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Ten More Things to Expect in Unexpected Friends & Relations
By Jayne Bamber
Volume 2 of the Friends & Relations Series is here! To celebrate the new release, I’d like to share a few hints with you of what you can anticipate in this continuation. Volume 1 focused largely on Elizabeth & Darcy’s relationship, but this volume is of a broader scope, and focuses on several heroines and smaller characters. I made a post last week about the ladies in the story, because female friendship and sisterhood play such a large role in the tale, but now I would like to talk about the gentlemen in Unexpected.
#10 After appearing in Volume 1 as the audacious flirt every lady needs in her life, the original character Henry Audley returns to push his luck and flirt with ladies and disaster alike.
#9 Handsome, charming, and fully aware of the fact, Mr. Elton delivers everything one might expect – pursuit of the unattainable, collateral damage along the way, and ultimately, exactly the kind of marriage he deserves.
#8 Frank Churchill, one of the more dubious heroes from Jane Austen’s Emma, appeared at the end of Volume 1 for just long enough to be scolded by Mr. Knightley at a ball, and convinced by Sidney Parker to bring his ailing aunt to Sanditon. That decision plays a key role in his development in Unexpected, which brings him to Highbury.
#7 After divorcing his scandalous first wife, Mr. Rushworth is thoroughly convinced that he is not looking for another, until he encounters a lady who shows him what he needs in a mate – in short, the opposite of Maria Bertram.
#6 This paragon of antisocial snark plays a background role with rippling effects through the story, after being dominated by the influence of his wife’s cousin, Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam, and will likely be back for the third and final book.
#5 After meeting with some rather physical rejection from the widowed Marianne Brandon in Volume 1, Willoughby returns and meets with a lady who offers all the same charms as Marianne, as well as a friend with a plan to encourage romance all around...
#4 Ever the glutton for punishment, Captain Wentworth exchanges one complicated relationship for another. Acting only on suspicion that all is not as it seems for a lady of his acquaintance, Captain Wentworth leads them both to the brink of scandal, saved only by a miracle.
#3 Sidney Parker returns to fill everyone’s ears once more with talk of Sanditon, stirring up trouble in the process, until he finds an unlikely ally in matters of the heart, and a shot at redemption.
#2 What started as a chance meeting with Lady Rebecca in Volume 1 leads to more confrontation between the two of them in this volume, as Mr. Knightley struggles to ensure that all is well for his friends in Highbury.
#1 Arguably the best hero in all of Austen, Henry Tilney reads novels, understands muslin, and proves to have unexpected depths as he woos the lady who most deserves such a man, long after winning over her mother with his profound genius.
Sir Walter Elliot makes an appearance as an undesirable suitor looking to find a wife to bear him an heir. Charles Bingley makes a tearful departure from the action of Volume 2, with a promise of return in the third and final book. Captain Fred Tilney and his father, General Tilney, make a brief appearance and the end of the tale, bringing relief to more than one character. Edmund Bertram visits London, braving Lady Catherine’s displeasure as he resigns his post at the Hunsford Parsonage, and receives in unexpected reward from an unlikely ally. Sir Gerald Sutton, Lady Catherine’s nearest neighbor plays a large part in the story, bringing hope to some, indulgence to many, and helping more than one lady find love.
Unexpected Friends & Relations is available now on Kindle, and the paperback version is coming soon, too. To enter the e-book giveaway, click here – winners will be announced on May 20th. Below is a little excerpt, depicting the first glance of recently-divorced Mr. Rushworth….
James Rushworth arrived late at the ball, hoping to slip in relatively unnoticed, as he was not yet comfortable attracting too much attention in society. Yet, it must be done. His former schoolmate, Sam Sutton, had called on him that afternoon, urging him to attend. After all, it had been four months since his divorce, and he felt it time to put the scandal to bed at last. This event seemed as good a time as any to do just that. For the most part, the gossip about his ex-wife’s dalliance had given way to other, juicier tales. And, as Sam had so candidly observed, it was time for him to prove that Maria’s infidelity had not unmanned him. So, here he was, pretending that all was well. Sam had noticed him, and was making his way over, an uncommonly handsome young woman on his arm.
“I was beginning to fear you would not come,” Sam said, clapping him merrily on the shoulder. “We have all just had our supper, but at least there shall be more dancing, and I have just the partner for you! May I present my sister, Miss Sutton? Sister, this is my old friend, James Rushworth.”
Sensing his friend Sam’s expectation, Rushworth thought he had better ask the girl to dance.
“Wonderful,” Sam exclaimed when his sister accepted. “And perhaps a little while later, you might favor my new cousin Miss Darcy, as well,” he said, gesturing in the direction of a willowy blonde standing not too far away from them.
Rushworth was obliged to decline. Lowering his voice, he replied, “I appreciate your enthusiasm, Sam, but I have heard the whispers about that young lady’s reputation, and I believe I have had my fill of scandal already.”
Sam frowned; Rushworth began to fear she had overheard them, for she abruptly walked away, approaching a very attractive brunette and speaking to her with great animation. Before his friend could rebuke him for making such a faux pas, he hastily offered Miss Sutton his arm and they joined the dance.
