Tuesday 28 March 2023

The Sailor’s Rest by Don Jacobson – Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

I’m very pleased to be welcoming Don Jacobson with a guest post and excerpt of his new book, which is released today! The Sailor’s Rest is a book which features characters from both Persuasion as well as Pride & Prejudice. First, I’ll share the blurb with you and then hand over to Don for a guest post and excerpt from The Sailor’s Rest. There’s also an ebook giveaway. Read on for more details.

Book cover: The Sailor's Rest by Don Jacobson. The picture on the book cover is a painting of ships in a dockyard
Book Description

The Sailor’s Rest: The Naval Adventure Jane Austen Could Have Written!

Jane Austen’s greatest lovers come together to be tested in the crucible of war on the Mediterranean’s blue waters and in the smoky confines of a prestigious London gambling den.

The Sailor’s Rest is inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion and is set on the stage of Napoleon’s 100 Days. Discover how the two betrothed couples—Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, along with Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot—find their love tried by separation, battle, and deception.

The novel immerses readers first in a mystery, then a sea chase, and, finally, a satisfying comeuppance. From the tattered rooms of a waterfront inn to three frigates engaged in a deadly game of naval chess, readers will experience the yearning as four hearts come closer to one-another. Before the tale ends, the audience will step into the gilded confines of London’s preeminent card room.

The Sailor’s Rest uses the characters formed by Austen as a starting point in an Austenesque excursion that will leave readers both challenged and richer for the experience.

The Sailor’s Rest is set in the Persuasion timeline of 1815 but leaves in place the age and plot constructs established by Austen in Pride and Prejudice. This is a full-length novel of 115,000 words.

Part mystery, part adventure - and all heart - This has the feel of a Hornblower epic.

Alice McVeigh, author of Susan: A Jane Austen Prequel

Guest Post from Don Jacobson

Simple truth: the Austenesque genre is growing. Most of the expansion comes from the increasing number of authors using digital tools to publish Pride and Prejudice variations. Contemplations on Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma remain thin on the ground.

However, that noted, I have seen a change from four-odd years ago. Then, I would ask fellow authors who had strong publishing histories about writing stories focusing on other characters. I was considering my attraction to supporting cast members—the Bennet sisters, the Bennet parents, Caroline Bingley, and so on. These became the pillars of the Bennet Wardrobe Series.

The answer was uniform: write what you want but realize that the readers only desire Darcy and Elizabeth stories. Many refuse to read any other variations. Those (outside the P&P universe) won't sell well and may get ripped in reviews.

Brave authors, like my writing sprint partner Nicole Clarkston, went ahead anyway. Her Courtship of Edward Gardiner was an eye-opener. I had already begun considering how Austen's supporting cast members would live after the end of Pride and Prejudice with the beginnings of the Bennet Wardrobe. Edward Gardiner scorched across my mindscape, ultimately inspiring me to compose my Austen Authors blog post contemplating a new term for what our authorial school was doing. Nicole's work was not JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction); it was literature created using Austen as a starting point. Her work, and that of others, was Austenesque.

Recently, we have seen a spate of stories that feature characters from the other canonical novels moving into Darcy and Elizabeth's stories. However, in most cases, these persons are supporting cast for action driven by ODC. For instance, Emma shows up and plays matchmaker in Meryton with predictable results and, in the process, complicates the Darcy and Elizabeth relationship.

After the final Bennet Wardrobe book, The Grail, was published in February 2022, I was casting around for a new story. I cannot say why I decided to compose a Persuasion variation. Perhaps I was worn out by the Bennets after an eight-book series. However, the book was destined to combine the two great novels from the beginning. An early version of the opening paragraph appeared in a "First Words" file dated April 18, 2022. A tentative book title in that document was The Sails of Despair or The Sailor's Rest: A Pride and Prejudice Variation. I was already considering the process of melding the two books.

Being the experimenter I am, I became curious about what revelations I would uncover if I added characters and elements from Pride and Prejudice. On May 2, 2022—two weeks after the first words—I sent an IM to Kelly Miller. Her brave Persuasion variation Captive Hearts inspired me. I asked timeline questions. Upon reflection, I anticipated moving Darcy and Elizabeth forward to 1814-15 as it would be challenging to push Wentworth and Anne backward to P&P's commonly used timeline of 1810-11.

That would have been unimportant if I was to add (like pouring cream into coffee) one set of characters into the other. That would have been a mashup, and the anachronism would not have mattered. I would have depended upon reader-understood images of Austen's people as she established them in their books: Elizabeth's impertinence, Darcy's rigidity, Anne's rising self-awareness, and Wentworth's noble pain.

