Friday, November 27, 2020

Blog tour: North Fanger by Jayne Bamber, with giveaway!


A campy, vampy fusion of Pride & Prejudice with Northanger Abbey...

Elizabeth Bennet and her cousin Catherine Morland travel into Kent to visit the recently married Collinses in the village of Hunsford, near the great estate of Rosings Park. Elizabeth anticipates that the visit will be very dull indeed, while Catherine believes adventure and romance await them there, just as in the gothic novels she adores.

Within a week, both women have their expectations subverted by the sudden arrival of a vampire into their midst. The ladies at the parsonage take flight, accompanied by the outraged Colonel Fitzwilliam, his outwitted cousin, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy – and an out-of-control fledgling vampire.

Proving herself indispensable during the undead Darcy debacle, Elizabeth becomes the heroine her cousin Catherine always knew she was – and enviously wishes to be herself – as she leads them to Bath in search of the wily Silas Bennet, an expert in all matters vampiric.

But amidst the hunt for Uncle Silas, other predators enter the fray, all in search of one very old man, and a very young vampire. In Bath they encounter the Tilneys, the Thorpes, and an array of familiar faces and vicious villains bent on wreaking bloody havoc, leading a merry band of misfits to take shelter in a place too spooky not to hold secrets of it’s own: Northanger Abbey.


Extract

After Catherine and her new friend parted ways with Elizabeth, it was but a short walk to the Allens’ lodgings in Pulteney Street. She had already discovered the essentials about her new friend - Miss Tilney had lost her mother nine years before, and her oldest brother not long after. She was four-and-twenty, nearly a spinster, and perhaps this was why she rather reminded Catherine of Charlotte.

“I wonder that you have never married, Miss Tilney,” Catherine observed. “You are not so very plain, your manners are open and easy, and I think you said your father is a gentleman….”


Miss Tilney colored for a moment, and looked away. “Call me Eleanor, please.” She was quiet just long enough for Catherine to repent her impertinent question, but at length she answered, “I have wished to marry, to be sure - but I could never leave my brother Henry. I am all he has in the world.”

“What of your father?”

“My father is - well… Henry and I are very close, and he is so ill.”

“Oh! And he is not married, then?”

“No, and more’s the pity.” Eleanor smiled wryly. “He is very handsome, you know. He wished to be a parson, before… before he fell ill.”

“What is his affliction?”

Eleanor’s face belied a long-suffering melancholy. “It is a… a hematological disorder, a very uncommon thing - we have every hope of finding a doctor here in Bath who can cure him.”

“I hope you do! Is he very ill, then?” Catherine did not recognize the word Eleanor had used to describe her brother’s affliction, but she was too embarrassed to admit as much to her older and wiser companion. Her interest was captivated by the thought of her brave and kindly friend tending to a handsome, ailing brother - if he was truly so like Eleanor in disposition, Catherine thought she would very much like to meet him. “Is he confined to a sick bed, or might he take the waters? Shall he go out in society at all here in Bath?”

Eleanor bit her lip and knit her brow for a moment. “It is a curious thing - it comes and goes. I have every hope of coaxing him out of the house some evening - particularly as I now have some acquaintance here. He is generally unable to leave the house in the mornings and afternoons, but perhaps an assembly might tempt him.”

“Sick in the mornings! My mother was thus when she carried all my brothers and sisters - of course, I daresay your brother does not suffer that affliction. If he does not go out in the day, but only of an evening, I might guess he was a vampire!” Catherine laughed at her own folly, but Miss Tilney grew serious.

“He is very hopeful of finding a cure, and leading a perfectly normal life thereafter.”

“Oh - well, I am very glad for him, then,” Catherine said, fretting over her own silliness. By now they had reached the Allens’ lodgings, and Mrs. Allen appeared at the window, waving merrily at them. Eleanor was tempted to come inside and be introduced, though she insisted she must go away directly.

“Of course - it is nearly sundown, and we cannot let you walk all the way back to Laura place in the dark,” Mrs. Allen observed, simultaneously admiring the lace and intricate trim of Eleanor’s day dress. “But you must stay for dinner - what a fine thing, Cathy, for James is to bring guests tonight - my old school friend Mrs. Thorpe is in Bath, and her daughters - and your brother James is intimately acquainted with them - but surely your father will not object, Miss Tilney!”

Miss Tilney gently declined, Catherine pressed, Mrs. Allen pressed more, and in the end an engagement was formed for the following night instead - Miss Tilney would dine with them at seven in Pulteney Street, and convey the invitation to her invalid brother. 

