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I’m delighted to welcome Bronwen Chisholm back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her new novel, Missing Jane. I’m really looking forward to this Pride and Prejudice variation, and when you read the blurb and excerpt, you’ll know why. Please give Bronwen a warm welcome!

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Hello, Readers! Anna, thank you for having me back. I am so pleased to share my latest release with you and your readers. Many of you might remember when I was here last summer with my last release which was on the controversial/heavy side. I promise, this is a low angst, sweet clean novella.

A few years ago, I began writing this story which takes place near the Welsh border. The only problem was my characters sounded more Scottish. When the opportunity came to travel to the United Kingdom, I quickly added Wales to the agenda to get a better feel for the accent. I was truly blessed that the manager at the manor house where we stayed (Mellington Hall outside Monmouth, Wales) reluctantly agreed to read my dialogue while I recorded her. So, without further ado, here is the blurb and an excerpt.

Mr. Bennet is dead; his daughters “scattered to the winds,” according to Mrs. Bennet.

And the eldest Miss Bennet? No one really knows.

Poor Mr. Bingley is led to believe she is no more, but her sister swears she is alive.

Can Mr. Darcy and his friend find her and, in turn, their own happily ever afters?

Fitzwilliam Darcy stood in the familiar study, staring into the empty fire grate as he debated his reasons for being there. A glance out the window revealed blooms in the garden below. It was past the middle of June. He had missed most of spring after locking himself away. With a shake of his head, he turned away, thinking he might just leave his card and slip out before his friend appeared. As he approached it, the door opened and Charles Bingley entered smiling, though he lacked the vibrancy he once had.

“Darcy, this is a surprise. I understood you were not visiting.” Bingley clapped him on the arm as they shook hands.

“No, I was not for a time. This is my first step back into society.”

“Well, I am glad to see you.”

Darcy took a deep, hesitant breath and expelled it slowly. “We shall see about that.”

Bingley looked at him oddly before crossing to the sideboard. “A drink?”

“No.” Darcy was unable to hide his wince at the offer of spirits. “Perhaps some tea or coffee?”

This time his friend’s head tipped to the side and his eyes narrowed. “Very well,” he replied as he made his way to the bell-pull. Their refreshments were requested, and the gentlemen took their seats.

While they waited, Darcy enquired into Bingley’s movements since they last met, and Bingley revealed the social events his sisters had required he attend. Once the tea arrived and was served, Darcy realized his time had come as the door closed behind the departing servant.

“I have done you a great wrong, Bingley. I am here to confess it and hopefully make amends.”

His friend settled his elbows on the arms of his chair and steepled his fingers together, his lips quivering in amusement. “I am intrigued, Darcy. Do you mean to say you were wrong regarding something?”

Darcy did not respond. Instead, he stared into his cup, focusing on the swirl of tea residue in the bottom. “While visiting my aunt in Kent, I came across Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who was visiting her friend, the former Miss Lucas.”

Bingley sat quietly. Darcy dared not look at the man lest his courage fail him.

“An occasion arose where we were in discussion and your name was mentioned, as well as her sister’s.” He cleared his throat and finally tore his gaze from the cup. “It appears Miss Bennet may have held you in some affection.”

His friend’s face was unreadable and he remained silent, so Darcy continued.

“I believe, should you wish it, you could return to Netherfield Park and would be welcomed back to Longbourn.” Darcy sipped his tea and waited.

Bingley rose and crossed to the sideboard. After standing for a moment with his fingers spread on the edge, he poured himself a drink, finished it, and refilled it. This time, he took only a sip and returned to his seat.

“I beg your pardon, but how was it that you and Miss Elizabeth found yourselves discussing Miss Bennet and myself?”

Darcy fought the urge to pace the room, sitting back in his seat instead. He gazed into his cup once more. “Miss Elizabeth asked after you and your sisters. She mentioned . . . her sister had been in London this past winter and she asked if I had seen her.”

“Miss Bennet was in London?” Bingley interrupted. “When? Did you know?”

