Friday, 26 June 2020

In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson - Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveway

Blog tour: In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson
Today the blog tour for Don Jacobson’s new book, In Plain Sight stops here for the last stop of the tour. Let’s take a look at the blurb and then I’ll hand over to Don for an excerpt. There’s also a chance to win a copy of the book. Please read on for details!

Book Description

At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding.

Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and break through their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

Book cover: In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson
Excerpt from In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson

From Chapter 30
At the Netherfield Ball (Edited for length)

The bleakness bearing down on her was emphasized by the library’s empty shelves that vanished into the shadows. Thoughts swirled in disarray in the floodtide of her emotions. These motes only became clearer as one or another rose to the surface, their hollow eyes and gaping mouths screaming her dishonor. Then they were dragged back into the turbulence by even grimmer considerations.
She was ruined!
Her family was destroyed!
Jane, Kitty, and Lydia were condemned to be spinsters!
By lies!
Elizabeth could not stop crying. The shock of hearing her name mentioned in ballroom whispers passed along by women she had known her entire life had shattered her spirit. What hurt most was that these ladies instantly believed that she, Elizabeth Rose Bennet, was not involved in a compromise, which could involve some measure of impropriety, but rather outright congress in the most Biblical of senses!
They have tossed aside nearly twenty years of acquaintance to brand me as low as a taproom doxy!
Mary always waved Fordyce at us, preaching about the fragility of a woman’s virtue and reputation. How right she was! Except that the good Reverend should have added that even the most upright of women could be ruined by vicious gossip.
And I wonder what that fusty old man would have thought of the ease with which people believe the worst in others.
At some point in her darkness and despair, a breeze swept through the room as a door opened and then closed. She felt Mary rise from her left side. Jane remained on the sofa, her thigh pressed against Lizzy’s right, a protective arm wrapped around the sister’s pitching shoulders. With her hands pressed into her eyes, Elizabeth could not see who had joined this funereal gathering.
Despite her self-imposed blindness, Elizabeth could sense a presence moving across the room.
A weight settled upon the divan, filling the void left by Mary’s departure. The richness of cigar smoke leavened by the scent of tooled leather and old paper immediately conferred identity.
A small child’s instinct took over, and Elizabeth turned her face into the broad expanse of her father’s chest. His arms, muscular against her slight frame, wrapped her in a protective embrace. He murmured those disconnected, nonsensical syllables that humans first heard muffled by the womb’s walls, but noises that always brought comfort. Mama, brokenhearted by her daughter’s grief, closed on the pair to gently stroke the rich brown curls now escaped from their pins.
Seconds extended to minutes, and still not a word was spoken. The waves of her family’s love eventually poured the balm of Gilead upon Lizzy’s injuries and brought respite, if not peace, to her gulping anguish.
She felt a handkerchief being pressed between her clenched fingers. Pulling back from her father’s waistcoat, she brought the cloth to her face to wipe away the remaining dampness.
A fresh paroxysm threatened to overwhelm her, but she tamped it down before it could begin.
“Oh, Papa,” she choked. “You know why we are here. How can you abide to be in the same room with me, your most foolish offspring? I have ruined us all. Wretched, wretched mistake! You warned me about the dangers…”
Mr. Bennet gently pushed back. “Dear child, I asked that you curtail your visits to the Dower House only after Collins came upon you in the back garden. And you did stay away. You did nothing amiss other than to be seen by a fool who could not separate the truth of his eyes from the lies of his prejudice.”
Lizzy shook her head. “What wounds me is that all of my friends—or those I had counted to be amongst that congregation—and Mama’s, too, spread those rumors. Even Lady Lucas turned on me.”
“And, Charlotte?” her father asked.
She snorted bitterly. “Oh, Charlotte…she was far too involved with trying to impress Mr. Collins. I do not believe she is aware that the object of her affections is responsible for her best friend’s social destruction.”
“I shall speak with her father. He will counsel her to think long and hard before accepting an offer from that contemptible worm. Miss Lucas is far too sensible a woman to align herself with a man so narrow-minded.”
Mr. Bennet cleared his throat. “Mr. Bingley, would you be so kind as to escort Mrs. Bennet and Misses Bennet, Kitty, and Lydia to the vestibule to retrieve their outer garments? I shall also presume upon your good nature to play the role of an outrider and accompany them home to Longbourn. I am aware that you have a vested interest. Do you possess a pistol?”
At the mention of a firearm, four youthful faces, illuminated by the red-orange glow of the snapping coal fire, snapped to attention and focused on the master of Longbourn.
Bennet speared his eldest with a gaze that told Jane:
I am certain that Lizzy has confided in you. I am depending upon your unqualified support for what I now ask. You know the words that I cannot speak. Heed them and protect your mama and sisters with your broad wings. I cannot help others if I must divide my attention.
