Thursday, July 2, 2020

Victoria Kincaid...Rebellion at Longbourn

Good morning everyone. I hope you are all staying well. 

Visiting today, we have the lovely Victoria Kincaid, who is always a pleasure to host. I know you will enjoy reading what she has to tell us, as well as reading an excerpt from her release, Rebellion at Longbourn. We all enjoy those excerpts, don't we!

Welcome, Victoria. I'll turn the floor over to you. :)

*****


Hello Janet!  And thank you for welcoming me back to your blog! 

Jane Austen is rightfully celebrated for her depictions of romance, but I also appreciate her for those moments when she details the bonds between women—particularly sisters. I think the best example of this is Sense and Sensibility. 

While the novel is about Elinor and Marianne’s search for love and security—as well as Austen’s barbed social satire, it is also a touching depiction of a love between two sisters. Even though they are quite different, they obviously care deeply for each other, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Austen has them marrying men with homes that are quite near each other. She obviously liked the idea that the sisters would not be separated.

Pride and Prejudice also pays attention to the relationships between sisters, although (like Persuasion) it also emphasizes how sisterly ties can sometimes go sour.  But Jane and Elizabeth enjoy a relationship that is somewhat similar to the one in Sense and Sensibility: the two women are quite different in temperament, but they enjoy a deep and loving relationship. 

I always thought it was significant that Jane is the only person whom Elizabeth informs of Mr. Darcy’s first proposal—as well as the contents of his confidential letter.  Not only does she trust Jane to keep these secrets, but she also has confidence in Jane’s ability to give her good advice.  As in Sense and Sensibility, Austen makes a point of telling us that these two sisters end up living near each other in Derbyshire (after Bingley gives up the lease on Netherfield).  The author herself obviously doesn’t like the idea that marriage will separate the sisters.

I’ve always thought it was a shame that Elizabeth didn’t enjoy such a close relationship with her other sisters, although it wouldn’t be very realistic to have five sisters who all loved each other dearly and never quarreled.  But when I started writing Rebellion at Longbourn, I wondered how Collins’s ownership of Longbourn would affect the relationships among the sisters.

I thought shared adversity might bring them closer together. In addition, at the beginning of the book, Elizabeth concocts a scheme to make life at Longbourn more tolerable for the tenants—by improving the estate’s agricultural techniques (without Collins’s knowledge). She recruits her sisters to help, particularly Mary, who has a special interest in agriculture.  I really enjoyed writing that aspect of the book and imagining how the sisters would support each other.  I think Austen would have approved.

The excerpt below comes from an early chapter, when Elizabeth and Mary are trying to convince Collins—to no avail—to adopt new agricultural techniques so his extravagant expenditures won’t bankrupt the estate.

