Written by: Jayne Bamber
Published by: Self Published
When Jane and Elizabeth Bennet return home from Netherfield, two days of heavy rain confine them indoors with their unruly younger sisters, a mother in perpetual need of smelling salts, and the tedious Mr. Collins. When the rain clears, the ladies from Longbourn and the gentlemen from Netherfield are drawn to Meryton by the excitement of Market Day, setting in motion a series of significant events.
That night, Mrs. Phillips hosts a card party for officers of the local militia, where the charming Mr. Wickham tells Elizabeth his shocking history with Mr. Darcy, a man who has only given Elizabeth offense since coming to stay with his friend Mr. Bingley at Netherfield.
The next day, the same thing happens again.
And again, the day after that – and so on, for what begins to feel like an eternity. Elizabeth takes increasingly drastic measures to further the budding romance between her beloved sister Jane and their handsome neighbor Mr. Bingley. Along the way, she arranges improvements in the lives of all of her family, in a effort to end the relentless redundancy that only she seems aware of.
As Elizabeth’s frustration turns to madness, she soon realizes that her inexplicable dilemma is somehow connected to a certain officer and a certain gentleman of her acquaintance….
Elizabeth must forge unlikely alliances and devote her considerable wit to the task of achieving a perfect day for those she holds dear, while facing familiar Fitzwilliam friends and foes, as well as all the mortification and delight of falling in love.
Hello Dear Readers!
I hope this blog post finds you and your family in good health.
Today I am once again joined by the amazing Jayne Bamber to talk about her upcoming book Madness in Meryton.
It appears while I have sadly not been as productive as I had hoped, Jayne has once again finished another exciting book!
What an magnificent concept!
The idea of a time loop has always facinated me. The effect of free will and choice vs fate and destiny.
This book pairs such an interesting Science Fiction concept with the beauty of Austen! What more could you want really!
So I’ll hand you over once again to the very talented Jayne Bamber to give you a bit more of a run down and a excerpt.
Author Guest Spot
Hello, readers! It is a treat to be back at Guiltless Delights with an excerpt my upcoming release, Madness in Meryton. This is my sixth novel, and has proved to be the wildest ride yet – Groundhog Day meets Pride & Prejudice.
The day being repeated is the day that Elizabeth Bennet meets George Wickham and hears his slander of Mr. Darcy. The excerpt I am sharing today is a scene in which Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy struggle with the realization that they must work together to end the repletion of this day, even if they cannot agree on how to do it….
Elizabeth had begun to pace as she spent her ire, but Mr. Darcy caught her roughly by the arm. “Yes, blame it all on me. Have you ever considered that there is more you might do to help our cause? Look to your own house, and let me tend to mine.”
She wrested her arm free and shoved Mr. Darcy away. “Whatever do you mean? Go on, astonish me.”
“Your sister Mary – I spoke to her last night, and I think there is something in it you have overlooked. I have seen your efforts to push her at Mr. Collins, over the past two weeks, and I do not think it is the right course. She told me last night that she had seen his true colors, and she was relieved he had not chosen her from amongst you all.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth was entirely disarmed by his observation, and she chewed her lip as she considered it. “Very well,” she said at last, “I will not promote a match between them. I only thought, if he was determined to have one of us, and keep the estate in our family, that she would be the best suited to him. I will talk to her again, and if she really does not like it, I will let the matter rest.”
Mr. Darcy nodded. “Good.” He hesitated, and then moved closer and took her hand in his. “I want us to be fair to one another. Can you not understand that you have been blind about Mary in the same way I was blind about Bingley and Jane? I have endeavored to remedy my mistake, and I only ask that you do the same.”
Elizabeth let out a shaky breath and peered up at Mr. Darcy. His anger had cooled, and the look in his eyes conveyed a different sort of intensity. She was sorry for deceiving him, sorry even for her own blind hypocrisy, and she longed to make it right. She squeezed his hand, and moved a little nearer. “I have always thanked you, have I not, when you have done what is right?”
He raised his eyebrows in challenge, the trace of a smile playing over his lips. “You thanked me yesterday with a kiss, and then got angry when it obliged us to feign another engagement.”
Elizabeth felt the heat spreading across her cheeks, but she refused to look away, despite her mortification. “You liked it,” she whispered.
Mr. Darcy tipped his head toward her, and Elizabeth parted her lips, her neck craning back a little as she stared up at him. “Yes,” he said, letting out a ragged breath.
She struggled not to smile, scarcely knowing what she was about as her hand reached up and rested on his chest. “You have flirted with me, too.”
He held her by the shoulders, leaning in closer, until his forehead rested against hers. “Yes. You have been the only constant, the only one who has understood my struggle. A port in a storm. If I have shown you any affection it has been because of our peculiar alliance, but you… you flirted with me last night to fool me, to distract me from your duplicity.”
Elizabeth gasped, and leaned into him. “Do not say that, please. You cannot know how it pained me to deceive you – after all the praise of you I heard, from your family and my own, it was like a dagger in my heart.” She pursed her lips and whimpered as tears began to fall down her cheeks. “It broke my heart a little bit, when I had come to think so well of you – and you must know, I always meant to tell you, to come clean about it.”
Mr. Darcy brushed his face against hers and then drew away just a little. He wiped at her tears, his fingers lingering on her face. “Was any of it real – your behavior?”
She nodded, sniffling miserably. “Yes, of course, William.”
His eyes glistened, and leaned his face toward her again. “Lizzy….”
She knew he was about to kiss her, and Elizabeth could not bear it; she wanted it – but she did not. It was all too much, and with a strangled sob she abruptly pulled away from him. “It does not matter, does it? We cannot even trust one another – and we had promised to be rational today.”
Mr. Darcy closed his eyes and turned away from her, letting out a heavy sigh. “Yes, of course – forgive me. It is all getting to me, and I can bear it no longer. We must put an end to this madness.”
Elizabeth hugged at herself, still overcome by what had almost happened. She could not bear to think of it, though it was tempting to give in to the insanity that drew them together like a magnetic force. “And what of Mr. Wickham?”
“Tomorrow. I will beg Richard to return; he is a part of this now, so he must come.”
Elizabeth nodded. “I am sorry I did not tell you. I am sorry I did not trust you.”
“You could not have known the pain he has caused,” Mr. Darcy replied. “It pains me still, to see him every day; he delights in taunting me.”
“There must be something – the sum of all his lies might hold some sort of truth….”
He came toward her again, and extended his hand. “We will figure it out together, you and I – and Richard. We will examine everything, every problem, and we will keep no secrets.”
“No secrets,” Elizabeth repeated, taking his hand again. A sudden anxiety welled in her breast, and she looked up at him, bracing herself before she could give voice to what troubled him. “Everything is a disaster, is it not? Mr. Wickham, Mr. Bingley and Jane, Mary and Mr. Collins – my whole family. And I think – Richard said there was trouble at Netherfield – something about a quarrel… I feel as if the world is crumbling around us, and I cannot begin to figure out how to fix it.”
He stroked her hand, his face betraying the same sense of helplessness. “There will be another card party tonight, inevitably. We must simply apply ourselves to figuring it all out. We will observe as much as we can, since there is no point in exerting any influence. Tonight we must watch and listen, and tomorrow we will confer with Richard.”
Elizabeth nodded feebly, but his words did little to diminish the agitation she felt. He cupped her cheek in his hand, and tipped her face up until she would look at him. “We shall conquer this, Lizzy.”