 

***

 

Mr. Tilney, as it happened, was very handsome. He was fair, like his sister and looked no older than Eleanor, and though his countenance might be called pale, his face conveyed such candid affability and mischievous energy as to render him uncommonly good looking. He was tall and lean, but nothing about his person indicated the slightest detectable ailment. 

His vitality was coupled with impish charm and easy manners; ten minutes served to acquaint him so well with his six new friends as to rival a friendship of many years. Only when they sat down to dinner did Catherine recall his illness. 

He waved away the soup with a self-deprecating laugh, “You will think me far older than I appear - but I cannot possibly take a morsel of food - I hope I do not offend your gracious hospitality, Mrs. Allen. I am an invalid, you see.”

“You have come to the right place, then, sir!”

Now he turned to address Catherine in particular. “Do you think me very odd, Miss Morland? I must regiment my diet ever so carefully, until Dr. Bennet can advise me. But when I am cured, I am sure I shall devour every pheasant, quail, and pig in the county!”

Elizabeth coughed, and Mr. Darcy, seated at her side, quickly patted her back and gestured for her to drink some wine. Catherine gave her brother a knowing look, and he rolled his eyes from further down the table. Once she had recovered, Elizabeth asked incredulously, “Dr. Bennet?”

“Yes,” Eleanor replied. “When I asked after your relations yesterday, I thought there might be some connection. My father is hoping to secure my brother a meeting with Dr. Bennet, though I understand he is rather elusive - quite in demand, I imagine.”

“Ah. Well, my uncle is a merchant, not a physician,” Elizabeth replied. Catherine happily observed that her cousin and Mr. Darcy now appeared to be holding hands under the table. 

“You have not answered my question, Miss Morland. Do you think me very odd?”

“Very odd,” she said with a smirk.

He held her gaze for a moment, suppressing a smile as he pretended to pout. “I shall make but a poor figure in your journal tomorrow.”

“My journal?”

“Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Sunday, dinner at Pulteney Street. Appeared much to advantage, but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted invalid, who refused to eat any of Mrs. Allen’s fine fare, and distressed me by his nonsense.”

Catherine laughed. “Indeed I shall say no such thing.”

“Shall I tell you what you ought to say?”

“If you please.”

“I dined with a very agreeable man - danced a reel after, thought him exceedingly light on his feet and heavy with praise of me - seems most an extraordinary genius - I hope I may know more of him, so I have agreed to join him and his relations at the theatre tomorrow. That, my dear Miss Morland, is what I wish you to say.”

Catherine grinned at him, and he laughed at himself, smiling at her as though she were the only person in the room. Catherine felt a warm, pleasant sensation spread across her chest - a frightening fluttering of her heart - she realized she was being flirted with by this exceptionally handsome, charming, and entirely vital man - at last! 

Before she could reply, Mrs. Allen cried out with excitement. “But we are already engaged for the theatre tomorrow! What a fine thing - we are sure to see you there!”

“And will you come to the theatre Miss Bennet, Mr. Darcy?”

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy exchanged a look of private conversation before the gentleman answered. “My sister is not yet out in society, and the widow Collins is a guest of the house….”

“I shall attend,” Elizabeth declared, with a look of teasing defiance at Mr. Darcy. “I should not like to be out very late, but I should like to accompany you, Cathy. And Cousin James, I hope your Isabella will be in attendance.”

“I believe she will be.”

“Well!” Mrs. Allen clapped her hands. “What a fine thing! How very merry we shall be!”

Catherine shivered with anticipation, and in her mission to live as the heroine from one of her novels, she was far from disappointed. By the end of the evening she was satisfied enough that she knew she could, in all sincerity, make exactly the journal entry Mr. Tilney had predicted. They spoke of books between themselves at such length, even while dancing the promised reel, that Catherine fell asleep with her head full of romantic scenes between a dashing, fair-haired hero and a rather lusty heroine who looked remarkably like herself.





Biography

Jayne Bamber is a life-long Austen fan, and a total sucker for costume dramas. Jayne read her first Austen variation as a teenager and has spent more than a decade devouring as many of them as she can. This of course has led her to the ultimate conclusion of her addiction, writing one herself.

Jayne’s favorite Austen work is Sense and Sensibility, though Sanditon is a strong second. Despite her love for Pride and Prejudice, Jayne realizes that she is no Lizzy Bennet, and is in fact growing up to be Mrs. Bennet more and more each day.

Amazon.com link


Giveaway link


Thank you so much for stopping by Jayne! Your book sounds like a lot of fun! Great extract. Good luck with it! 










4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the excerpt. Not very familiar with Ms Morland and Mr Tilney's story but this gets to be more suspenseful on what happens next. Who will end with and how will they have a HEA.

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