A quick breath and swallow preceded a single nod. “Your sister told me. We thought it best that you not see her.”

“You thought it best?” A harsh laugh escaped Bingley’s lips. “Did you believe I would embarrass myself? Or perhaps I was not strong enough to overcome my emotions.”

Darcy found it even more difficult to meet his friend’s gaze. He cleared his throat. “I had noted the changes which had come over you and feared seeing her would cause you more pain.” He cleared his throat again. “Miss Elizabeth had noted similar changes in her sister,” he said in a near whisper.

“The sharing of such confidences would speak to a more profound relationship between yourself and Miss Elizabeth.”

Before his hand could shake and reveal his discomfort, Darcy set his teacup on the table. “It may seem as such, but our discussion took place during a moment of . . . disagreement.”

The first genuine smile lifted his friend’s countenance. “I can well imagine it. Miss Elizabeth was never prone to bowing to your assertions as much of society does. I believe she disliked you from the moment you made that horrid comment at the assembly the night we met.”

Warmth crept over Darcy’s cheeks. “Yes, well, as I stated, I believe you will be welcomed in Hertfordshire.” He stood and gathered his things.

Bingley remained seated, now suddenly interested in his glass. “Will you join me?”

“At Netherfield?”

“Of course. Where else?”

The temptation was great, but Darcy shook his head. “I believe it best if you take this step alone.” He stared at his friend until Bingley met his gaze. “You have allowed your sisters and me to have too much influence in your life. My last bit of advice is to return to your home alone and build your future.”

Bingley held his gaze a moment longer before nodding. A new determination seemed to enter his gaze, and he stood to show his friend out.

It has been such a pleasure to write this book. It is a novella and, as you could probably guess, it picks up after Darcy’s failed proposal at Hunsford. We have a few new characters, a different locale, and just a touch of angst, nothing too terrible. The Kindle version of Missing Jane is available for pre-order HERE and will be released on July 10th. I hope you will pick it up and love it as much as I do.

Thanks for having me again, Anna! I look forward to coming back in the future. And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Anna will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Missing Jane. Good luck! I can’t wait to read your comments.

The giveaway will be open through Wednesday, July 15, 2020. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post.

Bronwen Chisholm

Bronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.

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Thanks, Bronwen, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new release!

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Hello, dear readers! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Bronwen Chisholm to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time, to celebrate the release of her new Pride and Prejudice variation, Mrs. Collins’ Lover. I hope you are as intrigued by this excerpt as I am! Please give her a warm welcome:

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Hello Readers! Thank you, Anna, for hosting me today. I am beyond tickled to spend time getting to know you. My favorite part of the JAFF world is the wonderful people you get to meet.

As many of you know, I am releasing my sixth Pride and Prejudice variation … TODAY!! Mrs. Collins’ Lover has been a work of the heart, which means it took much longer than normal. So, without further ado, I will share the blurb and … not quite an excerpt. This is actually a scene which is in the book, but told from a different perspective. Originally, it was included, but had to go during editing.

Elizabeth Bennet was raised with a strong belief and faith in God’s plan for her life. She knew He had a plan, even if the details were hidden from her. But, when placed in an untenable situation, she turned instead to the arms of a man to find brief moments of joy. Finally, when able to realize the happiness which was always intended for her, the weight of her guilt over her past sins convinces her of her unworthiness. Only through reconciliation with the Lover of her soul can she truly fulfill the life He planned for her. But first, she must forgive herself in order to find redemption.

Remember: In order to be redeemed, there must be sin. This story is intended for mature audiences.

Trigger Warning: There are incidents of abuse in this story.

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Mary Bennet drew her shawl tighter about her as she looked across Longbourn’s fields. There was no sight of her sister and she feared she knew where Lizzy had gone. Releasing a heavy sigh, she began walking toward Oakham Mount, dragging her feet as her mind wandered over what she had observed for the past few days.

