I am beyond thrilled to have with me this Friday an old, old, old, old... (did I say old?) friend. Suzan and I go WAY back. Most of our joint memories revolve around high school, but we both attended the same church in our small town so I have an inkling we knew each other as wee little girls in Sunday School. Suzan was a year older than me, and when you're at an age where you insist on everyone knowing you are eight and a HALF, one year is a big difference. However, by the time I was in Grade Nine and she in Grade Ten, a solid friendship had begun.
Through the magic of Facebook, (which can be used for good), we re-connected. In fact, it was Suzan who introduced me to #JAFF. I had read some fan fiction years before, (Pamela Aiden's Fitzwilliam Darcy - Gentleman trilogy), but never knew there was a whole genre revolving specifically around Jane Austen's characters. I felt like I'd come home when I began to peek around A Happy Assembly.
Today, Suzan is sharing from her latest novel, The Mist of Her Memory
Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet is recovering from an incident that stole her memories. She still suffers strange, angry voices in her head and recalls events people tell her never happened—even those who love her don’t believe her. Elizabeth can barely stand it!
Mr. Darcy’s longs for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he so desperately seeks because he has been forbidden contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he is told of the taunting and torment she endured in Meryton because of her mental impairment.
Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? What became of Mr. Wickham and Lydia’s elopement? How is Mr. Darcy to restore his romance with Elizabeth when she is so closely shielded by her aunt and uncle? What happened that fateful morning in Lambton? Who attacked her so brutally to have caused grievous, near-fatal injuries? Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!
Get ready to be on the edge of your seat for this romantic suspense and mystery novel by bestselling author Suzan Lauder, based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
It was a gloomy prospect, and all that she could do was to throw a mist over it, and hope when the mist cleared away, she should see something else.
–Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen
Early October 1812
Gracechurch Street, London
Elizabeth held her breath as she sneaked towards the servants’ entrance of her uncle’s home. She had but a moment before she would be missed, barely enough time to slip from her chamber down the servants’ stairs. Stepping gingerly to avoid the noise made by the loose board on the seventh stair, she made her way to the bottom and opened the door to the rear vestibule only a crack so no one would hear it creak.
Did she remember correctly? She had seen a cloak of sorts hanging in the back entrance as she wandered up and down stairs whilst her aunt made calls in the mornings. On those days, they did not walk in the park, and her aunt refused to allow Elizabeth to take her walks on her own. Could they not understand how valuable her exercise and time outside of the stale air of the house were to her? She would be perfectly safe—she had never fallen faint on her own.
But as much as she tried to stay out of the servants’ way on the days when she ambled about the house for exercise, her presence here had been reported at some point. Uncle Gardiner told her he preferred that she did not walk about on the back stairs lest she get in the servants’ way.
She peeked through the crack in the door. A woman’s hooded cape was suspended on the hook near the doorway, just the thing she would need when the time came to escape. The drab, homespun servant’s cape made her skin itch whenever she imagined wearing it, yet the pathetic garment was a symbol of hope—if she dared fetch it. Its distance from her situation taunted her, a reminder of how she was trapped here against her will.
A wave of nausea hit her, and her vision blackened and blurred a mite. She shut the door silently and, closing her eyes, leaned her head against the door frame until the moment passed and she was able to make her way back up to the family rooms.
“Elizabeth?” Her aunt emerged at the very moment when she was able to make it appear as though she was about to enter the family dining room.
“Forgive my tardiness, Aunt. I had a loose seam that needed mending.”
It was a lie. But her slow ability with the needle would not be questioned, and her maid had been dismissed a good quarter of an hour ago. Elizabeth pursed her lips. She was so frustrated! Not that she intended to escape right now, but the sensation of freedom had wrapped itself around her and given her hope, if only for a moment.
I followed and read this story in pre-production and enjoyed it so very much. Once again, Suzan has given us characters that leap off the page. Don't hesitate to gobble this story up when it releases. Until then,