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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Being Mrs Bennet excerpt & GIVEAWAY from Alexa Adams!

The first post of the day today comes from Alexa Adams, whom you may have seen around here a time or two. Or ten. She's sharing with us an excerpt of her latest Pride & Prejudice offering, Being Mrs Bennet, as well as a giveaway! Click through to read a sample of the book and enter to win one of two copies!

I’m thrilled Austen in August is a month long this year. Massive thanks to Misty for all her hard work and for being such a classy hostess. It’s always a pleasure to participate.
[Edit from Misty: You hear that, you guys? Classy. I totally did not pay her to say that.]

Meet my new novel, Being Mrs. Bennet. It’s an unusual book, as mine tend to be. I’ll allow the blurb to speak for itself:
Alison Bateman adores Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice. Within the book’s pages she finds escape from everyday strife, that is until she becomes one of its characters. Instead of the beloved heroine of the novel, Alison transforms into her silly and ineffectual mother, Mrs. Bennet. Not one to be idle, she uses her new role to try and curb the unruly behavior of the youngest Bennet daughter, never suspecting the consequences her meddling will have on the romance at the heart of the novel. A story of survival in a fictional universe, Being Mrs. Bennet is a lighthearted take on Austen’s classic tale.
Here is an excerpt from a rather climatic moment. Usually a scene like this would be a bit too much of a spoiler to share, but I think it’s just going to raise more questions than it answers. It takes place the morning after Elizabeth’s return from Kent. Alison has been in Mrs. Bennet’s body for several weeks and Longbourn has been duly transformed. Jane is happy to see her mother improved but Elizabeth cannot accept the change. Enjoy!

"Mama? Mama, can you hear me?" An English voice startled Alison into consciousness. Her eyes slowly registered Elizabeth Bennet, who was standing by her bedside dressed for walking. If the sun was on the ascent, the windows did not yet expose the fact. Alison must have been looking at her favorite heroine with befuddlement, for Elizabeth soon explained, "I was told you have taken a liking to long walks, and I thought you might join me for my morning ramble."

It only took a moment for Alison to fully awaken. A "morning ramble" with Elizabeth Bennet! Her dream of the real-life Lizzy was already forgotten when she eagerly responded, "Indeed! Just let me dress."

Elizabeth helped her instead of calling for a servant, with Alison quickly extracting the most serviceable garments from the wardrobe, including the comfortable walking boots in which she had invested. They were soon out in the dewy spring morning, walking in no particular direction beneath the dawning sky.

"This is lovely!" Alison exclaimed as they paused to look out upon a sloping vista. Not a road dotted the landscape for miles, and only the sounds of birds, sheep, and the occasional cow reached her ears. For a moment, she wondered at herself for finding it all so novel, and then the memory of suburban streets intruded upon her vision, reminding her of what would be on this spot in her own time. Her own time ... Somehow, when Elizabeth Bennet was her companion, the concerns of that world slipped away. The thought made her heart race, but not as much as it should.

"Shall we rest on this rock for a while?" Elizabeth asked, gesturing to a large and flat protrusion along the side of the path they pursued.

"Mother Nature's own answer to the park bench!" Alison proclaimed with nervous enthusiasm before seating herself with unnatural alacrity.

Elizabeth descended more wearily, perching herself about as far from her mother as she could with grace. They sat in silence for some moments, Alison smiling uneasily and Elizabeth studying her cautiously, her eyebrows pinched together in concentration. Elizabeth eventually broke the silence by calmly stating, "There is a spider on your gown."

As the words were spoken, Alison became cognizant of the rather ordinary brown spider climbing up her skirt. Her eyes might have widened at the sight, but she did not start. Instead, she slowly leaned down to the side and picked up a stick, which she used to remove the intruder carefully from the fabric. Soon it was safely scurrying away from the surely terrifying encounter while Alison brushed off her gloves and gown.

"I knew it!" Elizabeth abruptly stood and proclaimed, pointing a finger at Alison. "It may sound mad, and I know not how it might have happened, but you are not my mother!"

Alison paled at the accusation and, knowing not what to say, responded, "Then who do you suppose I am?"

"I know not!" cried the distraught heroine, dropping the accusing digit and pressing her hands to her temples. "It does not make the least sense, but my mother has a decided aversion to all insects. She would never react as you just did. At best, she would scream; at worst, faint."

"But spiders are such useful creatures, eating mosquitos and other pests, and they really are not insects at all but arachnids."

"Of what are you even speaking? My mother is not a font of information on scientific classification!" she said exasperatedly.

"I realize that," Alison replied sadly, "but I cannot help knowing the things that I know."

Elizabeth looked at her intently. "So you admit to not being who you appear?"

"I cannot explain how it happened," she began to gush, "and please do not expect me to. One moment I was there, and then I was here, and that is all I know."

Elizabeth, far from appearing relieved, turned stark white at the words and sat unsteadily back down upon the rock. "Then it is true!" she marveled. "I knew but still could not believe." She looked at Alison searchingly. "Who are you? Where is my mother?"

"My name is Alison Bennet," she began.

"No, it is not!" Elizabeth angrily interrupted.

"Alison ... Bateman," she said forcefully, suddenly struggling for all the details of her life. "I am married to Tom Bateman. We live in Baltimore, Maryland, and we have five children: Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia!" She was becoming frantic. Speaking of them out loud for the first time in weeks brought all the poignancy of her predicament bearing down upon her. It was Alison's turn to lose her color, and Elizabeth placed bracing hands upon hers.

"Maryland? In the Americas? Yet we all have the same names ... how can it be?”

"I do not know how it can be, but I can explain the names." Alison took a deep breath. "You see, I named my children after you."

