Jul 212017
 

Hi readers!  I am so excited to welcome the lovely Caitlin Williams to Austenesque Reviews today!!  Caitlin’s Pride and Prejudice variations (Ardently and The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet) are amongst some of the most beloved and widely read in the genre and I am so incredibly glad she is gifting us with a third book this month!!  (Can I get a woot woot?!?)  Judging from the book blurb, it looks like this story may have a bit of tension in it between Elizabeth and Jane!  That is something we don’t see very often!  I’m so happy to be taking part in the blog tour for When We Are Married!  I hope you enjoy Caitlin’s thoughtful and moving post about Jane and Cassandra.

Thanks Meredith for inviting me onto your blog today to launch When We Are Married.

This is a book which is as much about Elizabeth and Jane and their relationship, as it is about Darcy and Elizabeth. In Pride and Prejudice, those sisters love each other dearly. but in this variation, I have examined what might happen if there was a discord between them. And tried to imagine a case where a person’s normally loving disposition is corrupted by the crushing pain of rejection.

And because of that, I wanted to write something about sisters today. In particular, Cassandra and Jane Austen. Theirs seems to have been a devoted, loving, close relationship. They were together for most of their lives, bar the odd visit elsewhere, and Cassandra was a great support and a tower of strength to Jane. Cassandra was clearly devastated upon Jane’s death.

My friend, Christina Boyd posted this quote from a letter Cassandra wrote after Jane had passed away.

And today, I made a visit to Jane Austen’s house, which gives you a wonderful idea of how these sisters lived together and the strength of their bond. It inspired the little piece below.

Thank you, Meredith, for letting me share it,

Cassandra…

I rise to find it is nearly seven o’clock. The sun is being kept at bay by the curtains, yet persists in trying to creep through a slim gap where they do not quite meet. When I pull them back, I am forced to put a hand up to shield my eyes for a moment. It seems too bright, but then it is July, so I suppose the dawn broke a good few hours ago.

I wash in warm water from a bowl on a table by the bed, and as I cleanse my skin of sleep, I examine the pattern on the china. There are swirls of blue around its edges, depicting flowers and birds, an object so familiar to me that I have failed to take proper notice of it for some time. The water must have been brought in while I slept; the maid having crept across the floorboards softly and silently while I slumbered.

How tired I always am lately, and for how many hours do I toss and turn in my bed before sleep finds me? How tangled in the covers do I get? My pillow is damp every morning. Everything itches and scratches when I first lay down at night, and I grow so uncomfortable in my own skin. My bones feel terribly heavy, as if they were fused together. Something keeps me awake, some distress, but at the moment I cannot remember what it is.

What do I have to bother me? I am always so happy, here at Chawton. I would be content to remain here forevermore, with my sister in a bed across the room from me, my mother down the hall, and our good friend Martha Lloyd up above us, secured in a neat little room on the third floor.

As I dress, needing no assistance, I look down at the gardens. Bees and butterflies are about the flowers, busy amongst the lavender—Jane will be just as busy too, I expect. Her bed is empty and does not look as if it has been slept in for a while. Though I hear no sounds from the piano and needlework is usually an evening pursuit. She is so good with needle and thread, so precise in her stitching. Indeed, the handkerchief I take with me now, as I go out of the room, bears my initials, having been sewn carefully onto the cloth by her own fair hand.

We take our exercise in the afternoons, walking in the gardens when the weather is not sogood, and across the fields at the back of the house when it is warmer and drier. She will be inside somewhere, but the house is so quiet, making me conclude Jane must be writing. I imagine her bent over her little table by the window. Dipping her pen, blotting her smudges, pausing between sentences to gaze up at the road outside. Though she looks out at Chawton, she will not see it. She will be blind to the people going to and from the smithy further up the road, and the children playing across the way will go unnoticed. She sees only her vistas, her own worlds, conjured up by her rich imagination. Oft times she will frown, when she is deep in thought, but it is always followed by a small smile, a quirk of her lips, and then she will hurry on again with her work, her pen moving quickly across the page once more.

I will look in on her, but will not speak. There will be no use talking to her now. I will get no sense from her. She will be absorbed by her characters, swept away by her story. She is often so distracted she will pour a cup of tea for herself and forget it soon after. It will sit by her elbow, growing cold. Such a waste. It is so expensive and if I were in charge of the tea cupboard, I would scold her for it, but that is her job—her responsibility, not mine. Though, oddly, I have the key for it in my pocket now and I shake my head and wonder why.

