First Page Friday ~ Jayne BAMBER

Welcome Jayne Bamber to First Page Friday with her debut novel: "Happier in Her Friends Than Relations". The title speaks for itself. I have to admit - full disclosure here - I read this story as Jayne posted it on A Happy Assembly and looked forward to each and every post. I had a bit of a girl crush on Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam. We all need a friend like her. I also liked how Jayne wove characters from Sense and Sensibility so seamlessly into our beloved Pride and Prejudice.

Book Blurb:

In this angsty fusion of two of Jane Austen’s most beloved novels, Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, the actions of their sisters cause challenging chain reactions for one of literature’s most celebrated couples...

Fitzwilliam Darcy is faced with a family crisis of epic proportions after the fallout of his sister Georgiana’s ill-fated elopement in Ramsgate, while his friend Charles Bingley is persuaded to abandon his scheme of renting Netherfield Park.

Elizabeth Bennet journeys to London to recover her spirits, after Jane’s unexpected marriage changes the sisters’ relationship forever, and the consolation of the Gardiners proves insufficient.

The bonds of friendship offer Elizabeth a lifeline after a series of tragic events causes her to fear for her future. The support she receives from her new neighbor Marianne Brandon, and snarky socialite Lady Rebecca Fitzwilliam prove she is truly happier in her friends than relations.

First Page:
Prologue
The several hours Elizabeth Bennet had to wait between learning of her elder sister’s engagement, and finding the opportunity to speak with her privately, felt like an eternity. The house had been in uproar since breakfast, when their odious cousin Mr. Collins, a dubiously welcome guest in their home these two weeks, had requested a private audience with Jane. While Jane had acquiesced to Mr. Collins’s request with forbearance, Elizabeth had no idea that her sister truly meant to accept him, and was shocked when Mrs. Bennet fluttered into the drawing room less than an hour later, rejoicing over their good fortune. Jane and her intended had barely made an appearance, to receive the bewildered congratulations of her younger sisters, before Jane was promptly whisked away by her mother to make the requisite calls around the neighborhood, announcing the news.
Mr. Collins was unceremoniously left behind by his future mother-in-law, and remained in the drawing room to extol, at length, on the anticipated virtues of his future life to his young cousins. Claiming the excuse of a headache, Elizabeth was the first of them to flee the uncomfortable interlude, and she remained out of doors, alone with her agitated thoughts, until her elder sister had returned.
Elizabeth entered the room she shared with Jane and found her sister seated at the vanity, staring blankly at her own reflection; the sight of it tore at Elizabeth’s heart. She sat down on the bench next to her, covering Jane’s hand with her own. “Are you well, Jane?”
Jane nodded absently, offering a thin smile. “Indeed, Lizzy, I am quite content.”
“Jane, you cannot be serious. You cannot really tie yourself to that awful man!”
Jane’s expression was one of innocent shock. “I am serious. It has been announced all over the neighborhood. And, truly, he is not so very bad, though I know you dislike him. He has made me an honorable offer.”
Elizabeth let out a derisive snort. “Honorable indeed! As if he isn’t pompous enough already, he seeks to puff himself up even more by securing a wife who is far too good for him. And Mamma is so eager to see one of us settled that she does not care if it is to a foolish toad! No, Jane, you deserve better than that.”
Jane recoiled, visibly distraught. “Lizzy, that is unkind. It was very generous of Mr. Collins to select a wife from amongst us.”
Jane might have said more, but Elizabeth cut her off. “He likely knows that no other woman would have him! At least with us, in his mind, he has some chance of success, as he seems to think us so indebted to him. But you needn’t be, Jane, for you are five times too lovely to be wasted on such a man, when you could do so much better!”
At this, Jane’s expression hardened, and she launched herself up from the bench beside Elizabeth, to pace the room. “Could I? I am two and twenty years old, I have hardly any dowry to speak of, and no other prospects. The northern gentleman who was rumored to be leasing Netherfield never came, and who knows what other opportunities may ever come our way. I cannot take any more chances, Lizzy. The truth is none of us may ever receive a better offer."
Well... dear Jane-ites. What do you think of our sweet Jane marrying the odious Mr. Collins??? I'd love to behave like Lydia and spill all the beans, but then I'd take away your delight of this book with its unexpected twists and turns. This is a sweet romance even though some of the characters are decidedly NOT sweet and behave in atrocious manners. 'Nuff said.

2 comments:

  1. Oh no! Jane can't be engaged to the slime man! Please fix this now! Great excerpt, Jane, and a nice way for me to enjoy a Friday, Sue.

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    Replies
    1. I agree. Now you have to read the book to find out what happens next.

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