dress.
Lady Sophia placed her hand on her chest. “I cannot believe you still carry this little doll with you on all your travels after all these years.”
Elizabeth smiled and hugged her doll tightly. “I can never go anywhere without Jane. I’m afraid I would be lost without her.”
Her ladyship smiled in turn. “Do you remember when your grandfather presented it to you? I shall never forget it. My, what a fuss you made that day. We were walking along hand in hand down the street and you tore away and raced over to the shop window, crying, “Jane — Jane!” You would not be satisfied until you pulled me inside and insisted the shopkeeper remove it from its window display.”
Elizabeth toyed with the doll’s golden ringlets while she listened to her ladyship recount the story she had heard so many times before. She could never hear enough how His Grace had finally relented amid her protests that persisted for days until, at last, the doll was hers. Indeed, she carried her Jane doll with her whenever she traveled. Not one night had passed in all the time she could remember that she did not give her beautiful doll a hug before closing her eyes to sleep.
Lady Sophia recalled the turmoil in her mind of late, wondering whether she should call on Elizabeth at Longbourn or allow her more time with her Bennet relations.
“Do you think she will object?” Her ladyship had asked Avery more than once. “You know how she has always protested my tendency to hover over her.”
“That was when she was coming into her own and endeavoring to assert her independence. This is different. She loves you and she certainly wants you to be happy,” Avery had affectionately reminded his mother.
Tears welled in Lady Sophia’s eyes. She pushed a loosened tress of Elizabeth’s hair aside and brushed a kiss atop her head. “I recall many nights of holding you in my arms to comfort you and feeling so helpless in the wake of your anguish. All that time, I never knew, I never supposed that your agony was owing to His Grace’s own doing.” She wiped a tear from her cheek. “I do not know that I will ever forgive him for what he did. I know I shall never forgive myself for my own complicity—however unwittingly.”
“Pray do not blame yourself,” Elizabeth cried. “You are completely innocent in all this. You could have no way of knowing the truth behind His Grace’s wrongdoings.”
“I believed what I wanted to believe. Having lost my husband and my precious little Bethany, the thought of facing yet another day became increasingly unbearable. Before I met you, I had no desire to carry on. Oh, Elizabeth, you changed all that. You came into my life at a time when I needed you most. I fell in love with you the moment I first laid eyes on you. You filled my life with joy and a new purpose.” Again, she kissed Elizabeth atop her head. “You, my dear, mean the world to me.”
It’s giveaway time! I use these Jane Austen Note Cards, and I absolutely love them. I’d like to give away a set to a lucky commenter. A US mailing address is required to be eligible to receive this prize. Therefore, I’m offering a second prize that is up for grabs internationally. It’s an ebook edition of So Far Away: Everything Will Change Book Two.
One winner of the note cards and one winner of the ebook will be chosen on Wednesday, March 18th.