Monday, 17 June 2019

The Meyersons of Meryton by Mirta Ines Trupp - Author Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: The Meyersons of Meryton by Mira Ines Trupp
Today I'm welcoming a new visitor to the blog, Mirta Ines Trupp. Mirta has written a book which brings a Jewish family into P&P. She has joined us today with an excerpt from The Meyersons of Meryton, an author interview and an international ebook giveaway! Let's take a look at the blurb first.

Book Description

When a new family, thought to be associated with the House of Rothschild arrives in Meryton, a chain of events are set in place that threaten the betrothal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to her beloved Mr. Darcy.

Rabbi Meyerson and family are received at Longbourn. This inconvenience leads to misfortune, for when the rabbi disappears from the quiet market town, Mr. Bennet follows dutifully in his path.

Her father’s sudden departure shadowed by the Wickhams’ unannounced arrival has Elizabeth judging not only her reactions to these tumultuous proceedings but her suitability as the future Mistress of Pemberley. A sensible woman would give her hand in marriage without a second thought. Can Elizabeth say goodbye forever to the one man who has captured her heart?

The Meyersons of Meryton is a Pride and Prejudice variation. The narrative introduces Jewish characters and history to the beloved novel and, although there are some adult themes, this is an inspirational and clean read.
Book cover: The Meyersons of Meryton by Mira Ines Trupp
Excerpt from The Meyersons of Meryton

While the gentlemen spoke of possible mutual acquaintances, Elizabeth turned to her dear friend and, speaking sotto voce, enquired about her health.

“I am so very glad to see you Charlotte, but was it wise to come all this way in your condition?”

The lady placed a gentle hand upon her great belly and smirked.

“Dearest Lizzy, can you truly ask me that question, having experienced our neighborly relations with Rosings? To be sure, once Lady Catherine heard of your betrothal, there was no living in Kent. The rantings and ravings…Lizzy, you must promise me that a room awaits me in Pemberley if ever I run away from home again.”

The two friends shared a laugh, as the Meyerson child made herself known to the company by bursting through the door with her nurse in frenzied pursuit.

“Mama! Papa!” she cried, her sobs echoing through the corridor.

In her brave escape from the nursery, the errant adventurer had dragged her favorite counterpane along for protection, much like a knight with his chainmail or shield. However, in the child’s despair to reach her parents, she tripped on the overlong coverlet, tumbled across the floor and landed quite soundly at Mr. Darcy’s feet. So startled was she at the sudden encounter, the little miss ceased sobbing immediately and scurried up a pair of extraordinarily long legs, making herself quite at home on the gentleman’s lap. The party at once was all astonishment as the child reached up and ran her hand over the stranger’s face.

“You are not my papa,” she said quite emphatically.

Mr. Meyerson appeared at once and attempted to remove his daughter from Mr. Darcy’s person.

“Come now, Rachel,” he said sternly. “It is back to bed for you and your good nurse.”

But the child now refused to go. Burrowing her curls deep into her protector’s broad chest, Rachel’s hot tears flowed unrestrained, sullying the gentleman’s impeccably styled cravat. Her mother, aghast at this impetuous exhibition, was quite beside herself and, although the father demanded immediate obedience, the unruly daughter would not submit. The threat of having to return with Nurse to a dark and unfamiliar bedchamber sans her dolls, books and fripperies was more than she could tolerate—especially when the adult persons were assembled for an evening of entertainment and delights.

“Rachel Naomi Meyerson! You will cease this intolerable display at once!” Mrs. Meyerson commanded. But with each call from her anxious parents, Rachel wept with that much more vigor.

“Pray, be at ease, madam,” Mr. Darcy said, surprising one and all with his calm demeanor.
Elizabeth watched the proceedings as if it were all in a dream. When Mr. Darcy removed his handkerchief from his coat pocket, she felt her mouth drop open in a most unbecoming manner, as he did not wipe away the child’s tears but instead fashioned a makeshift puppet together with a ribbon taken from Rachel’s curly mop.

As the sobbing ceased, the room was suddenly, unnervingly silent. Mr. Darcy peered from under his furrowed brow to find the party entranced by his quick thinking and talented exhibition. Elizabeth gazed at him with a deeper sense of admiration than she had previously thought possible.