Jane’s subtle nod, made as she smoothed her gown and rose from her seat next to Elizabeth, offered him solace.
Mr. Bennet said aloud, “Please rest easy. I was only asking whether Mr. Bingley had a weapon given that there is still an escaped convict on the loose.
“Lest you wonder why I am not sending our entire company on its way, my dears, reflect upon the general outlines of what has been said about Lizzy. This topic will age well. Rather than wait for four miles of good road to marinade our tempers, I shall discuss it now with Elizabeth. I require Mary and Mr. Benton to offer spiritual support.
“I fear that this conversation may occupy more time than I had previously imagined. Rather than be burdened with a recitation of uncomfortable details, you should return home.
“If you are unable to sleep, perhaps you could begin preparations to travel to town for a visit to Gracechurch Street. My correspondence is woefully disorganized. I forgot to mention that I recently received a note from my brother Gardiner requesting my presence on a matter of Canal Company business. I must join him tomorrow midday, so I shall be on my way before dawn. While he was not explicit, I do believe he would enjoy seeing all of you…and I imagine that Mrs. Gardiner would endorse it too.
“Perhaps you might visit the warehouses and find material to be fitted out for new gowns suitable for the festive season. Oh, and the other fripperies you require, of course. You could follow along once day breaks and Tom Coachman has made certain that the carriage is safe for travel.”
His declaration caught Mrs. Bennet by surprise. “Gracechurch Street? Gowns? Dressmakers? Milliners? I had no idea that we were planning a journey like that! How you vex me!”
Her further exclamations were muffled as Bingley led the four ladies from the bookroom and closed the door behind them.
“Fitzwilliam”—Bennet glanced up before continuing—“for appearance’s sake, might you stand post outside the library until your friend and my family depart? My wife is not necessarily a candidate for the Royal Academy, but even she would wonder why I would include a stranger in our family councils. Once the coach is on its way, please rejoin us.”
Thomas now turned to his daughter to deliver a message that could never be well received. He took her hands in his, gently massaging their backs with his thumbs.
“You realize, my child, that you cannot stay in Meryton, not after all that has happened—”
Lizzy pulled back, outrage reshaping her features. “Are you sending me away? Am I such a soiled dove that even a father’s love cannot overcome the tarradiddle that says your daughter is a fallen woman?
“How can you possibly care what they say? You know the truth!”
Bennet shook his head. “I do know the truth, as do you. You are blameless, my child, but the world cares not for that. And if you pause for a moment to consider our concerns in a dispassionate light, you will understand why I specifically divided our family, something that grieves me greatly.”
Book cover - full wrap: In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson
At this stage of her anger, Elizabeth only saw the nail sticking up. She pounded at it again. “You have never cared for what our neighbors say. On the contrary, you have mocked them and taken prodigious delight in observing their follies.
“Now, you suddenly show concern about what they are saying? I cannot believe it!”
Bennet sadly shook his head. “No, Lizzy, it is not what our fellows are saying, but rather the fact that they utter it at all.
“The story of you and Smith being seen together puts you squarely in the gun sights of Soames and his liegeman.
“Soames already knows that you were seen in the company of an injured man at the Dower House. How long before your excuse that he was a footman who had been kicked by a horse cannot withstand scrutiny? Even if we can get Smith out of Meryton, you would be in unbelievable jeopardy.
“While I doubt that Sir Thaddeus is a man bent on murder, I think all of us have witnessed the homicidal streak in Wadkins.”
Fitzwilliam had slipped back into the room. “And he does not operate on the same morality as polite society. He would have no compunction with throttling a young lady who could have him sent to the gallows or transported to Botany Bay.”
Lizzy calmed at the brutal simplicity of the two men’s assertions.
“Then what are we to do?” Elizabeth knew the answer without hearing it.
Mr. Bennet slowly replied, looking up at the three observers. “As I said before, we shall need to remove you from Meryton for your protection. How long you will have to be gone, I do not know. Distance and a lack of communication will be our friends until the threat is gone. I shall explain to your mother that we decided it would be best to have you leave town until the scandal subsides. Something about sending you off to one of your aunt’s cousins near Glasgow. I regret that the damage to your reputation may be beyond repair.
“Yet, I see the way Mr. Bingley looks at Jane. Her future shortly will be secured and, through that, the posterity of your mother and unmarried sisters. Kitty and Lydia are full young yet. I wager that they will discover a young man with scarlet across his shoulders who is willing to overlook any ancient stain.
“However, whether that injury is forgotten or remembered, our reputation, even the disgrace of my daughters, is not worth your”—he then looked at Mary and Edward standing behind Lizzy—“any of my children’s lives.”
As her father subsided into his reverie, Lizzy pondered her dispatch from town and the reasons behind it before speaking up with a delicate shrug of one shoulder. “I had hoped otherwise, but try as I might, I cannot see a way through this thicket. There is nothing for it.
“I must leave…but how to do it…and where to go?”

