Monday, 20 July 2020

Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book cover: Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber
I am happy to be welcoming Jayne Bamber back to Babblings of a Bookworm with her new book, Madness in Meryton. This book has a Groundhog Day theme, with one day repeating. I love this idea, as an author can have such fun with it and go to lengths that wouldn’t be allowable due to the lack of consequences! Jayne’s also offering an ebook giveaway. Let’s look at the blurb and then I will hand over to Jayne for an excerpt.

Book Description

Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, and two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their quarrelsome younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and their tedious cousin, Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.

That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for the officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham reveals to Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.

The next day, the same thing happens again.

And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in a effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.

As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….

Elizabeth Bennet must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.

Excerpt from Madness in Meryton, introduced by Jayne Bamber

Hello, readers! It’s a treat to be back at Babblings of a Bookworm to share another excerpt from my upcoming release, Madness in Meryton. This is my sixth Austenesque novel, and is a mischievous twist on the Groundhog Day trope.

 

The day being relived takes us through Elizabeth’s meeting with Mr. Wickham in Meryton, and his accusations about Mr. Darcy that evening, but as the day continues repeating, it begins to vary widely and with shocking results. Elizabeth struggles to discover what is happening to her and why, but Colonel Fitzwilliam’s arrival in Meryton confirms to her that Mr. Wickham is a piece to the puzzle of her predicament….

 

***

 

Book cover: Madness in Meryton by Jayne BamberElizabeth was still embarrassed to find herself in a room full of people who believed her to be engaged to Mr. Darcy, and she hung back as he and Miss Bingley tried to coax Mr. Bingley and Miss Darcy into taking their leave. Colonel Fitzwilliam was giving Elizabeth a great many furtive glances, and asked Mr. Bennet if they might play chess together - the two withdrew to the corner, and Miss Bingley seemed particularly delighted to leave him behind as the others prepared to depart.

When Mrs. Bennet urged her two eldest daughters to walk their guests out, Elizabeth took Mr. Darcy’s arm, and they hung back from the others. 

“Elizabeth….”

“Sir?”

“I hope we shall be friends today.”

“And I hope you shall recollect your promise to me - that we shall make a unified effort to fix what is amiss.”

“I have tried,” he said with some frustration. “I will try again tomorrow - for your sister and my friend. I will endeavor to avoid that which is so distasteful to you.”

“Distasteful!” Elizabeth laughed bitterly. “It is a disappointment that your efforts have been in vain today - and that is all your own doing. But I really think that Mr. Wickham has some role yet to play,” she hissed. She looked up, and gestured at the front gate to Longbourn; Lydia and Kitty were returning from the market, with several officers in tow. “Here he comes now.”

Mr. Darcy made no reply, for his sister had let out a whimper of panic and latched onto him, her face paralyzed with fear. “Into the carriage, Georgiana - now.” He did not look back at Elizabeth as he entered the carriage behind her, and she watched the equipage take off down the lane with a sense of dread.

***

Elizabeth and Wickham
Elizabeth was introduced to Mr. Wickham as the future Mrs. Darcy, and his interest was captured at once. Looking entirely discomposed, he tarried as Kitty and Lydia led the other officers into the house, and when they were alone Mr. Wickham grew more serious than she had ever seen him. “Miss Elizabeth, I wonder if we might take a turn in the garden together. There is a matter of great import I would discuss with you.”

The colonel had warned her before that Mr. Wickham was dangerous - but knowing that her new co-conspirator was just within the house put Elizabeth more at ease. Concealing her revulsion, she nodded her agreement, but tucked her hands behind her back when he offered her his arm. 

If he perceived her apprehension, he did not acknowledge it. “I understand you are to be congratulated- Mr. Darcy is a fine match indeed.”

Elizabeth had no wish to delay the inevitable. “Are you much acquainted with him?”

Mr. Wickham smiled wistfully. “I have been connected to his family all my life.”

She nodded, thinking carefully. She had already feigned a greater dismay than she felt at her engagement to Mr. Darcy; she would try a new approach, in the hope of gleaning some information to tell Colonel Fitzwilliam. “How fortunate for you,” she said.

“It was, in happier times. Forgive me, Miss Elizabeth - I believe I must be perfectly candid with you, as you are soon to join the family.”

She smiled wryly at him. “Of course - I should appreciate your honesty.”

He nodded and mimicked her posture, his hands tucked behind his back as they strolled through the garden, near the house. “I suspect you observed what just transpired, as your new relations were making their departure.”

“I did,” Elizabeth said carefully. She waited for his reply with great curiosity, for he had often spoken unkindly of Miss Darcy in the past. Though Elizabeth had not much time to become acquainted with the girl, her impression of Miss Darcy was favorable, even protective, after witnessing her reaction to Mr. Wickham. 

“I am sure you must be perplexed; I own myself to feel much the same,” Mr. Wickham said at last. There was something very grave about him; either he was an excellent performer, or almost sincere. “I thank you for hearing me - I was too shaken by the unexpected sight of her and her brother to be in company.”