Since he would not decrease his spending, she had hoped at least he would embrace the idea of increasing the estate’s income.  But now Collins gave her a patently false smile.  “Your concern for Longbourn does you credit, Cousin.  However, as a woman, you naturally do not understand such things.  It is all accounted for in the ledgers.”  He gestured vaguely toward his desk, which was entirely empty.  “It has to do with credits and debits…profits and so on.”
Elizabeth suspected she understood Longbourn’s ledgers better than Collins did or he would not be purchasing gold pocket watches. 
“You, my most exquisite cousins, should concern yourself with domestic duties—where you are doing an admirable job—and allow me to worry about the finances and such.”
Perhaps the time had arrived when Elizabeth needed to remind him why additional income was desirable.  “Of course, Longbourn is your estate and you may decide what happens here, but it is clearly in need of additional funds.  The tenants’ houses—”
Collins sighed and rolled his eyes; the tenants had raised these matters before.  But Elizabeth pushed forward.  “The tenants’ houses are in need of repair.  Longbourn needs greater profit.”  Standing, Elizabeth tapped one of the books on the desk before Collins.  “I implore you, sir, to at least read the passages Mary has marked.  It is your duty to Longbourn to be the best landowner you can be!”
She knew instantly that she had pushed too far.  Collins had quite a temper, although he liked to pretend he did not—one of many lies he told himself. 
Red in the face, Collins clambered to his feet.  “You and Mary should not concern yourselves with these matters when there are many household tasks waiting to be performed.  These journals appear to be a distraction from your ordinary duties; I shall cancel the subscriptions, and you will return these books to the library.  After all, they belong to me.”
Mary’s face was a picture of anguish.  “But surely there is no harm in—”
Collins lifted his chin.  “You both live at Longbourn on my sufferance,” he intoned.  “I ask little in recompense.”  That was a lie but not one Elizabeth could dispute with any success.  “However, I do insist that you leave the running of Longbourn to me.  I know everything that happens on the estate and, therefore, am in the best position to make decisions.”
Mary blinked back tears as Collins gathered journals and books from the table and tore still more from her arms, setting them on the floor behind his desk. 
Elizabeth put her arm around her sister as she gave Collins a cold stare.  “Indeed, sir.  We will trouble you no longer.” 
Mary raised her chin as if she would object, but Elizabeth shook her head slightly.  They could accomplish nothing more at the moment.  She held herself rigid and straight as she escorted Mary from the room.
Kitty and Jane awaited them in the kitchen, the one room that Collins would never visit.  Polly was helping Hill prepare dinner; both strained to overhear the conversation. 
“What happened?” Kitty asked, running up to them as they descended the stairs.
Elizabeth shook her head.  “He would not listen to a word we said.”  Kitty’s face fell.
“Worse, he confiscated the books and said he would suspend the journal subscriptions,” Mary moaned.
“My sincerest apologies.” Elizabeth gave her sister a comforting hug.  “I did not foresee that possibility.  But I have no doubt we can sneak the books from his study when he is not at home.  He will never notice their absence.  And I believe Sir William Lucas subscribes to at least two of those journals.  He would happily lend them to you.”
Mary’s face brightened. 
“Your conversation was extremely enlightening and proper,” Elizabeth assured her sister.  “You can do nothing if Collins is a fool.”
Mary’s smile widened. 
At least I brightened someone’s day, for I have accomplished little else of worth.  Maybe Sir William would hire Mary to be his steward; at least then one of the Bennet sisters would not be dependent on Collins’s largesse.  Elizabeth smiled at her own whimsy.  If only women could be stewards, Mary would excel at it, and Elizabeth would not worry about that sister’s future.  She had hope that eventually Jane and Kitty would make respectable—if not spectacular—marriages.  But Mary had shown little interest in marriage, and Elizabeth doubted her temperament was well-suited to becoming a governess or lady’s companion.
“What will we do now, Lizzy?” Kitty’s words drew Elizabeth from her reverie.  Everyone regarded her expectantly, making Elizabeth yearn for a good response.  But she had pinned her slim hopes on persuading Collins to adopt more modern agricultural methods.  Nothing happened on an estate without the landowner’s cooperation.  They were virtually powerless.  Already the effects of Collins’s bad management were being sensed by the tenants and demonstrated by the estate’s productivity.
Her hands balled into fists as she stared at the five women in the kitchen.  Their lives—and the lives of all the other inhabitants of Longbourn—were scarcely less important than Collins’s.  And certainly far more important than Collins’s waistcoats. It was unfair that they should have so much less control over their own lives than he did. 


Summary:

 Elizabeth Bennet’s father died two years ago, and her odious cousin Mr. Collins has taken possession of the Longbourn estate. Although Collins and his wife Charlotte have allowed the Bennet sisters and their mother to continue living at Longbourn, the situation is difficult. Viewing Elizabeth and her sisters as little more than unpaid servants, Collins also mistreats the tenants, spends the estate’s money with abandon, and rejects any suggestions about improving or modernizing Longbourn. After one particularly egregious incident, Elizabeth decides she must organize a covert resistance among her sisters and the tenants, secretly using more modern agricultural methods to help the estate thrive. Her scheme is just getting underway when Mr. Darcy appears in Meryton.

