01 May, 2019

Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell Book Tour, Extract and Giveaway!

Book Synopsis:

The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax,
recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s
old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The
velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must
earn her own independence one day.

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and
taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one
day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it.

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and
Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their
meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

Read an Extract

We know from Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ that Miss Woodhouse and Miss Fairfax had known each other from being infants and had been expected to be very great friends. That they had never achieved the level of intimacy which might have been beneficial to both is manifest in Miss Austen’s novel, and I set out, in mine, to explore the obstacles which divided them.
Here, Jane and Emma are aged about eight, and we find them in conversation in the Hartfield nursery.
‘And so, Jane,’ said Emma Woodhouse, ‘you will come no more to Hartfield to play with my dolls. You are going to the Campbells’ to stay always, and will not come back to Highbury. I suppose Rowena Campbell has not so many toys and books as me? Nor half so many dolls?’
Jane Fairfax looked up from where she sat on the nursery floor. Emma occupied the only chair in the room and looked down from it at her little visitor with some considerable air of superiority.  It was always so when Jane was sent to play at Hartfield. Although the girls were of an age – almost nine – Jane was always made to feel younger, inferior and certainly poorer. She was poorer – there was no denying it – thirty thousand pounds poorer than Miss Woodhouse. But she was not younger and decidedly she was not inferior by any meaningful measure, being brighter, more accomplished and arguably prettier than Miss Woodhouse of Hartfield. Jane did not reply at once, unsure as to which of Emma’s inaccurate statements she ought to contradict. Or whether she ought to contradict any – Miss Emma Woodhouse disliked being told she was wrong.
At last she said, ‘Miss Rowena has some very nice dolls, but you are right, they are not so numerous as yours. Of books she has a great many, and,’ because she felt she ought to defend her little friend Rowena, and Miss Woodhouse should not be allowed to have things all her own way, ‘most of hers she has read.’
‘I thought not,’ Emma said, disregarding Jane’s second comment, ‘not so numerous as mine, and not so nice, I expect. But still,’ she smiled very sweetly, ‘more than you have at home, and so I suppose you will be pleased to go, and leave your grandmamma and aunt?’
Jane considered. ‘I am not unhappy to go to the Campbells. I have been going there since I was five or six, and feel very at home at their house. They treat me very kindly. But as for being happy to leave Grandmamma and Aunt Hetty, no, of course, I shall miss them very much.’
‘Naturally the Campbells treat you kindly,’ Emma replied. ‘Papa says a young lady in your situation should always be treated kindly. The Bible says we must be kind to orphans. I suppose you will stay in the attic and wear all Miss Campbell’s hand-me-down clothes and be required to clean the fire-grates and do all their mending.’
That does not sound very kind,’ Jane said. ‘It sounds more like Cendrillon to me. Rowena is not an ugly step-sister!’
Miss Woodhouse settled an unruly flounce on her dress. ‘Perhaps she is not absolutely ugly, but she is not pretty. I have heard that her nose is decidedly snub and her hair is only a very dowdy brown. My nose is aquiline – Miss Taylor says that artists throughout the ages have idealised the aquiline nose in their paintings. But if I had a snub nose and a plain face I would not like someone with nicer features coming to live with me, and yours are quite nice, Jane. If I were Rowena Campbell I might well shut you up in the attic.’
Jane could easily believe it.

About the Author:

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a
pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College,
London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique
holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to
lifelong learners. Most recently she has been working on her Highbury trilogy, books inspired by
Jane Austen’s Emma.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and
lives in Cumbria, NW England.

You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com or find her on Facebook.

Enter Giveaway! 
The giveaway is for 1 copy of Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell.

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