Hello readers! I’m real excited to welcoming back author J. L. Ashton to Austenesque Reviews today! Jan is here celebrating her second novel release –Mendacity and Mourning!! Woot woot! Unlike A Searing Acquaintance, which takes place in modern-day, Mendacity and Mourning, takes readers back to the Regency Era for what sounds like a hilarious and fun ride! We hope you enjoy this special vignette Jan created for this tour!
Thanks so much for hosting me and Mendacity & Mourning here at Austenesque Reviews, Meredith! I so appreciate the opportunity to share little bit more of the quirky universe of characters in the book, so here is an outtake with two of my favorite Bennets.
Lydia And Kitty, The Knowledgeable Twosome
“Weddings breakfasts are my very favourite gathering,” exclaimed Kitty. Her eyes swept around the room, taking in the merry assemblage of family and neighbours and the long tables covered with a feast of Cook’s best dishes. “All is so cheery and gay.”
Her attention was drawn in particular by one lady, fashionably dressed and standing stiffly among a group of Lucases and Gouldings. “Miss Bingley is not pleased by the day’s happy events,” she sighed. “She must pine for her own happily ever after.”
“Or at least a man who does not view her with disdain,” Lydia replied. “She is near five and twenty and has not had a serious suitor.”
A shocked gasp escaped Kitty. “That cannot be true. She is a handsome lady and her clothes are so pretty.”
Lydia turned and stared at her slightly older and, in her opinion, slightly dimmer, sister. “Oh Kitty. Do you clean your ears? If you would but stand outside the door of Jane’s and Lizzy’s rooms, you would learn so much.” She glanced about the room, and smirking, leaned closer to Kitty. “I know how all of it works,” she said quietly.
“What works?” Kitty’s expression reflected her confusion.
“Love. Kissing….there are tricks to it.”
“Tricks to love?!”
Lydia’s outburst drew the attention of Mr. Collins, whose recent marriage had softened his demeanour, as well as his hair, which had appeared cleaner and better arranged on his head than in earlier months. He nodded slowly in the sisters’ direction before moving through the room in search of his wife.
“You must tell me what you have learnt,” Kitty whispered before shaking her head resolutely. “Or…No! It was wrong to eavesdrop on our sisters’ private conversations.”
“As you wish,” Lydia sniffed. “I will safeguard my knowledge of lips and tongues.”
Kitty looked to the floor, where a few biscuit crumbs lay awaiting the broom. She made a noise that sounded like a whimper. “Well, I suppose it would not hurt to share what you have learnt…it may be useful to have such foreknowledge.”
Lydia leaned over and whispered in her ear. When she pulled away a few moments later, giggling, Kitty was pale with shock.
“There is pinching as well?”
A solemn, knowing nod affirmed Kitty’s worst fears of the marital state. The pleasure of cakes and white soup and boisterous joy surrounding her dimmed a bit as she gazed around at the married couples and suffered visions of their private lives. “Oh, even Mama and Papa,” she said quietly in a strangled voice.
A moment later she felt herself being watched and looked up to see Samuel Lucas grinning at her. She coloured and managed to return a shy smile.
“Look,” cried Lydia, pointing to the burly man in the red coat. “That must be Mr. Darcy’s cousin, the colonel.”
The sisters examined the broad-shouldered, big-chested man who stood next to a rather perplexed-looking Mr. Phillips.
“His moustache is rather imposing,” Kitty murmured. “It has frightened Sir William.”
“Many things alarm him.” Lydia considered the tableau before her. “The colonel’s moustache is fuller with hair than the heads of most men in Meryton.”
“Yes, yet he might be more handsome without it.”
Lydia squinted. She tilted her head and nodded slowly. “No, he may be dashing but he is not comely. His face is rather rough and ruddy.”
“Lydia, be kind!” Kitty shook her head is dismay.
“Although his red coat and his moustache conceal all ill looks,” Lydia added quickly.
“Miss Bingley thinks him a heathen, with his jokes and jibes and winking.” Kitty considered him once again, watching as he sipped from his goblet and then stared, bemused, at the wine contained within it.
“He has been served Mr. Collins’s elderberry wine,” she said, her nose wrinkled.
“Poor man,” Lydia tutted. “Shall we go to his aid and pour him something less sour?”
The object of their conjectures took little notice of his admirers’ intentions or the intensity of their gaze until Mr. Bennet appeared at his side.
“Fifteen and seventeen years,” the older man said in a low voice. “Full of life and cheer and devoid of sense and dowries.”
The colonel cleared his throat upon realizing he had been under close scrutiny from all quarters. “Indeed,” he muttered. “The marital realm is not for me, Bennet. I prefer running my horse to running a household.”
Mr. Bennet nodded, setting his expression in such a way that his youngest daughters fled to their mother’s side.
“Women and horses are trouble for a man such as myself.” The colonel eyed the wine in his goblet before setting the half-full cup on the table. “I believe I must see to my horse. There had been a problem with his leg,”
Only Kitty, peering through the curtain, noticed the man’s hurried journey to the closest hollow tree. When she turned her attention back to the room, she found Mr. Darcy staring at her, a finger to his lips.
She had heard of the tricks those lips could play. She sank into a chair and spent the next quarter hour listening to Maria speak of ribbons and feathers.
Weddings were confusing.
Ooh! I am definitely intrigued about what happens in this tale…it looks like Lydia is still home – I wonder what became of Mr. Wickham? And whose wedding is everyone preparing for? Thanks so much for sharing this lovely vignette, Jan!! It makes me even more excited to read Mendacity and Mourning (Love the title by the way!!! Big fan of alliteration!)
Connect with Jan
Meryton Press is generously giving away 8 ebook of Mendacity and Mourning in conjunction with this blog tour!! Woot woot! Commenting and entering through the rafflecopter widget on this blog enters you in a chance to win.
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Meryton Press!
- This giveaway ends July 4th!
Thank you to J. L. Ashton, Janet Taylor, and the lovely people at Meryton Press for making this blog tour possible! Click the image below to check out the rest of the tour!