Upon returning from a long international voyage, Darcy is forced to admit he cannot forget his love for Elizabeth. When he learns of the Bennet family’s plight, he hurries to Hertfordshire, hoping he can provide assistance. Sinking into poverty, Elizabeth is further out of Darcy’s reach than ever; still, he cannot help falling even more deeply in love. But what will he do when he discovers her covert rebellion against Longbourn’s rightful owner?   

Falling in love with Mr. Darcy was not part of Elizabeth’s plan, but it cannot be denied.  Darcy struggles to separate his love for her from his abhorrence for deception.  Will their feelings for each other help or hinder the Rebellion at Longbourn? 

*****

What do you think? Does this whet your appetite for more? It does mine. Have any of you read this book yet? I haven't but will be reading it soon, I hope. I always enjoy reading Victoria's books, so I know this one will be no different. 

Thank you for stopping by More Agreeably Engaged, Victoria. I appreciate you including us in your tour. Best wishes with Rebellion at Longbourn, but I am betting it is already doing really well.

Victoria is giving away one eBook, and the giveaway is worldwide. To be entered in the giveaway, have your share in the conversation in the comments below. Giveaway will end at midnight central time on the 6th of July. Good luck to all!

26 comments:

  1. This has real potential. It looks like a fascinating read.

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    1. Victoria KincaidJuly 2, 2020 at 5:12 PM

      I'm glad you're intrigued! Good luck with the giveaway.

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    2. Doesn't it though! Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Where is Charlotte in all of this? Does she have an opinion about the spending? Has she tried to talk to him about the productivity?

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    1. Oh, good questions, Ginna! Maybe you will win and your answers will be solved! :)

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  3. Poor Elizabeth and her sisters, forced to serve and obey that obnoxious dictator! I’m glad they find a way to defy him and really hope Darcy’s love for Elizabeth causes him to help rather than hinder them? This is on my list and I look forward to reading it soon!

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    1. It's on my list too, Glynis. I hope the same as you!

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  4. I am wondering why Charlotte cannot influence Collins, as I suspect there will be nothing left for any children

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    1. That sounds scary, doesn't it! Good luck.

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  5. I love the idea of a closer bond between the sisters. I really like this excerpt showing intelligent women.

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    1. A closer bond between sisters is nice. I like that too.

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  6. Hello, Janet, thanks for hosting today. Victoria, I think I like this Mary. This variation sounds really interesting. Most of the time JAFF stories have Collins throwing everyone out into the hedgerows. This will be interesting to see what happens next. Thank you and your publisher for the generous giveaway. Good luck to all in the drawing. Everyone stay safe and healthy.

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    1. My pleasure, Jeanne. Thank you for stopping by. I'm loving everyone's comments and thoughts. Good luck in the giveaway. Wishing for you to stay safe and healthy, too.

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  7. Someone once said that Jane in P&P was Austen's tribute to Cassandra, only better. Well, I like the idea of making the other sisters as important as well, and I look forward to reading how this rebellion of sorts plays out. This book is obviously not your usual JAFF twist, and there are more of these new Austenesque books coming out each day. I commend Victoria for her clever mind. Thanks for hosting, Janet.

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    1. You're welcome, Suzan. I'm glad you stopped by. Good luck.

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  8. Sounds like one I would love. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

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  9. Interesting concept and I like a bad Collins. I'm looking forward to seeing how he gets his comeuppance.

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    1. You like a bad Collins, huh! That's too funny. Sometimes he is portrayed as truly despicable, isn't he! Thanks for visiting and good luck.

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  10. Collins a fool? And then some! I am definitely looking forward to this variation!

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  11. Feel sorry for the Bennets. But I do admire the persistence.

    Thank you for the excerpt.

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  12. Just like the other comments, I wonder what Charlotte’s role is in all this... I do like this Mary as well. Congrats on the release and looking forward to reading it.

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    1. I feel the same, Dung. Yes, Mary sounds strong in character.

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  13. I like this Mary. I too wonder what Charlotte's role is. Congrats on the release.

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