I’m back. I just returned from my vacation in [insert the name of a warm and tranquil place with sexy cabana boys and drinks with little pink umbrellas].
Not really. I’ve spent the entire summer and early fall – from late April until the end of October – plotting, writing, and revising three books for a new series to be published by UK Carina/Harper Collins in January 2016.
The series as yet has no name. No covers (I do have a blurb, below!). But I’m more excited about these three new books than any of the others I’ve written. Why?
Because these books, dear reader, are more Austen-centric than any of my previous ones. I’ve taken three of Jane Austen’s beloved novels – Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility – and reimagined each one in the present day. And I had a really good time doing it. (Maybe not as much fun as I might with a sexy cabana boy and an umbrella drink, but you find your fun where you can.)
The first book in the series, What Would Lizzy Bennet Do?, finds our heroine and her sisters living on the southern coast of England in the quiet village of Litchfield. Mr Bennet, the former vicar, is retired, and widowed as well. He finds himself at home with a great deal of time – and three marriageable daughters – on his hands.
Lizzy, who’s long fancied herself in love with Hugh Darcy, the eldest son of their wealthy neighbours, is filled with cautious hope when Darcy returns from London. When he visits Litchfield Manor to see Lizzy soon after his arrival, she’s giddy with excitement. Does he share her feelings? Could Hugh Darcy possibly…finally – mean to ask her to marry him?
But alas, the road to true love and happiness is paved with potholes. And a major impediment is Darcy’s new fiancee…
Second in the series is The Trouble With Emma. Mr Bennet’s eldest daughter Emma keeps Litchfield Manor, and her father’s life, ticking along smoothly. When the Bennet house is chosen to be featured on a home improvement programme, “Mind Your Manors,” Emma is thrilled.
At last, the former vicarage will get a badly needed do-over. When handsome bachelor Mr Churchill arrives from London and purchases a neighbouring estate, Crossley Hall, Emma proceeds to orchestrate a match between the imminently eligible Mr Churchill and the Bennets’ part-time housecleaning girl, Martine.
Mark Knightley, the programme’s head script writer, does not approve of Emma’s interference in the young woman’s love life and warns her to leave off.
But Emma Bennet never was one to listen, not even to good advice…
Third and final in the series is Who Needs Mr Willoughby. The Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, and their mother find themselves in straightened financial circumstances and must leave their home in Litchfield for a new life in Northumberland. Soon after arriving, Marianne lands a job with Matthew Brandon, the handsome but surly local vet.
When an accident brings the dashing Mr Willoughby to her rescue during a thunderstorm, Marianne is well and truly smitten. He’s everything she’s ever dreamt of – attentive, passionate, and heart-stoppingly handsome. But is he, like a dream, too good to be true?
Elinor is attracted to Edward Ferrars, their sister-in-law Fanny’s brother. He’s all that is pleasing; but, like Elinor, has difficulty expressing his feelings. When she learns a shocking secret, her love for Edward is sorely tested. A future between the two of them now seems all but impossible…
What Would Lizzy Bennet Do? is available for preorder here:
When your name is Lizzy Bennet, and the object of your affections just happens to have the surname Darcy, it seems fitting that life should imitate art, and you should end up together – right?
So when a film crew arrive to shoot ‘Pride and Prejudice’ at the Darcy estate next door to the Bennet home, and Hugh Darcy arrives home after 8 years away, Lizzy knows that their time has finally come. Until, that is, he introduces her to Holly – his fiancée…
What is Lizzy to do? It can’t hurt that Holly knows nothing about country life, and that her ex-boyfriend and film star Ciaran Duncan just happens to be the main star of the new movie. And it’s clear that Lady Darcy does not approve of Holly either. Lizzy knows Holly isn’t right for Hugh, but can she make him see that and get her Austen ending after all?