Author Don Jacobson
Author Bio

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television, and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series
The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)
Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)
The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)
Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)
The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)
The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)
Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.
Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.
 Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization, and Research Writing. He is a member of the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

Connect with Don


Book cover: In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson
Buy Links

In Plain Sight is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. 

Amazon USAmazon UKAmazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time

Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebooks of In Plain Sight. To enter, please use the rafflecopter, but make haste! There isn’t much time left.

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Blog Tour: In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson
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  1. Considering how much Mrs Bennet gossips, no one should be surprised that their neighbours take delight in spreading gossip about the Bennets

    1. That's definitely true, Vesper, a gossip can't expect their secrets to be respected.

    2. Yet, the gossip was about Elizabeth...and that made it so much more hurtful.

  2. Hey there...yes, perhaps...but it is the general sport of the matrons in a small country town, no? Mrs. Bennet does flutter about, of that there is no doubt, yet she does shows her maternal colors.

  3. Thank you for hosting, Ceri. Don has had enjoyable posts and excerpts, and this excerpt is a good way to end the tour. Thanks to both of you. Best wishes, with your release, Don.

    1. I echo your sentiments! This is a great stop!

    2. I was really happy to share this excerpt, Janet, such a dramatic point!

  4. I love that this is such a different Darcy than I'm used to reading. Congrats on the release!

    1. Thank you so much. The inverted character does reveal new dimensions in the man we have known for so many years.

    2. Thanks for commenting, Darcybennett

  5. I do love this Mr Bennet! Also I know they kept the truth from Mrs Bennet but it’s still obvious that she loves Elizabeth!
    Mr Collins is a totally despicable little man and it’s just unfortunate that he found such a willing ear for his nasty spite! The least said about that person the better!
    Luckily Elizabeth and Smith are so definitely attracted to each other so in actual fact the gossip did them a favour. Also luckily they had an expert tactician in Fitzwilliam, a true friend in this story. Love this!