The door creaks as I push it open. It could be easily mended with some oil, a quick adjustment of the bolts and screws, but Jane, when we spoke of repairs long ago, gave me an impudent smile and insisted it remained in its noisy state. I soon realised why. It gives fair warning of visitors—of intruders into her other realms. If Mrs Potter or Miss Arnold should call unexpectedly, she can put away Mr Darcy or Captain Wentworth—tuck them away in their box and not be quizzed about them.

Though, now I think upon it, it has been a long time since she has hidden her work. She is recognised for it now, she is begun to be celebrated, her writing much lauded, as it should be. Then I remember that it is not only a long time since I have seen her hide her work, but an age since I have seen her doing any work at all. She was writing something a while back, Sandition I believe it is to be called. It will make me most glad to see her occupied with it once again.

Though as my eyes fall upon her little table in the corner, they fill with tears. She is not there. She has written her last. Her chair is empty, her pen is clean, and the lid on the pot of ink is tightly secured. The table is bare of papers, packed away months ago.

How could I have forgotten it all, her illness, our hopeless time in Winchester, with doctors and potions? Jane did not return home with us and never saw Chawton again; never laughed again at the wallpaper in the dining room which was hung upside down to disguise its missing flowers. My mind has played a cruel trick on me, taken me back to happier times for a while. I suppose it meant to be kind, to give me relief from my pain, but my grief only chokes me again, I feel it all anew. I go across to her table and stroke the surface, my fingers running across the grains in the wood, feeling every imperfection. How did she write such wonderful stories on such a small, uneven thing? And why was she not given time to write more?

The world shall miss my sister, Jane, but I shall miss her more – not just a writer, but a musician, a seamstress, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and a friend.

