Dec 112017
 

Happy Monday, friends!  As you may recall I read and reviewed the anthology all about bad boys, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, last month and I liked it just a teensy bit (okay, I absolutely adored it!)  Today, I have one of the authors of that lovely anthology stopping by for a visit!  Jenetta James has written some remarkable works (her Austen-Inspired story The Elizabeth Papers was one of my favorites for 2016!) and was thrilled to see her lovely story in Dangerous to Know!

Thank you Meredith, for having me back to Austenesque Reviews. It is always a pleasure and an honour to visit your lovely blog. This week, I am talking about my short story “The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot” in the anthology Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. Those who have read the story will know that Meredith is actually in it in recognition of her generous support for Hurricane Relief.

The idea of the anthology was to take each of one Austen’s baddies, (as my children would call them), and give them a back story. Readers will recall the fortune hunting, scheming, opportunist Elliot from Persuasion. He is a character who appears to pick up his relations when it is to his advantage and drop them without a care when it is not. Of the gallery of cads on offer, he struck me as among the least redeemable characters, and that is what appealed to me about him. I can’t say that my story redeems him, I don’t think it does. But I suppose that it is an attempt at explaining the man behind the roguery.

I have always loved theatre and since I see William Elliot as a man constantly putting on an act, I decided to give him a pre-Persuasion story in the world of the stage. During the Regency, there were three theatres in London with “letters patent” (that is to say that they could call themselves “Theatre Royal”). Amazingly, they were lit entirely by candlelight (until 1817 when gaslight started to be used) and were enormously popular. There were stars of the stage, just as there are now and a rich tradition of noblemen and wealthy patrons becoming romantically entangled with those stars. So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from my story, in which Mr William Elliot, gentleman and widower steps into the world of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane…

~ Excerpt ~

I was a young man of six and twenty and my wife had been dead for three months, when the path of my life was changed. The black band about my arm served as a reminder of my misfortune, but so few of my acquaintances appeared even to notice it. That evening was no different. The theatre at Drury Lane was overflowing for The Taming of the Shrew. All around were silken gowns on velvet seats, slippers shuffling across thick, carpeted floors, the collective hum of the ton at leisure. As was my practice, I occupied the box which, since my widowerhood, belonged to me. It was in the dress circle at the far right of the stage and for this reason, afforded an imperfect view. If I close my eyes now, I can still see it. Approximately half the action in any given performance was obscured. Had my father-in-law been in a position to buy a better one, he would have done so. Alas, he was not, having mere money where he lacked connection; and he settled for the best he could obtain. He could not be criticised for that, of course—for who in the world does not? For myself, I did not mind the position. It was the chief object of attending the theatre to be seen rather than to see the stage, and in any event, I found it oddly enjoyable to have a front row seat for some scenes and practically no view at all of others. Was it not thus in life generally? It was in such philosophies that I sat there, accompanied by my friends, Carnaby and Caruthers, young bloods both. The moan of tuning up in the darkened orchestra pit ceased and a perfect arc of sound announced the raising of the curtain. The stage flooded with busy bodies, with feet thumping here and there, and the exaggerated cries of the opening. I have subsequently come to believe that my eyes quickly fixed on her, that among the sea of performers, I found and focussed on Sarah Light, lifting her arms and declaiming.

In those days, she was referred to as a “rising star”, a young, promising actress who had been noticed, who haunted the coat-tails of the well-established. She had, of course, the fine face and tapering figure of the successful stage performer. That much was well documented. Those were features that she shared with just about every other young woman in her position. But upon that evening, leaning over the shelf of the box, into the darkness, I saw something else. I observed first her hands, small and fine, unadorned. Next, her face repaid close inspection. Her colouring was far from regular in England. Her hair, which was long, was notably dark, darker than any native girl I had ever met. And her eyes, when she looked up were a deep, liquid pool of wonder. Other parts of her were more ordinarily pretty: her dimpled cheeks, her slightly up turned nose. I found myself studying the very form of the woman before me. She moved to the front of the stage and spoke clearly, her voice singing above heads with ease.

A sharp jab came to my right side as Carnaby leaned in to address me.

“I say, man, do sit back. A fellow cannot see.”