With so many visitors to Longbourn due to Jane’s wedding, Mrs. Bennet had decided Lizzy and her husband would have to share a room. No one anticipated the man’s displeasure over the situation. Uncle and Aunt Gardiner always shared a room, even if it was not necessary. Elizabeth had attempted to smooth his ruffled feathers by suggesting she share a room with Jane, but the man demanded she share with Mary instead.

Though surprised by this, Mary had quickly agreed as she missed her older sister dearly. It was not until Lizzy had left in January that Mary realized how much she had done at Longbourn and how they all depended upon her. It was Lizzy who visited the tenants weekly and Lizzy who calmed tempers. Jane might be better at nursing injured feelings, but Lizzy provided the incentive to bring the parties together once more and promote healing. For weeks after her departure to Hunsford, the entire household felt as though it stood on its head.

The previous evening, after the last guest had finally left and everyone began to retire, Mary suggested Elizabeth move into Jane’s room. Her sister had demurred, saying she would be there for only two more nights and she had no desire to move everything now unless it was Mary’s preference. Having no objection, the sisters readied for bed and the candles were extinguished soon after.

Mary lay in silence staring into the night and waiting. About half an hour later, she heard the first soft sniffling. It had been the same every night. When Elizabeth thought Mary was asleep, she would release her tears. Mary had watched her sister during the day, and noticed Jane doing the same. The remainder of their family seemed to avoid the practice as though they did not want to know. Elizabeth was thinner and her eyes had a haunted look. Only when the Netherfield party joined them did she show any signs of her prior self, but even then she was extremely guarded and spoke little.

This morning, Elizabeth had slipped from their room very early. Mary knew her sister’s love of long walks and decided not to say anything, but when Lizzy had not returned in half an hour, she decided she would go out to meet her, hoping to be a buffer should Mr. Collins be displeased as he always seemed to be.

She had not meant to walk the entire way to Oakham Mount. Indeed, she was not normally fond of walking. However, the morning was lovely, and something seemed to spur her forward. She was about to enter the clearing at the top of the mount when she heard the voices. Mary stopped, uncertain what to do, until she realized she could hear what was being said.

“Has he hit you again?”

Mary gasped as Elizabeth responded in the negative. Mr. Collins struck Lizzy? She shook her head as her anger grew toward the man her sister had been forced to marry, before she listened again. She knew it was wrong, but Lizzy would never confess any of this to her otherwise. Their words became muffled and she moved that she might be better able to hear or possibly see them. It was then she realized they shared an intimate embrace.

A hand flew to her mouth as she stared disbelievingly. Elizabeth would never act the harlot. And with Mr. Darcy no less? She turned away, careful not to make a sound, though she doubted they would notice. She knew she should leave; it would be mortifying if they found her there, but she was torn between what she knew of her sister and Lizzy’s actions. After an internal struggle, she finally crept slowly back up the path and hid once more.

“I will not abandon you … rightful Mrs. Darcy … Elizabeth, you were meant to be mine.” Mr. Darcy’s words were muffled by the wind or his attentions to her sister.

“… he never dies? … lost my soul truly is …”

Hearing her sister’s words, realizing Elizabeth knew how wrong her actions were; Mary suddenly felt the impropriety of her own and left as quietly as she could. Once she was far enough from them, she walked quickly to put more distance between her and the couple. She had no desire to see their loving embraces. There was a time she would have taken her sister to task for her actions, but now her heart simply broke for Elizabeth. Married to such a man as Mr. Collins and loved by Mr. Darcy … Mary shook her head. Once she was far enough past the split in the road, she took a seat upon a stile and waited. Her heart was torn and, for the first time in her life, she questioned her convictions.

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Poor Mary. Known by most JAFF readers as the righteous sister – to be confronted with her sister’s downfall. I think you will be proud of how she handles the situation.

And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog (with your email address) and Anna will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Mrs. Collins’ Lover. The giveaway will be open through Sunday, August 18, 2019. Good luck! And I hope you enjoyed our visit as much as I did. I can’t wait to read your comments.

Bronwen Chisholm

Bronwen Chisholm began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.

Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.

For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.

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Follow the Blog Tour

7/31 Austen Authors

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