Oh my heart hurts just to think of the devastation Cassandra felt, these sisters truly were part of each other.  Thank you for such a lovely tribute, Caitlin! I cannot wait to see what happens between Jane and Lizzy!

~~~

 Connect with Caitlin

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~~~

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Caitlin brings 1 ebook copy of her new release, When We Are Married, for me to give away today to one lucky reader!

To enter this giveaway, leave a question, a comment, or some love for Caitlin below!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Caitlin!
  • This giveaway ends July 28th!

 

My sincere thanks to Claudine Pepe and Caitlin Williams for making this blog tour possible!

July 21 ~ Austenesque Reviews ~ Guest Post Launch & Giveaway

July 22 ~ Of Pens & Pages  ~ Book Review & Giveaway

July 23 ~ Just Jane 1813 ~ Book Review & Giveaway

July 24 ~ More Agreeably Engaged ~  Book Review & Giveaway

July 25 ~ My Vices & Weaknesses ~ Excerpt Post & Giveaway

July 26 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm ~ Book Review & Giveaway

July 27 ~ From Pemberley to Milton ~ Book Review & Giveaway

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  53 Responses to “Guest Post + Giveaway with Author Caitlin Williams!!!”

  1.  

    What a touching piece, Caitlin! I love the idea of focusing on the relationship between Lizzy and Jane, and the “what if” premise.

  2.  

    Thank you for this beautiful post. I hope your readers love this story.

    Thank you for all of your support with this blog tour Meredith!

  3.  

    Thanks so much for hosting me here, Meredith, as part of the When We Are Married blog tour.
    Ever since I went to Chawton, i can’t stop thinking of Jane and Cassandra and the they had there.

    •  

      So very happy to have you visit, Caitlin! I hope you have a smashing book tour! 😉 Can’t wait to read When We Are Married myself! Thank you for sharing such a moving post!

  4.  

    That was simply beautiful. Thank you!

  5.  

    Beautiful and poignant, as always! Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I already have my copy. I can’t wait to finally dig into what promises to be a marvelous read.

  6.  

    wonder how doesit affec their affection for each other if Elizabeth notices that Jane might be interested in Darcy,
    Looking forward to reading

  7.  

    Thank you for such an emotional tale. I imagine that is pretty accurate from all I have read of the love between the two sisters. I loved Ardently and Coming of Age and look forward to reading this new one. Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I am just finishing my current book before starting on this one. I can’t believe that Jane tries to attract Darcy! So much for sisterly devotion! Luckily I believe Darcy wears blinkers where Elizabeth is concerned.
    Lovely post Meredith and Caitlin thank you.

  8.  

    I can only begin to image the loss Cassandra felt. Thank you for the moving tribute. So….I cannot begin to imagine sweet Jane wanting to compete for Darcy’s attention. He will probably be oblivious to it as he only sees Elizabeth. Jane will have to put herself forward, as Charlotte would say, to let Darcy know how she feels. And how will Elizabeth react? This sounds like a great premise but does the HEA occur for both sisters? Thank you for the giveaway.

  9.  

    That was so poignant. Thank you for sharing this. I can imagine Cassandra felt this way. Please do not enter me as I already have the ebook.

  10.  

    You made me tear up with your musing inspired by Cassandra Austen. You might already know this but the photo you shared with the lady statue in the bluebell wood was taken in May on my visit to Chatsworth, (to me) the fabled Pemberley. Like Lizzy Bennet, I had the opportunity to tour some of the great houses of the North. Your line about her not seeing all that was happening outside her window as she “sees only her vistas, conjured up by her rich imagination” hit a note with me…and seemed quite apt married with this photo of the lone statue in the wood and line from her letter to Fanny. I like to imagine it’s Lizzy Bennet walking in the bluebells or even Jane herself wondering in her own musings. Thank you.

    I wish you much success with the latest novel. It’s beautifully written. And tugs at my heartstrings still.

  11.  

    I’ve always wanted to learn more about Jane and Cassandra so thanks for this! Just so beautiful

    •  

      Thank you, Jane and Cassandra were very close. I enjoyed my visit to Chawton and was surprised that they kept a bedroom spare for visitors, and shared a room. I also got to see examples of Jane’s needlework and was astonished at how small and neat her stitches were.

  12.  

    Love the premise of the story as I’ve always wondered how Jane didn’t fall for Mr Darcy. I hope it doesn’t ruin Jane and Elizabeth’s relationship though.

  13.  

    Oh. That brought a tear to my eye. While reading that tribute, I was thinking about how I would feel if I lost my dear sister, or my oldest best friend. I can see myself thinking, daydreaming, waking up expecting someone so close to you to be there. Experiencing the constant expectation of just being able to share something important, mad, sad or silly with one of them knowing how they would appreciate that very thing with a laugh or a grump or a sigh. Thank you so much for writing that, Caitlin Williams.

    I would dearly love to win Caitlin’s book. I love Caitlin’s writing and I recently finished The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet. And THAT book will remain with me for a very very long time, and then I shall have to reread it. Which may be soon. My oh my, that book.

    I know I’m behind on my TBR list, as I’m sure everyone else is. But I hope all your blog followers get to CoAoEB. And the best of luck to everyone for the chance to win the giveaway.

  14.  

    What a heartfelt and moving tribute! I’ve read most of it through my tears. Caitlin, you have such a way with words, and what a wonderful thought it was, to sit down and write something so beautiful!! Thank you for sharing it with us, especially at a time like this, when we remember the great lady whom Cassandra loved so much, and who has given joy to so many people, for so many years!

    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway, ‘When We Are Married’ kept me company yesterday and got me in tears, then giggling like a mad thing and laughing out loud at a certain comment about pleasing figures being not quite so pleasing when one has to carry them for x number of yards (priceless!!). The people sat across from me must have thought I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

    I can’t wait to finish it, and the only reason I haven’t devoured it in one sitting was the mad timing. Most of all I’m eager to see how a very special relationship remains special and strong despite the huge challenges ahead. Congratulations for writing yet another gem. ‘When We Are Married’ is such a delightful blend of love, hope, yearning and humour! Best wishes and lots of inspiration, I hope you’ll write many more wonderful books for us.

