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Monday, August 12, 2019

GIVEAWAY + Guest Post: Military influences in Jane Austen, from Debra-Ann Kummoung!

This morning, I took a look at some more unusual Austen retellings I've read recently, two of which center on the Napoleonic Wars, using it to get the characters into place, so to speak, and playing up this everyday fact of life for Austen's characters. Today, Debra-Ann Kummoung has dropped in to do a bit more of a deep dive on the subject, as well as give you a chance to win a copy of her latest book, True Love Never Fails..., as well as her previous book, Falling for Elizabeth Bennet, AND two gift cards, for a total of four winners!
Click through to read the piece and enter to win!


Military Influences in Jane Austen’s Works.


In four of JA's six books, major and minor characters are in the military. What is interesting to me is that of the branches that JA speaks of, she decides to pursue the army over the navy. This is surprising that two of her brothers served in the navy and rose to the rank of Admiral. However, this could have been done on purpose. I’ll explain later.

The military members that JA represents in her books all happen to be officers. This means that in one way or another they were able to purchase their ranks (this was not something cheap to do) and officers were either the sons of peers or younger sons of wealthy men. While JA does not always give us specifics on all her military men, she does give us an array of interesting “gentlemen” to speak of.

First, Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility who is slightly older is a respectable man and one who is well thought of by everyone. We don’t know much about his military career other than he was sent off when he was younger. Perhaps the starry eyed girl he falls in love with doesn’t see is qualities in the beginning but she finds her way to him.

Next up, I have Lieutenant Wickham & Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride & Prejudice. I have often wondered if JA had opposites in the book on purpose. Wickham is a bad boy through and through. A true ladies man with an eye on a lady with money. Colonel Fitzwilliam on the other hand, is a seasoned officer who is a younger son of an earl and while a peer’s son, he is not without his pride, but he is also honest enough to admit that he must marry with an eye towards money – but I do not believe that he would elope with a 15 girl with no dowry. I’m sure Wickham wasn’t thrilled to have Darcy find them and arrange the marriage. Almost makes you feel sorry for him – almost.

Moving on to General & Captain Tilney from Northanger Abbey. I must admit that these two are my least favorite of the group. General Tilney has earned or bought his way to his rank. He is always looking for more money for his family and doesn’t care who he hurts in his pursuit. Captain Tilney is a rotten egg. Similar to Wickham in nature, the difference is that Captain Tilney has that sense of entitlement since he comes from money he feels that he can take what he wants and discards the ladies when they are no more use to him. We never learn if they served in the regulars or the local militia. Given their nature, I’m going with the local militia.

Finally, I had to close with my favorite military man Captain Wentworth from Persuasion. I like Captain Wentworth for of the a few reasons. When he fell in love with Anne Elliott, he did not see her for her social class but as a woman he loved. Even though she did reject him and he left to sea for 8 ½ years, he never forgot her and never stopped loving her. Wentworth stayed true to Anne even if he wasn’t ready to forgive her when upon his return, he returns wealthy while her family is now in reduced circumstances.

Our military forces of today are a mix of voluntary and required service, but you can no longer purchase your rank. I believe that regardless of times, serving in the military is difficult – we just have a different set of concerns and battles that we are waging.

I was inspired to do a piece on the military for a few reasons. One, my husband is retired from the army and is my inspiration for my heroes. Second, my new release – True Love Never Fails… focuses around Darcy and Bingley and introduces Colonel Fitzwilliam towards the latter half of the book. This is a cliffhanger and the conclusion True Love Conquers All release later this fall focuses largely around these 3 men and the Bennet ladies they love.

I will be giving away a signed copy of True Love Never Fails… to one lucky winner (open worldwide) and I will also give away a signed copy of my first book – Falling for Elizabeth Bennet to another lucky winner. To make things even more fair than last year, I will also give away 2 $10 Amazon gift cards so you have a chance to win one of 4 prizes.