    1. Collins is a smary creature. I had him wafting through IPS much like an unpleasant odor, eventually dispatched when the plot brings fresh air onto the scene. While Mrs. B is kept in the dark for obvious reasons (as are Lydia and Kitty), she acts with equanimity at the end of the book when she spirits the Countess of Matlock away to an anteroom after asking "And how will we manage this." She knows what must be the adults's tasks.

    2. Thanks so much for commenting, Glynis. I love that you've highlighted Mrs Bennet's affection for her children. I have always felt Mrs Bennet's fondness for her children, even if some of them she found harder to understand and get along with than others.

  6. Thanks Ceri & Don! I echo Glynis's sentiments. With a silly mother, Lizzy dearly needs a father with a good head on his shoulders. A great excerpt, Don!

    1. Yes, Mrs. B. is silly, yet even in it, she has a tenderness that shows how much she loves each of her daughters. To see a more complete picture of how I understand Mrs. Bennet, please see "The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament.

    2. It's nice to see Mr B being a bit more actively involved with his daughters isn't it.

  7. Wow! Elizabeth is ruined and has to go somewhere and Smith is to avoid transportation? This is terrible. Thanks, Don, for an exciting excerpt. Thanks, Ceri, for hosting!

    1. Trying to keep you on your toes! Thanks for following the wagon train!

    2. It's a bit of a pickle isn't it!

  8. This was an amazing scene where Mr. Bennet directs his family. Wow, I loved him right then. Such care... it nearly broke my heart. I am surprised I survived this story. LOL! I wish you all manner of success with this launch.

    1. Throughout this book (and earlier in "The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father's Lament," Mr. Bennnet shakes off the classic indolence and becomes more of the man who could have shaped both Elizabeth and Lizzy Bennet! Thank you for your kind comments throughout the process. I look forward to your reviews.

    2. Thanks so much Jeanne. Good to know this book gave you all the feels <3

  9. My sister and mother in law loved this book, i'm looking forward to reading it! Congratulations on the release.

    1. Ohhhh! I am happy that IPS has become family reading! Look forward to your thoughts. Thank you for joining in.

    2. That's so great to get a personal recommendation! I don't have friends who share my reading tastes but I am lucky to have found people who share my reading :)

  10. I read this book and enjoyed it tremendously. Best of luck with the release.

    1. I appreciate your well-rounded thoughts (published in your review) about IPS. It was an effort to create a different book than what we usually expect.

    2. Glad to hear your endorsement, Sheila :)

  11. Yes, that excerpt just draws one into the heart of things. I can't wait to read this one.

    1. I am looking forward to your reviews. I wanted to cast all of our characters into three-diemnsions. In the "just for you" category...Amanda Berry is in the process of laying down the tracks for the #Audible performance of "In Plain Sight."

    2. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Sophia!

  12. One last time to wish you well on the success of this work. Blessings to you and good luck to all in the drawing.

    1. You have been such a strong voice in guiding me toward a successful conclusion. Remember, you are responsible for Caroline getting her just desserts (or maybe just soup?).

    2. BTW...thank you for the beautiful review on Amazon. Tried to track it down on joy.

    3. Thanks for coming here to give your support Jeanne!

  13. Thamk you for the excerpt. I feel the impending dread they are all facing. I feel theirstrength too. Interesting, ooking forward to Caroline's "just soup"

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Don gave me a fantastic excerpt to share.

  14. Ah...the story entices with beguiling fingers! All will be revealed!

  15. I was getting teary eyed with this exceprt. this is going to go to the top on my tbr pile!

    1. I am pleased that this fraught (you should read what went before) excerpt has whetted you appetite for something rather different. look forward to your thoughts on the book! Check out a few readings I have posted on YouTube at AustenesqueAuthors.

    2. So glad you enjoyed it, Bookluver!


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