    Many thanks for hosting this lovely post, Meredith, and I can’t wait to read your review for ‘When We Are Married’. I’m ready to bet it’ll be a glowing one. Hugs to you and Mr B and all the best!!

  15.  

    Such a lovely remembrance, Caitlin. Has me quite misty-eyed. I lost my dear Mr. Darcy nine years ago this month, and I recall many times forgetting he was gone upon first waking. Your scene was true to life and touching. I love your work and wish you much success with the new book.

    •  

      Thanks so much, Jan. Yes, that forgetting and then remembering thing is truly dreadful. I have lost family members over the past few years, one recently, and when I was at Chawton it brought home to me how much these two women must have relied on each other and how devastated Cassandra must have been. They were very much ‘partners’ in life, much like a husband and wife.

      Thanks for coming to read Jan, big admirer of yours too.

  16.  

    Looking forward to this new book!

  17.  

    Oh my, what a truly beautiful and touching post. I lost my Boxer dog on the 7th of this month and though he wasn’t a human loved one, Riggo was my sweet man-dog. He had the joyous personality of Charles Bingley and carried a deep and abiding love in his soul. I still find myself absently reaching to pet him.

    Caitlin, you are my favorite P & P writer and I am completely blissful about your new book. I cannot wait to read it!

  18.  

    I read and loved this book also. Caitlin is so talented. I urge all to read this third book and the earlier ones if you have not. I am going to be rereading those soon.

  19.  

    The words from Cassandra and so many quotes on Tuesday do add to the thoughts of how deeply Jane touched those around her, her best friend, her sister, Cassandra. We are so fortunate to have all the books, finished or not, to read over and over again. This post’s words from Cassandra are very touching. Thank you for sharing your inspiration, Caitlin.

  20.  

    Such a lovely tribute to Jane, Caitlin. Very moving and poignant. I also want to say how much I absolutely adored ‘When We Are Married’. You have given Jane Bennet a ‘voice’ and I would love to see more on that…hint, hint, nudge, nudge…

  21.  

    Caitlin,

    What a beautifully crafted piece of writing,summing up the initial ‘forgetfulness’ following closely behind the ‘remembrance’ that all is not as it should be,that there is an absence,a void that can never be filled.

    Thank you for penning such a moving and memorable piece,one that almost brought a tear to my eye.

    I’ve read all your books Caitlin,TCOAOEB having a special place in my heart.
    I’ve heard great things about this book and I look forward to the angst,heart break,romance and assured HEA for ODC!

    Wishing you the best of luck with this book,I trust it will be very well received in the JAFF community. ☺️

    Thanks to all concerned for this wonderful post.

    •  

      Thanks Mary. I hope everyone enjoys this book. There are some light moments, and lots of romance, as well as the issues between Lizzy and Jane. Hope you get to read it soon. Thanks

  22.  

    Beautiful tribute, Caitlin. It brings tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. Thank you for sharing such lovely writing and a touching beginning your blog tour.

    Don’t enter me in the giveaway, Meredith.

  23.  

    Very Interesting. Thank you for the chance to win.

  24.  

    Such a wonderful post. I am intrigued by When we are Married. Thank you for the giveaway

  25.  

    What a moving post!! I confess that I too forget that I have poured a cup of tea. Usually when I’m watching a Jane Austen film or reading one of my books 🙂

  26.  

    Whew, let me catch my breath. OMG!! Those thoughts from Cassandra wiped me out this morning. I wanted to weep as she expressed the loss of her sister.

    Don’t include me in the giveaway… I have already read the story and it was 5-stars for me. OMG!! I loved it. Wow! In fact… I read it in one setting. I simply could not put it down. I love Caitlin’s work and was so looking forward to this new launch. I just want to say… I was not disappointed.

    Meredith, thank you for hosting this fabulous author, well done on this post. Caitlin, thank you for all your hard work, and blessings on your new launch and future work.

  27.  

    Such a poignant expression of sisterly love, Caitlin!! I absolutely loved it!!

    I am crossing my fingers and hoping for the e-book; I’ve been such a fan of your other two books (having read them multiple times), and my book budget won’t stretch to allow me to purchase a book for another couple of months. And I feel much like our spoiled Lydia: I want it now!! 😉

    Thank you for this lovely post, Caitlin, and thank you, Meredith, for hosting!!

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  28.  

    Such a poignant tribute! Thank you for sharing it and thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

  29.  

    What a beautiful heartfelt tribute! I’m so excited for your new release and blog tour!

  30.  

    how lovely

    denise

  31.  

    That was a beautiful tribute. I’m looking forward to reading your new book, though I am worried about a rift forming between Jane and Elizabeth. I hope everyone still gets a HEA.

  32.  

    Oh my goodness, what a beautiful,piece of writing! Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Caitlin. I’ve had to dry my eyes before typing this comment and my cheeks are still damp!

    I don’t think any of us who’ve visited Chawton remain unmoved by the experience and I have the good fortune to be going back there next month. The summer is a manic time for me workwise – it’s why I was unable to get to Winchester last week but an unexpected change in my schedule has meant I now have time to make the journey down from Yorkshire and then spend three entire days travelling around Hampshire, in just over a month’s time.

    This new book sounds amazing and to give it the twist of tension between Elizabeth and Jane is something we don’t see often in JAFF. Like many others, I think the relationship Jane Austen wrote for these two sisters must have mirrored hers with Cassandra more than a little.

    Good luck with the launch, Caitlin and I’ll see you around on the rest of the tour!

  33.  

    I just finished this on KU and absolutely loved it! Caitlin is one of my favorite authors! Thank you for the post!

  34.  

    Thank you for this beautiful, touching post. What a great tribute. I’m excited about this release, and the cover is gorgeous. Thanks for the giveaway.

  35.  

    Than you for the giveaway and congratulations on the new book! This looks like a really interesting book and I have already added it to my TBR list.

  36.  

    A wonderful and moving tribute, Caitlin. I cannot wait to find out how the two elder Bennet sisters fare in this novel. Congratulations!

  37.  

    I read Ardently and that was great. I’d love to read more Austenesque books by Caitlin.

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