Are you looking for a book you can really sink your teeth into? -ok, I couldn’t resist a cheesy pun. How long has it been since the Twilight crazy? I remember year ago when I was pregnant with my son, I grabbed the first book at the grocery store on day on a whim. I was hooked from the first book. Something about the fantasy would of vampires just sucked me in.
Well. the Jane Austen Fan Fiction world never disappoints. Northanger Abbey is one of my top Austen novels… so why would I NOT take the chance to read Northanger Abbey… Vampire style. Jayne Bamber is really creating some amazing stories with Austen’s novels. Northfanger is a mash-up of Pride & Prejudice characters along with some of the main character from Northanger Abbey. Throw in some wild vampire action and you have one wild ride of a story!
If you are/were a fan of Twilight, Buffy or and of the vampire crazy and you love Austen, I think you would really enjoy this book. It tends to lean heavily on the gothic elements and I would say at times it left me wanting a bit more development to the story. But, isn’t that part of what we loved about these vampire sagas? (… I’m picturing a glittering Robert Pattinson right now) You can checkout Northfanger here.
Today, I am excited to share with you an interview with Jayne and an excerpt from her next book Five Daughters Out At Once.
Interview with Jayne Bamber
1. What was your favorite book as a teenager?
It was a three-way tie between Anna Karenina, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and One Hundred Years of Solitude – and I think it still is!
2. Which Austen character do you think is the closest to your personality?
After 2020, I can completely relate to Mrs. Bennet’s demand that everyone “have some compassion on my poor nerves” – but in a more normal world, I am very like Catherine Morland: obsessed with books, eager to travel more, willing to be friends with anyone, and hype for everything.
3. You are spending the day writing. Do you…
A. Get dressed as if you are going out
B. Stay in pajamas or loungewear
For my first 7 books, the answer was B – I wrote them all on my back porch. This book was different; since I moved across Texas and no longer have my scenic back porch, I wrote most of this book in a comfy armchair by the wall of windows at the public library – and public, even during a pandemic, means at least a little make-up and some sparkly jelly shoes!
4. I have to ask… Favorite Austen novel?
This tends to change based on what JAFF project I am on. Writing Outmatched renewed my love for Sense & Sensibility (my first taste of Austen), writing NorthFanger did the same for my love of Northanger Abbey, and this time around I started to appreciate Persuasion more than I ever have before. My next project will likely renew my love for Emma!
5. What was your ”ah-ha” moment to start writing Austen mash-ups?
I realized that what I was searching for in devouring so many Austen Variations (I must have read over a hundred before I ever started writing) was something that did not exist yet, and that I was going to have to do something about it. I did later find one, the first ever JAFF, “Old Friends and New Fancies” – by this point I had been published a couple times, but it was validating to discover that my impulse was not alone, in imagining what possibilities could arise from Austen characters making alternative matches between books.
6. You have an excerpt to share with us today – what would you like to tell us about the passage?
Well, to set up the scene, here’s a little background info: the novel opens a year later than in Pride & Prejudice. Mr. Bingley never came to Netherfield, and the orphaned Bennet sisters have been left to their own devices at Longbourn for two years. When Mr. Collins finally turns up to send them into the hedgerows, Lady Catherine – who has her own resents to resent Mr. Collins – takes the Bennet girls into her care. She rents Longbourn herself, and of course Darcy is set against the plan. Despite his disapproval, her helps her make the preparations, and in the excerpt below, his cousin Richard swaggers into the story with all his usual snark….
Excerpt from Five Daughter Out At Once:
Darcy had just sat down to enjoy his sister’s playing at the pianoforte and write to Richard of his imminent journey north, when his cousin sauntered into the drawing room, clad all in black but grinning like the cheeky devil he was. “Good morning,” he boomed, making both Darcy siblings jump and look up in alarm as he laughed merrily.
