Please help me in welcoming author Jane Odiwe to the blog as she discusses and shares an excerpt of her newest book, Project Darcy. As a special thank you to her readers, she’s offering up a paperback copy of the book in an international giveaway! Details will be at the end of the post. Welcome, Jane!
Thank you so much, Kim, for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my new timeslip book, Project Darcy.
I’ve loved doing the research for the book – settings include scenes in Hampshire, in and around Steventon Rectory where Jane Austen lived as a young girl, and at some of the big houses in the area that Jane Austen knew, like Deane House, and Manydown Park, as well as in Bath and Devon. Then there is the timeslip element – in the present, five friends volunteer for an archaeological dig taking place on the site of the old rectory – like the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice, the five girls share similar initials and characteristics – their names are Ellie, Jess, Martha, Cara and Liberty. In the past, Ellie sees life through Jane’s eyes at Steventon with the Austen family and their neighbours during the Christmas period of 1795/96, and, in particular, she lives out Jane’s reactions and experiences with a young Irishman, Tom Lefroy, falling in love like she’s never done before.
Weaving two stories is always great fun, and I had a lovely time travelling from the present to the past with Ellie who experiences increasingly strange phenomena – she’s always had a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past, and finds herself being transported to another time – living life as Jane Austen lived it in 1795/96.
It’s the start of summer when the girls arrive in Steventon and they’re all enjoying the warm weather at Ashe Rectory where they are staying. In this excerpt, Ellie and the girls have just been to a welcome party for the archaeological dig, and they’ve all had a lovely time, meeting lots of new friends …
It was dark by the time the taxi turned in at Ashe Rectory. The chatter all the way home had been about the day’s events and the day to come. Liberty was delighted with the way that Greg had responded, and Jess was already privately thinking that Charlie seemed like a young man she’d like to know better. Cara had been in awe of the whole proceedings and had watched Liberty in action with admiration. Martha was disappointed that she hadn’t got to speak to Will MacGourtey but knew that the chances to do so would be increased on the following day. Ellie, quite simply, felt exhausted. She was pleased that Jess had found someone who seemed as sweet as she, but she’d been a bit disturbed by the fact that the person who seemed to be his closest friend was clearly idiotic, and that was putting it politely.
She looked out of the window watching the car headlamps lighting up the narrow lanes. Cow parsley, frothing white in the hedgerows, loomed and tapped on the car windows, and the branches of summer trees arched over them like fan vaulting in a cathedral. Summer in all her lush greenery flashed past in a blink of the eye. Ellie felt her eyes closing, the rhythm of the car lulling her to sleep, and it was only when she felt the car stop that Ellie looked out once more. She shivered in her thin top. And it wasn’t only her tiredness and the lack of sunshine that made her feel quite so cold. The scene she saw outside could not be explained. There was a picture from a Christmas card in front of her – snow covered the ground, lit up from the moon above and from the candlelight in the windows, which threw bars of gold against the blue snow shadowed by tall trees. Powdering every surface, snow crystals were piled in pillows up to the steps and weighed down lacy boughs on trees, bending them to the smooth white blankets on the ground. The house was alight, the gardens and surrounding fields, dark, icy and mysterious. Feathery showers whirled to the earth, and as Ellie peered through the swirling snow she glimpsed moving figures at the windows. Like enchanted shadows at first, the spectres became alive, vital with life, real. It looked like a party, the rooms were full, and the strains of music, a piano and a harp, could be heard.
I’ve had a wonderful time writing this book, and imagining all the scenes – I’d love to know – which is your favourite season – are you a summer or a winter person?
It is high summer when Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home. She’s always had a talent for ‘seeing’ into the past and is not easily disturbed by her encounters with Mr Darcy’s ghost at the house where she’s staying.
When Ellie travels into the past she discovers exactly what happened whilst Jane danced her way through the snowy winter of 1796 with her dashing Irish friend. As Steventon Rectory and all its characters come to life, Ellie discovers the true love story lost in Pride and Prejudice – a tale which has its own consequences for her future destiny, changing her life beyond imagination.
Jane Odiwe is the author of five Austen-inspired novels, Project Darcy, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Mr Darcy’s Secret, Willoughby’s Return, and Lydia Bennet’s Story, and is a contributor to Laurel Ann Nattress’s anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, with a short story, Waiting. You can connect with her through any of the links below!
Austen Effusions – Jane Austen Sequels – Twitter – Facebook – Pinterest
Giveaway – Special thanks to Jane Odiwe for our giveaway copy!
One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of Project Darcy by Jane Odiwe! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below. Comments will be accepted through midnight on Saturday, December 7, 2013. Winner will be picked at random and announced on Sunday, December 8, 2013. Open to all. Good luck!