Good luck!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below.
Full terms in the Rafflecopter.
Ends September 5th, 2019, at 11:59pm EST

a Rafflecopter giveaway



True Love Never Fails... 
by Debra-Ann Kummoung
From the family lives of the Bennet sisters and their characterful parents, to the hidden charm, grace, and elegance of the unflappable Mr. Darcy, it might seem as if fans of Austen’s timeless classic, Pride & Prejudice, know all there is to know about this truly great novel. However, within the pages of this much-loved book, there are questions which call out for answers… the greatest of which are: what if everything we believed to be true about the Bennets and their fellow characters was, in fact, a veneer for something quite different? What if the behavior and intentions of the iconic sisters was all an act? And what if Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and all the other refined gentlemen of Pemberley and beyond were not the genteel and mannered men we saw them to be?

Such questions, such mysteries, and such tantalizing possibilities form the backbone of True Love Never Fails, a daring and bold reimagining of Jane Austen’s most famed and adored work. Throughout the pages of this stunning novel, which abounds in all that we fell in love with in the chapters of Pride & Prejudice - and much more besides - we’re left second-guessing every motive, every word, and every eventuality we thought we knew so well. As readers, we’re taken into the heart of a dazzling set of cliff-hangers and revealed truths… and we’ll never be able to look our favorite characters in the same way again.

Alongside the rollicking storyline that weaves its way through the moral mazes of 18th century English high society, True Love Never Fails introduces its readers to the elusive and serious Mary Bennet. She’s a sister with a secret, and one who holds the key to the heart of the fun-loving Colonel Fitzwilliam, around whom a spiraling storyline forms. As revelation follows revelation, hearts will be broken, bonds will be formed, and the truth behind this timeless novel will be reimagined and revealed. Thanks to the astonishing deftness of the storytelling, and the author’s keen eye for a twist and tantalizing details, readers will find themselves on a new ride through a familiar landscape that’s as breathlessly romantic as it is captivating. From the first page you’ll be hooked, and by the time you reach the the very last, you’ll be calling out for more from this awe-inspiring retelling of Austen’s masterpiece.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I fell in love with Pride & Prejudice when I read it in high school. Something about that time - the courtly manners of society, the clothing, and so many other things. Don't get me a wrong, I'm a modern girl and wouldn't last a day without my modern conveniences, but I can still fantasize about that time period.

My husband is my inspiration for Mr. Darcy & Colonel Fitzwilliam (when the good colonel appears in one of my books). My husband has the manners of Darcy but has been a military man like the colonel - so I got both in one man.

In 2019, I will be releasing 2 books - True Love Never Fails... and True Love Conquers All. Book one is a cliffhanger. Book two will release later this fall.

I will also be participating in a Christmas anthology releasing in the fall of 2019.

Please stop by my website: www.debraannkummoung.com or stop by my FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/DebraAnnKummoung/

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!

37 comments:

  1. I fully agree with your thoughts on all military men you mentioned. Capitan Wentworth and Colonel Fitzwilliam are my favorites. I'm intrigued by Love Never Fails, but I'll have to wait until the release of the second book. I don't like cliffhangers without continuation available for reading. Congratulations and thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I love your choices of military men too. They're my favorites as well. I understand about cliffhangers which is why I decided to release them together the same year. Thanks for participating! Good luck!

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  2. I hadn't thought about the big military presence--I guess part of it is the way the military is such a traditional part of the English "ruling class"!

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    1. Yes. I've been actively researching the military for the conclusion of my next book and things were very different from what we would expect. Thanks for participating!

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  3. That is an interesting thing to notice, how JA did not include more naval personnel in her books. I guess we'll never know why. Not surprising that she would include military at all, though, considering that the war was a big part of English life, and had been for a long time.

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    1. I think I tend to notice things like this a little more since I grew up around the military and married someone who served. I did like how JA did make her one military hero navy. Who couldn't love Captain Wentworth? Thanks for commenting.

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  4. I've enjoyed the military presence in her books since I grew up around the military. Great post, Debra-Ann!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sophia Rose. I'm glad you like the post.

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  5. I love that JA used her knowledge of the military in her books although I have often wondered why the Navy wasn't more heavily depicted.