Elizabeth considered what she knew of the man - he seemed always to flee after any confrontation with Mr. Darcy or the colonel. But Miss Darcy was just a girl - how could she have unsettled him?

Mr. Wickham continued to gaze earnestly at Elizabeth. “I hope I might confide in you, as you are to be her sister. You may have heard of our connection?”

“A little, yes.”

“I can very well guess,” he sighed. “I last saw the Darcys this summer, just after the death of my - of the woman who raised me. I sought some comfort from friends who had been like family to me in my youth. My efforts were repulsed in such terms as to leave me feeling myself to be the injured party. In short, I had always thought myself very ill-used by Georgiana, whom I held in my arms as a baby. She is dear to me, and our last parting wounded me, but until just a few minutes ago it had never occurred to me that she might be so dismayed. I would have been less surprised to see anger in her eyes - but the fear and sadness was another dagger in my heart.”

Elizabeth studied Mr. Wickham in silence for a moment; he did not seem to expect an immediate reply. He appeared lost in his own private reverie, and Elizabeth was filled with doubt. “What happened?”

He shook his head. “If she has not told you, I would not presume. Georgiana….” Mr. Wickham sighed. “She was very dear to me, as a girl. I do not like to think I might have pained her - I could sooner forgive her the trouble she has caused me.”

Elizabeth could not help it, she was wild to discover the truth. “Sir, might I ask why you are telling me this?”

“I have never seen Darcy look at a woman but to find fault. If you have secured his good opinion, which is so rarely bestowed, you might speak to him - or better still, to Georgiana.”

“On your behalf?”

“I only want to talk to her,” Mr. Wickham said sadly. “Things were said - I only wish to know why. The history between my family and theirs is complicated, but I do not wish to be their enemy.”

Elizabeth found this hard to believe, after the insinuations he had previously made. “I cannot promise to intercede on your behalf, without knowing any of the particulars,” she said. If he did not give her some useful information, she would do better to end their strange conversation before her mind grew any more unsettled.

“All will be known in time, but until then, I only wish to speak to my - to my old friend. I suspect I may owe her some apology - there is much I wish to tell her.”

This, Elizabeth knew, may prove useful. “I could arrange a meeting, perhaps. Miss Darcy does not mean to stay long in the area - tonight would be best. I assume my sisters have invited you to our aunt’s card party this evening?”

“They have.” Mr. Wickham looked away. “Thank you, Miss Elizabeth - truly. I am grateful you should even consider it. A few minutes is all I ask.”

“I believe it would be best if I conceal this from Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth said carefully. “But I must warn you, it will go badly for you, if you give me any cause to regret it.”

* * *

Author Jayne Bamber
Author Bio

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.

Buy Links

Madness in Meryton is due out on 24 July but you can pre-order it now. It is available for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  

 Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf


Giveaway Time!


Jayne Bamber is offering an ebook giveaway of Madness in Meryton. To enter, please use the rafflecopter.


Note Regarding Comments: I love to read your comments, but a few blog visitors have reported difficulties in posting comments. If you can’t add your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

Blog Tour Schedule

You can catch Jayne's other blog stops with Madness in Meryton, details below! 

Blog Tour: Madness in Meryton by Jayne Bamber

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13 comments:

  1. Elizabeth shows a lack of discernment in believing any thing that Wickham says

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    1. I think it's understandable in the original because she's feeling piqued and ready to believe the worst of Mr Darcy, but if she has multiple chances to live this day and multiple chances to see more of both Wickham and Mr Darcy you would hope she would learn from it.

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  2. Does she mean it that she'll arrange a meeting? Bad move

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    1. I thought the same when I read this excerpt!

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  3. I am looking forward to reading this story. I have read other books by this author and enjoyed them. I have also read other variations of "Groundhog Day" in JAFF and enjoyed those. So we'll see how this compares. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win.

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    1. I like a Groundhog Day variation too, Sheila. Hope you enjoy this when you read it.

      Sorry you couldn't enter the competition :(

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  4. Unfortunately for me I am not on FB so miss out on that.

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  5. Oh-My-Goodness!! I want to scream at my reader, "Don't listen to him Lizzy!! He's a lying, scum-bag-rat-bastard, and wants you to set up a assignation with Georgiana for him!! For nefarious reasons, I'm sure. OMG! What will Darcy say when he learns of this ruse? I can't wait to read this. I have this on my wish-list. Blessings on its success. Thanks to Ceri for hosting, and thanks to Jayne and her publisher for the generous giveaway. Good luck to all in the drawing. Stay safe everyone, and exercise all precautions to remain healthy.

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  6. It looks like Elizabeth is a sort of agent for the colonel, I hope her agreement to go along with Wickham’s scheme will be included in Colonel’s plans.
    Looking forward to reading it it. Congratulations.

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  7. I hope she will as cunning as Mr Wickham. I hope she means to tell FD about the meeting

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    1. Yes, hopefully she knows she can trust him.

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