Georgiana was the first to recover herself; she leapt up from the piano stool and ran to Richard, who lifted her into a warm embrace and spun her about before setting her back down. “Georgie, my darling little imp, how you have grown!”
Darcy was less elated; the sight of Richard in Town signaled the evaporation of his own escape plans. “Richard, what on earth are you doing here?”
Richard made a droll face and a sweeping gesture from his shoulders downward, emphasizing his mourning attire. “I have just met with poor Aunt Betsy’s solicitor – I may be several thousand pounds richer, but I am terribly bereaved – I was her favorite, after all.”
“Oh,” Georgiana cried. “We saw it in the papers – how awfully sad.”
“I hope you will not mention it to Aunt Catherine,” Darcy said. “She has talked rather more than usual of death and grief this last fortnight, and I should not like to see her distressed any further.”
“Your concern is touching, I am sure, but she has never much cared for my maternal relations, you know – and I have already written to her of my inheritance. At any rate, I hear my aunt has another cause besides this for joy – indeed, five very charming reasons for good cheer, is it not so?”
This last was addressed chiefly to Georgiana, and Darcy turned to her with a querulous look. “Oh,” she gasped. “I did not know it was a secret, Brother.”
“It is not, as it happens,” Richard said. “Our aunt informed me of her intentions – but I can see that you disapprove, Darcy. Well, now you must suffer the consequences of being such a tardy correspondent!” He glanced down at the letter Darcy had started, and then clapped his cousin on the back. “Bad luck, eh? My coming to London has put paid to your little scheme to escape my aunt’s new situation in the country, for if you go to Matlock now, you shall find the rest of the family gone off to Scotland, and the house quite shut up.”
Darcy glowered at his cousin, who was not too bereaved to be as jolly as ever. “I hope our aunt has not drawn you into this Netherfield business – I am sure it is a disaster in the making.”
“Then I shall have to make sure it does not go awry,” Richard chided him smugly.
Darcy stood and crossed his arms, giving his cousin a look of withering disapprobation. “I see you mean to make a lark of what is already a very foolish scheme – no good can come of it, mark my words.”
“Georgie, I think you said the Misses Bennet are all pretty, accomplished, gently bred girls, eh?”
“Oh, yes,” was Georgiana’s enthusiastic reply. “I have heard such praise of them from their friend and neighbor….”
“Well!” Richard clapped his hands. “I am of the opinion that a great deal of good might come from my making their acquaintance – but go on, then, Darcy. Tell me why you are so keen to object.”
“I should think it perfectly obvious,” Darcy snapped. “Georgiana may not know better; she is an ingenue, and her optimism does her credit. You, Richard, are determined to be willfully blind to the multitude of ways this scheme might go awry. Very little is known of these girls’ characters, beyond what could be gleaned upon a half-hour’s acquaintance – and that was not entirely favorable, in my estimation. The eldest Miss Bennet we have seen a little more of, and she is acceptable, I shall grant you, but certainly not remarkable enough to merit the fuss my aunt is making. I fear the younger sisters may yet work some mischief upon our aunt.”
Richard snorted with exaggerated disbelief. “Aunt Catherine is one of the most indomitable women of my acquaintance – I am prodigiously proud of her – and I daresay she can withstand a bevy of orphaned debutantes. I would sooner fear that she might bring some mischief on them.”
With a heavy exhale, Darcy made a vague gesture of emphasis. “Another mark against the entire scheme! And that is the first sensible observation out of you, Richard, by the by. The Bennet girls have not been used to our aunt’s ways. Indeed, one of them in particular seems to me to possess an abominable sort of conceited independence – such indifference to decorum will make for a difficult adjustment to life under Lady Catherine’s roof. And what certainty have they that it will last? She might tire of them at any time, and then they shall be no better off than they are now – perhaps even worse, for having been taught to set their sights higher than they would otherwise have done.”
“Brother,” Georgiana gasped, her eyes wide with dismay. “That was unkind and… and terribly untrue!”