Who was the gentleman before her? Certainly not the same proud and arrogant man she met at the Meryton assembly. Mr. Darcy caught her stare and found both affection and amazement in her eyes.

“I used to make these little dolls for Georgiana,” he explained with a boyish grin. “She would wake in the middle of the night, frightened and crying for our mama.”

“That is very well done, Mr. Darcy,” Mr. Bennet said with a resounding slap on the gentleman’s back.

“I would never have believed it, had I not seen it with my own eyes. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Master of Pemberley!” He applauded and urged his guests to join in.

Mr. and Mrs. Meyerson had composed themselves sufficiently to cease placing the blame on each other for the child’s misconduct and began begging the pardon of their most bewildered hostess.

“I have never witnessed such behavior from any of my children,” Mrs. Meyerson confessed. “To say that I am ashamed is putting it rather mildly. I can only believe that the child is overly tired and utterly confused in these new surroundings.”

Mrs. Bennet herself was at a loss for words. She had believed them to be such elegant company, and yet they had proven to be very much like her own family. “Rachel is not your only child then?” she enquired.

“No, we have three daughters married and a son—David,” the lady said, regaining some pride.

“Three daughters married?” said Mrs. Bennet, her admiration growing for the lady with every syllable she uttered. “My goodness! I commend you, Mrs. Meyerson, for I know only too well how difficult a thing it is to bring about. I will be equally blessed when Jane and Elizabeth are wed, for my youngest, Lydia, has already been married off.”

Kitty, uninterested with all the talk about married daughters, turned to the child, who was now playing quietly with her rag doll.

“I am looking forward to the Christmas season,” she declared with great eagerness. “Are you anticipating what pretty dolls and special presents you shall receive on Boxing Day, little Rachel? When my sisters and I were your age, we made paper flowers and strung them about the drawing room. Mary had a set of figurines representing Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.”

Elizabeth would have kicked her sister if she had been close enough to impart the punishment without censure. She glanced at Mr. Darcy and watched in dismay as he closed his eyes and grimaced.

Rachel removed her thumb from her mouth and looked at the young lady who was kind enough to address her directly. “Mama says we do not celebrate that holy day.”

“You do not celebrate Christmas?”

“No.” She shook her raven curls to and fro. “We celebrate Chanukah with dreidels and latkes and chocolate coins!”

Mrs. Meyerson, laughing uneasily at this new outburst, quickly enlightened the party. “Pray understand that Rachel is schooled in all of our holidays as well as several of the Christian faith. She is, after all, the daughter of a rabbi and should be well versed in such matters as these.”

Kitty found that although she was once again discomfited by her actions, she could not resist posing another question. “But what is Chanukah?”

Finally leaving the safety of Mr. Darcy’s embrace, Rachel went to stand by her mother and removed her thumb from its favorite position. Her eyes wide and expressive, she responded to Kitty’s question.

“Evil men came from far away with armies and elephants and poured pigs’ blood all over our books and ruined everything!”

“Goodness! Perhaps if they had been faithful followers of Jesus, they would have been spared such atrocities,” Kitty suggested with sincere astonishment.

“He had not been born yet,” said little Rachel and promptly returned her thumb to its happy home.

“Miss Catherine,” Mr. Meyerson provided hurriedly, “this story takes place nearly two hundred years before the birth of your savior…”

Mary chuckled and caressing the little girl’s cheek, whispered, “Out of the mouths of babes…”

Hill entered the drawing room, only to find the inhabitants stunned and silent. Skirting her way to Mrs. Bennet’s side, the housekeeper whispered dinner was ready to be served.

The lady of the house arose, bringing the gentlemen to their feet, and without further ado, proceeded to invite her disconcerted guests to the dining room.

“Wine,” she thought. “We are in need of copious amounts of Mr. Bennet’s good wine.”

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Author Interview with Mirta Ines Trupp

Author Mirta Ines Trupp
I hope you have enjoyed reading the excerpt above. This is a variation to the story that I've never come across before. I am hoping to learn something when I read it as I am woefully ignorant when it comes to the Jewish faith.

As Mirta is a new author she has very kindly agreed to answer some questions so we can come to know her and learn a bit more about her work.

Mirta, welcome to Babblings of a Bookworm. Thank you for joining us today.