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    1. I like that JA used her knowledge as well. She gave us some great heroes and dastardly bad guys too. Perhaps there was the Army vs Navy going on even back then. Sadly most of her bad guys were army (kinda). Good luck and thanks for the comments.

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  6. This sounds like an amazing book.

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    1. Thank you so much. It was actually the very first plot I wrote, but it wasn't ready for me to write yet. However, after I published Falling for Elizabeth Bennet it started to talk to me. I cannot wait to see how everyone will enjoy the conclusion - True Love Conquers All. Good luck & thanks!

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  7. Interesting thoughts about Jane Austen and the military in her work. I find it amazing that military ranks could be PURCHASED back then! I'm so glad they must be earned now. Much more fair.

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    1. I was initially surprised to find out that ranks could be purchased as well. Like you, I'm glad that they must be earned these days. Not only is it more fair, but think of the experience/seasoning you would miss out on if you didn't earn your rank. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Captain Wentworth is my fave character in all of Austenland.

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    1. I totally get that. And that letter *sigh*… I'm with you - although I do enjoy playing around with Colonel Fitzwilliam's character.

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  9. Exciting news. Congratulations.

    Of the military men listed, I think Captain Wentworth is my all time favorite.

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    1. Thank you! I agree with you. Captain Wentworth showed us his love and steadfastness of character. I think his letter to Anne is the best letter hands down. Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I enjoy hearing what inspires an author to write a certain book. Thanks for the chance.

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    1. I'm glad you are interested in what makes us as authors tick. I must own that I enjoy pulling elements from life to bring into my books. My first book - Falling for Elizabeth Bennet was loosely based on me as an epileptic. True Love Never Fails... is inspired by my husband who has the misfortune to be my inspiration for both Darcy & Colonel Fitzwilliam as he was in the military and still has responsibilities much like Darcy. Thanks for your comments. Good luck!

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  11. Love Captain Wentworth and Colonel Fitzwilliam is my favorite secondary character!!

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  12. This is such a nice prize. Thank you for this chance. Loved the first book, looking forward to readfing the next one.

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    1. Good luck! I'm so glad you enjoyed the first book. The next one will be coming soon - lots of twists and turns. I'll just say that I think I'm going to surprise a lot of people. Be warned it is definitely non-canon.

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  13. I didn't care for the military before Austen, but now I like it well enough as I am in love with Colonel Fitzwilliam and secondary with Captain Wentworth. I haven't read your book yet, but if my beloved Richard Fitzwilliam has a big part in it, I'll put it in my to read list and soon

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    1. Sophia - I totally get what you're saying and like you love the same two military men. I will warn you that while Colonel Fitzwilliam is in my book, he comes in slightly later in the book, but he's important as the next book focuses a lot more on him. Also, since he never had a first name in the original work, I gave him the first name of Geoffrey - in honor of my husband.

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  14. This is an interesting post. I find it interesting that the story that focuses on a military man is one who is a naval officer. The others are in the army.

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    1. Hi Deborah Ann! I was surprised my self when I was researching this. I expected to find more navy but perhaps JA was having fun making the army less than nice guys...

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  15. This seems to be an interesting variation on Pride and Prejudice!

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    1. Thank you. I will warn you that it is totally out of character and non-canon to boot. I like making serious twists and turns and the conclusion is going to surprise a lot of people I think. thanks for stopping by!

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  16. What a fascinating topic that you shared, Debra-Ann. But you missed out William Price from Mansfield Park. I believe he is a midshipman but it's still in the Navy, just like Captain Wentworth.

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    1. Oh my gosh! I cannot believe I forgot William! Thank you so much for calling me out on that one. I guess he just slipped my mind. He's an important character too since he seems to be the only person in Mansfield Park to truly love Fanny. I love that he was navy as well. He was another example that the navy characters that Jane Austen used were excellent men.

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  17. I like Captain Wentworth too. Now I'm thinking about Wickham in the militia.

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    1. The captain is a swoon worthy man. This is one of my favorite stories. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

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