Unaccustomed as I was to be ordered about by my own guests, I did as he suggested, realising that my admiration of the young woman might be a source of amusement to others. There was after all, never a moment at the London theatre where one was not being watched, measured, ascertained.

“Do not blame you for a moment, mind you. She is bloody fine, is she not?” In the half light, I saw his eye brows flick upwards as he asked and an unfamiliar sickness surged inside me. Unwilling to give the question the dignity of an answer, I remained silent. To the sound of strings and fine trained human voices, I sank back in my seat, luxuriating in the sight of her and the feeling of exhilaration that came with watching action on a stage. One could not expect any sort of appreciation from men such as Carnaby and Caruthers. They were young and rich and they lived for gaming and drinking. They were good fellows, in their way, but one could not expect to have a conversation about Shakespeare with them.

The drama drew on, the action rolling through various acts to its natural conclusion. I was never a gentleman who attended the theatre out of a sense of social obligation, I truly enjoyed it. The excessive colour, the sense of display enticed the respectable country boy in me. This fascination was long standing and reinforced what I had known for some time: that the ordinary, unremarkable life of the English country gentleman was not the life for me. Before the play was done, she turned again and her eyes met mine, just as though she had known I was there. I felt a flush of heat and sat forward. She had chosen me.

About Jenetta

Jenetta James is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full-time as a barrister. Over the years, she has lived in France, Hungary, and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs. Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers as well as a contributing author to The Darcy Monologues and Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues.

Connect with Jenetta

Blog    ❧    Twitter    ❧   Facebook

~ GIVEAWAY TIME ~

There are two fantastic Grand Prizes being offered during this blog tour!!!

One giveaway is a prize pack of 15 paperback books from the authors of this anthology.  One lucky winner will win this prize! To enter for this prize fill out the rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And the other giveaway is for a lovely collection of items called #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures Prize Pack, and this prize pack includes:

  • Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby and The Colonel)
  • ‘The Compleat Housewife’ Notecards set
  • Jane Austen Playing Cards
  • 6 Jane Austen Postcards
  • A Pride and Prejudice Print autographed by Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle

To enter for this prize comment on this blog post and all other blog posts of Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Blog Tour!!

  • These giveaways are open worldwide.
  • These giveaways end December 30th!

My gratitude and thanks to Christina Boyd and all the authors in this anthology for making this blog tour possible!

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  71 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Jenetta James!!!”

  1.  

    Thank you got such a wonderful Christmas giveaway! Loved this post, too,
    and look forward to reading more…

  2.  

    Thank you, Meredith, for hosting Jenetta and our #RakesAndGentlemenRogues on the blog tour. And for supporting Hurricane Relief via AUSTEN Variations to be a walk on character in this story. So pleased you liked our collection so well! Thank you for all your support this year with both my anthology projects and all the authors!!

    Jenetta, love this excerpt. I think you captured William Elliot quite well and in your story, I even started to feel sympathy for his plight…and then, well, he is William Elliot. He is what he is. ;);)

  3.  

    I loved Jenetta’s take on William Elliot! Thanks for a great story, Jenetta, and thanks, Meredith for hosting the naughty boys on the #RakesAndGentlemenRogues blog tour 🙂

  4.  

    Yes, Meredith I adored this anthology as well. I loved it so much that I bought the paperback book as well! It will sit nicely next to ‘The Darcy MonoIogues’ after I do some re-reading! I also loved how Jenetta conveyed William Elliot’s love of the theatre and felt his ‘love’ for Sarah Light was so touching…
    Thank you for a chance at the giveaway!

  5.  

    Great post. I really enjoyed this book and was amazed how I found myself feeling sympathy for most of these rogues due to the sky of the authors concerned. Thank you.

  6.  

    Wonderful feature and giveaway. Thanks for this beautiful gift.

  7.  

    Great post, Meredith and Jenetta! I was lucky enough to win a copy of ‘Dangerous to Know’ already (so no need to enter me again!) and it’s top of my list for reading over the Christmas break. I’m looking forward to it even more after reading this excerpt! It’s a really unique and clever idea for an anthology and I wish everyone involved the best of luck with the blog tour and launch.

  8.  

    I very much enjoyed this peep into the life of rogue William Elliot, of whom Anne was smart enough to be suspicious. Thank you for this lovely post, Jenetta and Meredith!!

    Have a lovely week!! 😀

  9.  

