Friday, 8 July 2022

Colonel Brandon in His Own Words by Shannon Winslow - Guest Post

Well hello to you my dears and happy Friday! I have something nice for you today. Shannon Winslow has brought out a new book, which is exciting, BUT it’s also a Sense & Sensibility book, which is double exciting. Colonel Brandon, in His Own Words is a book looking at Austen’s Sense & Sensibility from the perspective of its most honourable hero. Shannon has also written a similar book looking at Pride & Prejudice from the perspective of Mr Darcy.

Now I am not one for covers but oh my goodness, the cover of this book is something else. Isn’t it wonderful?! And it’s a beautiful companion to the cover for the Mr Darcy story.

Now, let’s look at the blurb, and then I will pass you over to Shannon Winslow for a guest post, which I am sure you will enjoy.

Book Cover: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words by Shannon Winslow - picture is a colour drawing of a man in period dress looking downwards. Bears a striking resemblence to Alan Rickman
Book Description

Colonel Brandon is the consummate gentleman: honorable, kind almost to a fault, ever loyal and chivalrous. He’s also silent and grave, though. So, what events in his troubled past left him downcast, and how does he finally find the path to a brighter future? In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen gives us glimpses, but not the complete picture. 

Now Colonel Brandon tells us his full story in His Own Words. He relates the truth about his early family life and his dear Eliza – his devotion to her and the devastating way she was lost to him forever. He shares with us a poignant tale from his military days in India – about a woman named Rashmi and how she likewise left a permanent mark on his soul. And of course Marianne. What did Brandon think and feel when he first saw her? How did his hopes for her subsequently rise, plummet, and then eventually climb upwards again. After Willoughby’s desertion, what finally caused Marianne to see Colonel Brandon in a different light?

This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Brandon’s point of view. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us about a true hero – the very best of men.

Guest Post from Shannon Winslow

When I was studying Sense and Sensibility in preparation for writing this book, I couldn’t help noticing certain repeated refrains or themes showing up. The most obvious one is given right in the title of the book: the tension between sense and sensibility, primarily exhibited by the sisters Elinor and Marianne. Then there’s a standard Jane Austen conflict – the competing pulls of love and money – which shows up in S&S too. The Dashwood girls are left without fortunes, which limits their chances of making good matches. And Willoughby ultimately deserts Marianne for Miss Gray, when he can no longer afford to marry for love alone.

More unique to Sense and Sensibility – and to Colonel Brandon in particular – is the strong impression of history repeating itself. When he meets Marianne, Brandon is forcibly struck by her resemblance to his first love Eliza. He also expects to have to stand by – again – and see the woman he loves married to another man. Then there’s the business with Eliza herself. She and her daughter, who even has the same name, meet with the same unhappy fate – mistreated by men and bearing children out of wedlock.

In both these cases (and with Marianne as well, to a lesser degree), Brandon must have believed he’d failed in his perceived duty. He failed to protect women he felt responsible for. That idea comes through even stronger in Colonel Brandon in His Own Words, since I reveal one additional case – a woman named Rashmi, whom Brandon meets in India and feels he failed. No wonder he is silent and grave by age 35!

Colonel Brandon strikes me as a thoughtful, introspective kind of guy. He’s aware of these repeating elements in his own life and suffers over them, as he tells us in his own words. Here’s a snippet where he describes his devastation at finding Eliza in a poor house, near death, when he returned from India:

Book Cover: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words by Shannon Winslow - picture is a colour drawing of a man in period dress looking downwards. Bears a striking resemblence to Alan Rickman

Another drowning wave of guilt washed over me that day.


My motives had been right and honorable when I withdrew from Delaford in order that Eliza and Max could build their marriage without distraction. And as young as I was, I believe I could have recovered and reconciled myself to my loss, if their union had been a happy one. Or at the very least, I should not now have lamented it for her sake.

 

But what did any of that matter now? What mattered were results, not motives, for the sum total of all my good intentions had not saved Eliza from disaster. All I had succeeded in accomplishing by my five-year military absence was to ensure that poor Eliza had no one to turn to in her hour of need. Wretched, wretched mistake! – one that I would never cease to regret.

 

It was one failure after another where Eliza was concerned. First I had failed with my plan to spirit her away from the danger at Delaford when I had the chance. I failed to protect her from my father’s machinations and then my brother’s calloused treatment. Then, to compound my sins, I had all but deserted her, failing to be there to rescue her when she needed me most.

 

Now at last, I would take my place at Eliza’s side, and no one would prevent me. For whatever time remained to her, I would stay to ensure she received every possible comfort and attention. It was an act of love, certainly – love for the girl of the past and what we had once meant to each other. It was also an act of penance, for my conscience told me I had much for which to atone.

Poor Colonel Brandon! I found myself repeating that refrain quite often as his story took shape. His true and noble heart has been broken twice. His keen conscience and overdeveloped sense of responsibility cause him to take on guilt that doesn’t belong to him. And this pattern seems to repeat itself again and again. This might be the most angsty book I’ve ever written, and yet the most hopeful!

So, what do you think? Will Brandon ever overcome his tragic history to find happiness in the end? Fortunately, since this book doesn’t tamper with the essential facts of the original, we know the answer is yes! Brandon will not only find happiness with Marianne; she will help him heal from every wound of the past.

Colonel Brandon was now as happy as all those who best loved him believed he deserved to be. In Marianne he was consoled for every past affliction. Her regard and her society restored his mind to animation, and his spirits to cheerfulness; and that Marianne found her own happiness in forming his was equally the persuasion and delight of each observing friend. (Sense and Sensibility, chapter 50)

I hope you agree with me that Colonel Brandon is a very worthy hero, and it’s about time he had his day in the sun! If you’re not already a fan, I trust you will be after reading Colonel Brandon in His Own Words, available now in paperback and Kindle (audio coming soon).

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My thanks go to Shannon for popping by to tell us more about this book! As she has said it’s available to buy now. You can learn more about Shannon and her other works at her website, shannonwinslow.com.

Book Cover: Colonel Brandon in His Own Words by Shannon Winslow - picture is a colour drawing of a man in period dress looking downwards. Bears a striking resemblance to Alan Rickman
Buy Links 

Colonel Brandon in His Own Words is available to buy now in Paperback and kindle. As you can see from Shannon's post the audio version will be available soon.

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Note about comments:  If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

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6 comments:

  1. Always liked Colonel Brandon

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  2. I love that Shannon wrote Col B's story. He was always a fav hero of mine b/c he is quiet and has that tender need to save and protect.

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    1. Well expressed, Sophia! Yes, he's my kind of hero too. I hope you enjoy reading his story! :)

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  3. I read and enjoyed this story from Shannon. I highly recommend it.

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    1. Thank so much, Sheila! So glad you enjoyed it. :D

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