He found her to be a pleasant partner, though her manners were very different from the fashionable ladies of the ton. Given how his own fashionable ex-wife had behaved in the end, he could not fault Miss Sutton, for she seemed a good sort of girl. She was eager to please and be pleased, full of nothing but the highest praise for everyone she had met and everything she had seen and done since she had come to Town.
Having been recently married to a woman who was never quite satisfied, despite having so very much, Miss Harriet’s unabashed positivity was a breath of fresh air; he was sorry when their dance came to an end. Before he could do so, Miss Sutton cheerfully recommended him to one of her new friends, Miss Mary Bennet.
“Miss Sutton was singing your praises, Miss Bennet,” said he as they took to the floor. “Your family must be quite delighted to have her now amongst you.” Miss Bennet agreed that it was so, but did not elaborate. He tried again. “She seems quite the ingenue. I understand you have not been long in London yourself. Do you find you and she have much else in common?”
The girl seemed uncertain of how to reply. “I am still getting to know her better,” she said cautiously. “At present I would not dare to speculate, or gossip about her in any way.”
Though disappointed by her reticence, Rushworth was pleased at least by the morality of her impulse. “I appreciate your sentiments,” he replied, “though I believe we must have some conversation.”
“Do you talk by rule then, while you are dancing?”
“Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together, particularly when one might become better acquainted with someone new.”
Miss Bennet appeared to consider his words. “Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine you are gratifying mine?”
“Both, I would hope,” he replied.
Miss Bennet offered him a smile. “I apologize if I have seemed discouraging. In my admittedly limited experience, I have always been content to let my dancing partner say whatever he liked, and have little experience with leading the conversation myself. Were it left up to me, I am sure I should talk of books, and you should find me exceedingly dull.”
“And you, in turn, should find me exceedingly disappointing,” Rushworth said, attempting to put her more at ease by admitting to a fault as she had done. “Unless, of course, your taste in reading material tends to a more botanical direction.”
“It does not, though it does not follow that I should not find such subjects uninteresting. Are you a naturalist, sir?”
He regretted mentioning it, though it would not do for him to fall silent now. “Last year, I took an interest in improving the gardens and grounds at my estate, and did a little research in anticipation of the project.”
“And what was your success?”
“The project was unfortunately suspended, but I do hope to finish the improvements at Sotherton someday.”
“I can see how it might be quite interesting, though it is not what I would have guessed of you. You seem quite suited to London, though it seems your interest lies in the country.”
“I am less often in Town than at home, yes,” he replied. “Though it is gratifying indeed to hear that I do not appear as a fish out of water tonight.”
“I am certain I must,” Miss Bennet said ruefully. “I have spent most of my life in the country – all of it, actually, until last September, when we came to London after my sister Lizzy married Mr. Darcy. Then we were in the country again, at Pemberley in Derbyshire.”
“I hear it is one of the most spectacular estates in the north.”
Here Miss Bennet grinned at him. “Do not say so, Mr. Rushworth – in Mr. Darcy’s hearing, it must be the finest estate in the whole of England!”
Miss Bennet, in time, became more conversant. Though she enjoyed practicing music, she described herself as more of a hopeful student than a polished performer. “I do take pleasure in the fact that I have been told I have shown a tremendous improvement, these last several months. Though my friend Lady Rebecca tells me I shall never sing truly well, my performance at the pianoforte is much improved, and she is even teaching me the harp.”
“I wonder at your having time to be an avid reader,” he replied.
“I daresay I shall always have time for that. Only Lady Rebecca says I must give up Mr. Fordyce, who was always a favorite of mine. I am learning to appreciate poetry more, as Lady Rebecca says it will improve my ear for music. I have become her protégé, you see, as she is Mr. Darcy’s cousin and my sister Lizzy’s dearest friend. I have also developed, I must admit, something of a taste for novels, much to Miss Sutton’s delight. She was eager to recommend The Romance of the Forest when first we met, and I suppose I shall have to read it, for she declares she shall not be satisfied until she has somebody to discuss it with.”
He conjured up a most pleasant image in his mind, of the two young ladies huddled together, whispering between themselves. Miss Bennet was certainly not as lovely as Miss Sutton, nor so well dowered, but her modesty and intelligence were highly in her favor. By the time their dance had ended, Rushworth found himself obliged to remember that he was not, at present, in want of a wife.
Thanks for joining me on this stop of my blog tour! See the full schedule for the blog tour below, and click here to follow me on Facebook for updates on the final installment of the Friends & Relations Series, coming soon!
Thank you to Jayne Bamber for being my guest today and entertaining us with eye candy and the fun post about the ten things to expect involving the gentleman from Unexpected. I enjoyed reading along and I hope everyone else did too. What did you think of all those pictures? Neat, huh!
Don't forget the Ms. Bamber is giving away one eBook of Unexpected Friends & Relations. You will need to use the Rafflecopter to enter. Good luck to everyone.