    A wonderful giveaway and whoever wins will certainly have plenty to enjoy!!

  10.  

    I read and enjoyed all the stories in this anthology. Plus, I have read all of Jenetta’s and loved those also…outside of this book. Thanks for sharing.

  11.  

    Wonderful excerpt, Jenetta! And thanks for hosting us on the tour, Meredith 🙂

  12.  

    Great excerpt. This story is one of my favorites in the anthology, so far! I already have the book, so let someone else have my spot in the giveaway contest.

  13.  

    I must add… Look for Jentta James’ next novel in early 2018. Beyond that, my lips are sealed. XO

  14.  

    I just read this book and it is AWESOME!!!! The winner is in for a real treat! 🙂

  15.  

    “William Elliot as a man constantly putting on an act.” Of course! Brilliant!

  16.  

    Thanks to Meredith for hosting and to our authors for their generous give-away… man that is an awesome selection of prizes you have there. Now… to add the icing on the cake. This book is featured in the cover wars at Author Shout. I’ve included the link for those who wish to vote. So far, it is leading.

    http://authorshout.com/cover-wars/

    For those that don’t tweet of face… no worries. Just click on one and when the box pops up… just X out and it will let you vote. We want this to win. So… everyone click on over and vote. You can vote each day during the contest week. So show your support for Dangerous. Congratulations to our authors on the success of this work. I loved it. I was so happy to get a copy and devoured it.

    •  

      Thanks for this – it is an absolutely lovely cover isn’t it? I love the back cover too, but that sadly isn’t featured in the cover wars thing

    •  

      Thank you so much for all the lovely suport! We love our cover designer, Shari Ryan. She also did all the interiors and formatting. Very proud of this finished project.

  17.  

    I haven’t had a chance to re-read many of Jane Austen other books besides P&P, but love the idea of a back story. Looking forward to reading these anthologies.

    •  

      I love the idea of prequels and as soon as Christina suggested it I thought it a great idea for an anthology. Good luck in the giveaway:-)

    •  

      I think you will be fine reading our collection without being too familiar with each Austen character as each story is prefaced with a short description of each rake/rogue and each is a stand-alone story. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

  18.  

    Thank you for the wonderful excerpt.

  19.  

    This anthology was so much fun to read. What an amazing group of authors.

  20.  

    Ah yes, I quite agree with Jenetta that William is a cad and she wrote him so well.

    Thanks for hosting our tour, Meredith! 🙂

  21.  

    Feel like I’ve been at the theater myself 🙂 Loved it!!

  22.  

    Hooray for giveaways! Very much looking forward to reading Dangerous To Know.

  23.  

    These bad boys are such fun! I, too, loved The Elizabeth Papers. Thank you for the incredible giveaway.

    •  

      Thank you for that – that’s lovely. It is hard to believe that The Elizabeth Papers will be two years old in a few months. Thank you for remembering it, I am enormously touched:-)

  24.  

    Enjoyed the excerpt, hope to read more soon.
    thanks for hosting the giveaway,

  25.  

    I’m late to the party but I had to jump in and say wonderful excerpt! It came as no surprise to me how much I enjoyed Jenetta’s take on William Elliot, as Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel and Jenetta one of my favorite JAFF authors! Thanks so much, Meredith, for being a part of this blog tour and thank you, Jenetta, for such a fabulous story!

  26.  

    Thanks for the great Giveaway! I have several of these on my TBR List and plan to look into some of the others. The second giveaway also looks really interesting. Happy Holidays and good luck to everyone in the giveaway!

  27.  

    It’s too bad that so little of that theatre architecture remains–it’s barely more than 200 years ago! But an instant!

  28.  

    I loved the excerpt, Jenetta. It got me curious to know about this bad boy from Persuasion and learn more of his new love.

  29.  

    Meredith, Thank you for hosting another #RakesAndGentlemenRogues blog stop and supporting our anthology. The winner of the rafflecopter draw for all the books from the authors is Becky Cherrington. The winner for the blog tour comments (announced by a live draw on Facebook) for the Bingley’s Teas, assortment of notecards, postcards, and playing cards as well as the autographed Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle poster was dholcomb1 (Denise Holcomb). Congratulations! And thank you to all who supported “Dangerus to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues” blog tour. So appreciate!! You made it fun.

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