Richard moved closer to her, giving her shoulder an encouraging pat. “Quite right!”
Though she had been trembling before, now Georgiana held her chin up higher. “Aunt Catherine has always liked to be useful to others, and I think we ought to rejoice that she is returning to her former self.”
“Brava, cousin,” Richard cried. “And shame on you, Darcy! Really, I am surprised at you. I know you were just as worried about our aunt as Georgie, and here is a way for Lady Catherine to be away from Rosings, thinking of something other than her grief – and without much endeavor or expense on your part. It seems entirely ideal in every way. I think you are grasping at excuses to protest, and I cannot imagine why.”
“And I cannot at all account for why prudence seems suddenly a crime and not a virtue.”
“Good Lord, I must be interrupting something terribly boring and vexing,” Lady Catherine drawled, sweeping into the room in such a state that one might imagine she had never known a day’s sorrow in the whole course of her life.
Richard dipped into an exaggerated, sweeping bow, before he stood and kissed her hand, offering her a bright and dashing smile. “My darling Aunt Catherine,” he said, basking in her displeasure with Darcy. “How well you look – a new gown, is it not? Well, it is good to see you back in bright colors, just as I am obliged to quit them – but you have always worn such bold shades very well indeed. And of course, you have five very fine reasons for felicity at present.”
Lady Catherine wagged a playful finger at him. “And I hear you have fifty thousand reasons for being so chipper this morning, you cheeky fellow.”
Georgiana gasped; even Darcy could not suppress his reaction to the sum, and the sight of his mouth agape seemed to please both Richard and their aunt. “Fifty thousand and one,” Richard quipped. “I am quite eager to see Netherfield for myself.”
“And what makes the prospect more delightful, I wonder,” their aunt chided him. “The remarkable quantity of young ladies involved in the plan, or your cousin’s incessant disapproval?”
“It is his enthusiasm for the ladies that causes me to disapprove of his involvement in the scheme,” Darcy replied weakly – with all three of his relations against him now, he began to feel very boorish indeed, and caught himself retreating backward into the corner of the room.
“I have asked Richard to come to Hertfordshire with us because I will be so much occupied with my dear girls that I shall hardly have time to manage the estate. Dear Richard has resigned his commission at long last, and I think he must mean to buy a manor of his own someday, with such a grand inheritance. What a fine chance for him to learn. It is a Fitzwilliam trait to be so assiduously dedicated to doing good wherever possible. But I hope you do not mean to come to Netherfield looking so dreary, Richard! The sight of you clad all in black shall dampen the spirits of those poor girls, and I will not have it.”
Richard’s brow creased for a moment. “Hertfordshire, madam? I had thought your letter said Herefordshire.”
“Certainly not,” she replied, waving her hand dismissively. “What difference can it make – it is still a fine thing, is it not? What an opportunity for you – I am sure much good will come of it.” Richard had not yet recovered himself, but Lady Catherine ignored him, and now addressed Georgiana. “And a fine thing for you, too, my dear girl! Darcy need not trouble himself any further, if he does not like it. Richard shares your guardianship – he shall surely allow you to come to Netherfield. I know it is what you would wish; you have dropped enough hints to that effect.”
“Oh, may I?” Georgiana gave a little bounce of excited hope.
Quite literally backed into a corner, Darcy could not but relent; there was sure to be mischief abound at Netherfield – better that he go himself to prevent it from turning into a full-blown fracas. He allowed himself one last groan before committing to the damnable, mad plan. “We shall all go to Hertfordshire.”
Lady Catherine grinned wolfishly at him. “Excellent.”
Book on Amazon/Kindle:
Jayne Bamber on Audible:
Thank you to Jayne for joining me today! She has quite a collection of Austen variations and mash-ups released already. I hope you will check them out. If you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to get each new blog post emailed directly to you. Your support is much appreciated! Happy Reading, Melissa