I’d like to thank you for this delightful opportunity. What author doesn’t love speaking of their work—especially in a forum of fellow Janeites and avid novel readers?

1) Please tell us a bit about yourself - how did you come to be a writer?

The inspiration for writing my first book—a Creative Nonfiction—was, first and foremost, for my kids. As an empty nester, I suddenly found myself with quite a bit of time on my hands. My fingers were tingling with the need to create something! I have three adult children and my sense of family and tradition propelled me to give them a tangible link— something that would forever remind them that they came from this loving enduring stock made up of their Jewish heritage, Russian ancestry, and Argentine culture. My first attempt at writing might be seen as amateurish at best but, I was encouraged by the reception it received. Family, friends, and strangers alike stated that they could relate to the Universal themes of the narrative. They felt themselves identified in my storyline. And isn’t that what any art form is about—human connection? That’s all it took for me. I was hooked.

2) What was your path to reading Jane Austen, and how did that lead to writing Austen-inspired stories?

Even as a young reader, I was mesmerized by historical fiction. By the time I finished high school, I believe I had read every gothic romance in the library. Miss Catherine Moreland and I would have been great friends! If memory serves me right, the Victorian era was my first experience with this genre. When I discovered Jane Austen, well—may I say—I was besotted? The truth of the matter was that the history, combined with the foreign settings, fashion, and mannerisms captured my heart and my attention. I had always been fascinated with genealogy and my family’s own history of immigration as Russian Jews, so you see; it wasn’t too far of a leap for me to want to incorporate my love for Austen with Judaica.

My first nod to Miss Austen’s work was with “Destiny by Design-Leah’s Journey.” Lydia Bennet, the silliest of young ladies of “Pride and Prejudice” fame, was most certainly in mind when I wrote Leah’s character. With lighthearted teenage bravado, Leah continually threw caution to the wind. Through her trials and tribulations, however, we do see her mature. It was my intention that readers would see a more refined—a more sensible—“Elizabeth” unfold. When I completed this novel, I felt emboldened and wrote a proper J.A.F.F. with, “The Meyersons of Meryton.”

3) This variation is one I've never come across - what made you decide to write about this?

There is an adage that states, “Write the book you wish to read.” While I can’t profess to have lived the life of the landed gentry, I wanted to pay homage to Miss Jane Austen, while acknowledging my culture and heritage. As an avid fan of Period Drama and all things Judaic, I couldn’t find anything to satisfy my cravings for a fusion of these two worlds. There are a few mash ups out there—if you look hard enough—but I found most of them to be filled with stereotypical characterizations of the Jewish community. When I did find something of merit, the material was intense heavy reading. “Daniel Deronda” written by George Eliot comes to mind—an excellent novel, but not Austenesque.

My favorite reads—period dramas set in the Regency, Victorian and Edwardian era—speak of the gentry, aristocrats, the ton and the belle époque. I wanted to create educated and successful Jewish characters. The Brodskys—the famed “Sugar Kings” of Russia—were a prime example for my fictional Abramovitz family in “Destiny by Design-Leah’s Journey.” And with regards to my Jane Austen Fan Fiction, Lady Judith and Sir Moses Montefiore inspired me to write, “The Meyersons of Meryton.”

There is a plethora of historical fiction that depicts Jews in horrid derogatory roles. There is wealth of dark Fiction and Nonfiction that speaks to the atrocity of anti-Semitism throughout the ages. That’s not what I wanted to represent, and so—as the quote advocates—I wrote the book I wanted to read.

4) Can you tell us anything about the presence of the Jewish community in the UK in Regency times?  

Oh dear! You might regret asking me that question, my friend.  There have been well-recorded communities in Kent since the year 1066, when Jews from Normandy followed William the Conqueror into England. As a history buff I could go on and on, but let me just share a few interesting tidbits.

The synagogue in Plymouth—where the Mayflower set sail for America—has been in continuous use since 1762. In Dover, Rabbi Ash began keeping a register of ‘Marriages and Circumcisions’ as early as 1768. Sir Moses Montefiore and Lady Judith were so enchanted with Ramsgate, after honeymooning there in 1812, that they purchased an estate in the sea-side resort and commissioned a Regency-style synagogue to be built for the local community. Brighton’s synagogues pre-date the first Catholic or Methodist places of worship in the city. By 1875, the Middle Street Synagogue was opened to meet the needs of an ever increasing Jewish population. It was dubbed “an opulent jewel in the crown of the South Coast’s most elegant Regency resort.”