Instead of taking that path, I decided to work to treat each of the four main characters equally. They would interact, although the nature of the plotline that began forming also required me to treat them separately and then bring them together for resolution before moving to the end of the book and the HEN (Happily Ever Now). This insisted that I give equal weight to Anne, Elizabeth, Wentworth, and Darcy. After all, they had been worthy enough to support their own magisterial novels: why not The Sailor's Rest as well?

My writing, perforce, considered the evolution of the primary actors. To accomplish this, the plot needed to test them. In pursuit of that, the supporting cast members came into play. I will freely admit I had a great deal of fun with Admiral and Mrs. Croft as well as Sir Walter. However, Brigadier Fitzwilliam had his innings, too.

Thus, I insist that Sailor's Rest is a crossover event, not a mashup. Full Stop.

While the original tetrarchy still shines through, the individuals and couples are, I believe, deeper and more burnished through shared and separate experiences lived over five months in 1815. I am satisfied that The Sailor's Rest will bring readers to a deeper understanding of the four characters as they stand alone and the community they form through friendship and love.


Please enjoy this excerpt where Wentworth and Darcy first meet in "The Sailor's Rest." ©2023 by Donald P. Jacobson. Reproduction prohibited. Published in the United States of America.

Book cover: The Sailor's Rest by Don Jacobson. The picture on the book cover is a painting of ships in a dockyard
From Chapter Two

Wentworth followed the innkeeper into the private dining room. Although used to being his own master, the captain had never been so full of himself to believe that it was his prerogative to evict the current occupant. That person stood in stocking feet and shirtsleeves, looking somewhat uncomfortable to be so informally clad.

Always one to quickly grasp the situation, Wentworth read the man and tried to ease his discomfort. "Before we do the pretty which all Englishmen seem to be so fond of, allow me to thank you for your gentlemanly behavior in allowing me to share this room with you."

Before Darcy could reply, Wentworth continued, "You, sir, seem a most sensible gentleman. On the other hand, I have tried to stand upon false dignity and, in the process, risk catching a chill. I have seen far too many strong men laid low by what they call a 'trifling cold.' Allow me to follow your example and divest myself of what our most excellent host assures me can dry before the kitchen fire. Then we can be made known to one another on equal footing if you will forgive my lamentable wordplay."

Forestalling Darcy again, the captain made a show of undoing the frogs of his cloak and shrugging out of it. This he draped over an empty chair. His topcoat quickly followed. Finally, he dropped into the seat and accepted the innkeeper's assistance to pull off his footwear. The man gathered Wentworth's outwear and departed, promising to send a servant with dinner and drink. Rolling his shoulders to relieve the accumulated tension, Wentworth turned to Darcy. "Again, sir, thank you for inviting me to join you. If I may introduce myself? I am Frederick Wentworth, post captain, lately of His Majesty's frigate Laconia. I am ordered to attend my masters at the Admiralty but found myself caught in this filthy weather. Thus, sir, your hospitality is most appreciated."

Darcy gave a half bow. "It seems, sir, that you have more right to be here than I since you are a nautical man seeking sanctuary at an auspiciously named Sailor's Rest. I am Darcy, Fitzwilliam Darcy, of Pemberley in Derbyshire. I find myself heading in the opposite direction as you and, if you will allow a bit of seaborne imagery, am but a lonely ship having dropped anchor for the night. I find myself here in Barton on my way to Scarborough."

Darcy motioned to Wentworth. "Take a pew, captain. I assure you your company is appreciated. I spent far too much time today alone with my thoughts—damp as they were—staring at my stallion's ears. As stout as Praetor may be, he is a taciturn fellow."

"Landsman you may be rated, Mr. Darcy, but I scan that you are no lubber. I imagine you could more'n fight your weight if'n you were on one of Laconia's eighteen-pounders. That said, and I do not doubt that the gunner would be sad to lose your broad shoulders, I could also see you on the windward side of any quarterdeck in the fleet driving your ship across the stern of a frog frigate!

"You never considered a naval career; I take it."

"My family has no salt in its blood," Darcy snorted. "Mud courses through my cousin Richard's veins. He is now a brigadier attached to Wellington in Vienna, although I have gotten the sense that he recently has become involved in some of the Government's more irregular activities. The last I heard, Fitzwilliam had returned to Horse Guards for a conference.

"My estate has been rare busy growing grain and wool since the Tyrant took it into his head to try to conquer the world. As the eldest—and only—son, my responsibilities became manifold when my father left this world in the year Six."

Wentworth sobered. "Please forgive my speculations, Mr. Darcy. I had no intention of churning up difficult memories."

Darcy waved a quelling hand. "Please, sir, do not trouble yourself. While my father's passing was an unhappy time, it has been nearly nine years. I do miss him. There are still moments when I feel his steadying hand on my shoulder, especially when wrestling with a challenging problem."