"And you and your husband's names?"

"Coincidence. Austen never gave your parents' names."

"What? Who is Austen?"

Stop it you fool! Alison derided herself internally as her eyes grew big and her mouth hung open, though not wide enough to comfortably fit the foot she just stuck into it. How do you tell someone they are a fictional character? You don't.

"Austen … Austen … Jane, I mean James,” she stammered. “Austen James, my cousin who records the family heritage.”

"But we have no relations outside of England, nor any named James! You are not making any sense!"

"It does not make any sense!" Alison cried in desperation.

Elizabeth appeared comforted by this confirmation. She began to pace in apparent contemplation. Alison watched her with fascination until she stopped and posed a new question. "What do you remember?"

"Not much, and it seems like less all the time! That is what I find most alarming."

Elizabeth nodded in agreement, and her posture softened. It was very quietly that she asked again, "Where is my mother?"

"I do not know! I am so sorry." Alison instinctively rose and put her arms around Elizabeth, just as she would have around her own daughter, and held her as she began to tremble and weep. Her emotion made Alison's own loss more poignant, and she felt she could cry – or worse – if she would only allow herself to. But she was a mother, first and foremost, and here was a child in need of comfort. There was really very little choice in the matter. She had to be calm for Elizabeth’s sake and somehow, calm she remained.

"Please, excuse me!" Elizabeth eventually said, wiping her eyes and shaking herself into control. "I shall be myself again now. Thank you."

Alison nodded. “I know just how you feel."

"Yes. I suppose you do." Elizabeth grew thoughtful once more. "Yet you are forgetting your true life?"

Alison marveled at her penetration. "It is as if it has slipped just beyond my reach. I cannot touch it as I could before. I fear I was so excited to be here that I did not fight it as I ought to have done, and now this life has grown familiar. I dread being trapped forever, but I am also enjoying myself, which is maybe the most horrifying notion of all. When I think of my children ... " She could not continue. Suddenly it was her emotions that were rushing out of control, and she turned away to collect herself. She soon felt a warm hand on her shoulder.

"How do you know of us? Through this cousin, Austen James?"

It sounded so ridiculous that Alison knew it was unsustainable. "No, Jane. I learned of you from Jane Austen. I said James in my panic. I know not what I was thinking. Please do not ask me more. I know you want answers, but I really do not have any to provide."

"But how do we undo this?" Elizabeth asked with a hopeless look.

"I do not know. I keep thinking I will just wake up, and it will be over as quickly as it began." She looked at her hands, trying to remember the difference between Mrs. Bennet's and her own and failing miserably.

Elizabeth had resumed her pacing. "For some reason you wish not to explain, you named all your children the same as my parents named theirs." She suddenly stopped, as if absorbing the impact of a new idea. "How old are they?"

"The same ages as your sisters," Alison meekly replied.

"That is impossible!" she cried. “This entire conversation, in accordance with all logic, is impossible. How do you account for it?”

“I cannot.”

“You said you named them after us, so ‘tis no coincidence. We must, somehow, have preceded you,” she concluded in awe-struck tones. Then, laughing forcefully, she recited, “‘Do whate'er thou wilt swift-footed Time,’" and sat rather abruptly back down upon the rock.

To celebrate the release of Being Mrs Bennet, and her return to AIA, Alexa is pleased to be able to offer an international giveaway of two kindle editions!

Ebook giveaway open INTERNATIONALLY!
Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.
Anyone caught trying to “game” the system will have their entries invalidated, and will be barred from future giveaways. Void where prohibited.
PLEASE do not leave sensitive information, home addresses, or email addresses in the comments. These comments will be deleted and entries invalidated.
All Austen in August giveaways are open until September 7th at 11:59 Eastern.
Best of luck and happy Austen in August to all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

about BEING MRS BENNET by Alexa Adams
Can fandom go too far?

Alison Bateman adores Jane Austen, especially Pride and Prejudice. Within the book’s pages she finds escape from everyday strife, that is until she becomes one of its characters. Instead of the beloved heroine of the novel, Alison transforms into her silly and ineffectual mother, Mrs. Bennet. Not one to be idle, she uses her new role to try and curb the unruly behavior of the youngest Bennet daughter, never suspecting the consequences her meddling will have on the romance at the heart of the novel. A story of survival in a fictional universe, Being Mrs. Bennet is a lighthearted take on Austen’s classic tale.

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event
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  1. Having followed and enjoyed the wip I am looking forward to reading the finished novel

  2. Enjoyed reading this book. Have all your other books except "Darcy in Wonderland". Keep on writing!

  3. This is now going to the top of my tbr pile!

  4. I can not wait to read this. I have a thing for Mrs B. It has to be fantastic!

  5. Goodness! I have no idea how you come to sort this out. I'm relying on the fact that whatever else happens Elizabeth ends up with Darcy?

  6. Ooo I like that sound of this one. Good luck all!

  7. I love these type of stories and have really enjoyed ones where someone becomes Elizabeth. This is the first story I've come across where they are Mrs. Bennet and I love the possibilities this opens up. I look forward to reading how Alison changes the story.

  8. Lovely, I remember reading some of much earlier. So looking forward to reading it now.

  9. I love this concept (both ending up as one of the *least* beloved characters, and good intentions backfiring)- so I'm looking forward to reading this!

  10. This is such a wonderful story. I really liked the concept and the results of the switch.

  11. An intriguing and delightful excerpt that you are sharing, Alexa. Gosh, I wonder where is Mrs Bennet now. Is she taking Alison's place and becoming Mrs Bateman in the modern world? If so, this sounds very much like Lost in Austen, the mini-series.


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