While doing research for “The Meyersons of Meryton,” I found that there were many eminent Jewish families in my focus Regency period such as the Montefiores, the Rothchilds, the Goldsmids, and the Mocattas. Their role in society cannot be denied and should not be forgotten. Nathan Rothschild is a prime example.

Beginning in 1811, Rothschild was contracted by Commissary-General John Charles Herries to set up a network of agents in order to transfer funds to Arthur Wellesley, the famed general of the Peninsular Campaign. By 1815, once again with the help of Rothschild & Sons, the-now Duke of Wellington was able to pay his 200,000 soldiers assembled in Belgium, and subsequently, was able to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo. Needless to say, Nathan Mayer Rothschild played an extraordinary role in assisting the British Empire.

In 1812, Moses Montefiore married Judith Barent Cohen, which made him Rothschild's brother-in-law. The newlyweds went on to become one of the most influential Jewish couples throughout the Georgian and Victorian era. After retiring from the business world in 1824, Montefiore devoted his time to community and civic affairs. He was named Sheriff of London in 1837 and was knighted by Queen Victoria the following year. In 1846, he received a baronetcy in recognition of his services to humanitarian causes. The “First Lady of Anglo Jewry,” Judith Montefiore was known for her philanthropic work and devotion to the Jewish community. She was highly educated, spoke several languages and assisted her husband in his communal affairs and public activities.

I could go on but, I’ll leave it at that!  To paraphrase Mr. Collins, “…on this point, it will be as well to be silent.” I put it to you and your audience to read the novel and discover more of these hidden treasures for yourselves.

5) Are there any particular highlights that result from a Rabbi and his family being part of Meryton life? Any unexpected insights?

There are scenes that highlight the Meyerson’s traditions, and those of their fellow Jews in Meryton. Some may seem familiar, while others may prove to be new and interesting. The gay procession through the village, which has the congregation parading from the Meyerson’s abode to the apothecary’s establishment (where services were to be held) gives readers a little peek into this ancient custom of bringing the Torah (the biblical scroll) to its home with music and pomp.

From the start, Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet—true to their original characters—show interest and are open to learning from their new friends. Mrs. Bennet’s reactions while at first, are true to canon, might surprise you in the end. Her sister, Mrs. Philips, provides an opposing point of view. And while one might suppose that Mary would be the daughter most likely to engage with the pious family from London, it is Kitty’s association which proves to be most unexpected of all.

I am heartened by the response I have received from my diverse group of readers. Jewish or not, they have responded positively to, not only a rabbi and his family, but a whole community of Jews living among the other villagers in Meryton. My intentions were not to be “preachy” or to showcase the differences in between the Anglicans and Jews; rather, it was my hope to portray how these families shared similar hopes and dreams. How they could live together peacefully, and with mutual respect.

And lastly, it was my hope to take a page from Miss Austen’s repertoire. She is best known for her social commentary and her understanding of human nature. It was important to me to showcase that Jewish people were indeed a part of Regency society—and not as lowly rag merchants or miserly money lenders. The “Meyersons of Meryton” shows how people of different faiths can focus on their commonalties and help one another in difficult times.

I invite you and your audience to read the book for yourselves and come to your own conclusions. I eagerly wait to read your thoughts and commentaries. Thank you again for allowing me this platform to discuss these things near and dear to my heart and best wishes to those who enter the giveaway!

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Author Bio

Mirta is a second generation Argentine; she was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 and immigrated to the United States that same year. Because of the unique fringe benefits provided by her father's employer- Pan American Airlines- she returned to her native country frequently- growing up with 'un pie acá, y un pie allá' (with one foot here and one foot there).

Mirta's fascination with Jewish history and genealogy, coupled with an obsession for historical period drama, has inspired her to create these unique and enlightening novels. She has been a guest speaker for book clubs, sisterhood events, genealogy societies and philanthropic organizations.