Darcy filled his glass anew and poured Wentworth his first draught. Then, as the fire spat and sizzled in the grate, both men lapsed into a companionable silence, each wrapped in his own contemplations.

 * * *

Thank you for your thoughtful post, Don! Although Pride & Prejudice is my favourite of Austen's books, Persuasion is a close second, and I love her other books too. I am always pleased to see authors writing books which are based on Austen's other novels although I have been told the same thing that Don relates here, that if it's not based on P&P they don't sell as well. So it's always a particular happiness to share news of something that's not entirely P&P

I also like the term of crossover to reflect the type of book this is. Mash-up seems to imply that it's a crude combination of stories, when I am sure that this is something much more elegantly joined! I wish Don much success with this book.

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Author Bio 

Author Don Jacobson
Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years, 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 nonfiction. In 2016, he published the first volume of The Bennet Wardrobe Series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. Since then, Meryton Press re-edited and republished Keeper and the subsequent six volumes in the series. In 2022, Meryton Press published the eighth and final book in the series—The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy. Other Meryton Press books by Jacobson include Lessers and Betters, In Plain Sight, and The Longbourn Quarantine. All his works are also available as audiobooks (Audible).

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in history. As a college instructor, he taught United States history, world history, the history of western civilization, and research writing. He is in his third career as an author and is a JASNA and Regency Fiction Writers member. He is also a member of the Always Austen collective.

Besides thoroughly immersing himself in the Austenesque world, Jacobson enjoys cooking, dining out, fine wine, and well-aged scotch whiskey.

His other passion is cycling. He has ridden several “centuries” (hundred-mile days). He is incredibly proud of having completed the AIDS Ride–Midwest (five hundred miles from Minneapolis to Chicago) and the Make-a-Wish Miracle Ride (three hundred miles from Traverse City to Brooklyn, both in Michigan).

When not traveling, Jacobson lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his wife and co-author, Pam—a woman Miss Austen would have been hard-pressed to categorize.

Don Jacobson’s Newsletter Austenesque Thoughts 

Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author (US) page 

Don Jacobson’s BookBub Author Page

Don Jacobson’s Goodreads Page


Mockup of paperback and ebook of The Sailor's Rest by Don Jacobson

Buy Links

The Sailor’s Rest is available to buy now in Paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Universal Amazon Link • Add to Goodreads shelf

Giveaway Time 

Don is giving away 10 ebooks of The Sailor’s Rest. Please comment on this blog post, and then enter via the rafflecopter.

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

Remember, please visit the Rafflecopter to enter.

Blog Tour Schedule 

Learn more about the book by visiting the other stops on the blog tour:

Thursday, March 16: Cover Reveal… From Pemberley to Milton

Tuesday, March 28: Launch Day…Babblings of a Bookworm

Thursday, March 30: Savvy Verse and Wit

Saturday, April 1:  My Jane Austen Book Club

Monday, April 3:  Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

Thursday, April 6: Delighted Reader

Saturday, April 8:  So Little Time…

Monday, April 10: My Vices and Weaknesses

Wednesday, April 12: Austenesque Reviews

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  1. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Guest Post and the Excerpt!

    1. By the way...if the Rafflecopter link is not working, please use this one: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/9d1fdafb1/?

  2. Oho, this is going to be good, just know it. :) Looking forward to my chance at it.

    1. Excited to learn your thoughts on my ideas about the balance between characters I tried to achieve...along with the naval adventure and then the denouement.

  3. Many congratulations on your release Don!

    1. I really appreciate your good thoughts and support over the years.

  4. Congratulations, Don. Persuasion and P&P are my two favorites. (joy King)

  5. My 17yo son is a big British Navy buff (He also knows P&P and has read Persuasion) and he was intrigued by the cover. Looks good!

    1. It is not exactly a Forrester or O'Brian (what could be), but I wanted to explore how the characters would work in the hidden world behind the war.

  6. Congrats on publishing another book. P&P and Persuasion are my two favorite JA novels. Looking forward to reading this. Thank you for putting it on KU. (jeannette kleman)

    1. I am looking forward to your thoughts on how well I treated the four leads.

  7. I'm loving narrating this gem. I love how Don has left the characters and plots of the original books intact, just shanghai'ing Darcy & Wentworth before they can get married. Some great writing on what goes on in everyone's heads. And possibly the second largest vocabulary challenger that I've ever narrated.

    1. I am excited to be partnering with bennyfifeaudio.com on "The Sailor's Rest."

  8. bennyfifeaudio.com in case you're wondering. :)

  9. Thank you for this excerpt.Mr. Darcy seems voluble and open, this seems good starting foundation for the two of them. Awaiting what lies ahead for them (Buturot

    1. I appreciate your kind notes and your reading of my intent as I built the story.


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