Connect with Mirta: Amazon - Facebook - Goodreads

Buy Links

Book cover: The Meyersons of Meryton by Mira Ines Trupp
The Meyersons of Meryton is available to buy now, in paperback or kindle. It's also part of kindle unlimited. You can buy it here - Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Add to Goodreads shelf.

Giveaway Time

Mirta is very kindly offering an ebook giveaway of The Meyersons of Meryton, open internationally. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Monday 24 June. Please ensure that you leave your name too. If you have trouble commenting, drop me an email and I will add the comment for you. My contact details can be found on the contact me page.

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23 comments:

  1. Loved the excerpt and the history lesson! Thank you for a chance to win a copy of the book.

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  2. I'm so pleased you stopped by. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  3. My PC has the flu. The words are all over the place. Apology in advance.
    /////////
    Reading all but one of your books, this excerpt is perfect for those who have not read this one yet.
    I do not often read this particular genre and certainly was not disappointed.
    Your writing style takes the reader back into the moment.
    Similar to being hypnotized, which as I understand, is hard to accomplish.
    Your bio said you speak at different events.
    In particular, I saw you that you will speak at philanthropic events.
    That's very cool and could shake up the norm a little.
    Is this different from speaking at book clubs?
    Would you need six months to a year for advanced notice?
    Thank you for your time.
    Best, A

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    1. Hello! I must use a quintessential Yiddish word to describe my emotion at reading your post. To be exact: I'm 'kvelling'! It's not every day one reads that one's work is transporting and hypnotizing. Thank you!

      I have been honored to speak for a variety of organizations such as sisterhood (synagogue) meetings, genealogical societies, and book clubs. When it doesn't require time away from work, I don't need that much advanced notice. This year, however, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime when an important Jewish organization—here in the United States—invited me to speak at a function held in my native country of Argentina. Needless to say, this project took careful long-term planning ...and most of that time was spent getting over the shock of being invited! One of my books was presented and discussed at a Meet-and-Greet held in a famous Buenos Aires cafe. This was indeed "different" from my prior presentations because, we didn't merely discuss my book; we discussed the fascinating history of Jewish immigration to Argentina.

      Be it across continents or around the corner, I am always humbled and delighted when invited to speak— and when I can combine my two passions of Judaism and historical fiction— more the better! Thanks again for your support!

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    2. Thanks so much for commenting, A!

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  4. Super interesting premise. Will add it to my list.

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    1. Hi Megan, I hope you enjoy the book when you read it.

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  5. Hello Megan. I'm thrilled you find the premise interesting! Thank you for your time and consideration. Best wishes in the giveaway (and I hope you enjoy the read!)

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  6. Don't include me in the giveaway as I already have the book. I was fortunate enough to get to beta read this and was so impressed that I bought my own copy. I was amazed at how this concept was seamlessly woven into the fabric of Austen's P&P. I intend to read it again so I can review it. Blessings, Mirta and I wish you all success in this venture and any others you choose.

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    1. Dear J. thank you for your kind and generous support. I look forward to your review of the book. Best regards!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by to comment, Jeanne!

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  7. I did read and review this book. It was a unique variation among the hundreds I have read. Good luck with your writing and thank you for all the information. It was a 5 star read for me.

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    1. Thank you Sheila. Your comments are valued and much appreciated!

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    2. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the book, Sheila, and that it's won such high praise from you!

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  8. Lovely to see Mirta and her latest P&P variation today. Delightful excerpt and fun to learn more about Mirta and Jewish heritage. I look forward to reading this one.

    Please don't enter me, Ceri. I've got it already. :)

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Sophia, thanks for commenting.

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  9. Sophia Rose, thank you for commenting. I appreciate your interest and support. Best wishes and happy reading!

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  10. What a fascinating sounding variation this is! I'm somewhat familiar with Jewish traditions and customs, as I've twice worked in places with large Jewish communities. Indeed, one of my employes was of that faith. It'll be interesting to see how it all melds with Jane Austen's original story. Thanks for sharing the excerpt and the giveaway, Mirta.

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    1. Employes should be "employers"!

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    2. I hope when I read it I learn something, Anji, as I'm very ignorant on the Jewish traditions.

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  11. I hope you enjoy the story Anji. Please stay in touch!

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  12. Winners have been posted here: http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot.com/2019/06/winners-of-meyersons-of-meryton-by.html

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