Dear readers, please help me welcome Elaine Jeremiah, author of a new Austen-Inspired novel, Love Without Time, to Austenesque Reviews! Elaine’s new release is so much fun as it about a modern-day Janeite named Cassie who inexplicably finds herself thrown back in time to Jane Austen’s Regency England. Today Elaine shares an enticing excerpt from Love Without Time. We hope you enjoy!
~ Excerpt ~
I was hit by bright sunlight and drew in a breath, blinking furiously. What on earth was going on? I looked around me, not really taking anything in, expecting everything to return to how it had been a moment ago. But it didn’t. When I took another, closer look around me, I saw that I was standing under a tree, on the edge of an immaculate lawn of a large, well-maintained garden.
I gasped. Where am I? I asked myself. Squinting, I shielded my eyes against the relentless sun. Across the other side of the garden, I saw a huge house, a mansion, a place which could easily be Mr Darcy’s home of Pemberley.
There were people on the lawn ahead of me, smiling and laughing. It looked as though they were playing croquet. And they were dressed in clothes which would be the perfect costumes for a Jane Austen-inspired TV drama…
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a moment. Suddenly, my throat felt parched and dry, like I hadn’t had anything to drink in hours. Although thinking about it, it had been a while. I opened my eyes again, hoping that I would be back in the dark, standing by the gate.
I wasn’t. When I looked behind me, I saw that the gate was still there, but now it was in pristine condition. I walked back to it and pushed it open, desperate to get back to the hospital grounds. But walking through it, I was dismayed to find that there was only dense woodland ahead of me, no sign of the hospital.
My breathing became laboured and for some reason my chest felt constricted. The fabric of my underwear felt scratchy. I frowned. Had I put a vest on this morning? I couldn’t remember doing that… But I had better things to think about. Panic rising inside me, I turned around and walked back through the gate, nearly bumping into someone standing in front of me. It was a young woman dressed in a white, sprigged muslin dress. She could have stepped out of the pages of any Jane Austen novel.
I stood there staring at her, my mouth hanging open. She was a little shorter than me; her hair was pulled back into a bun, its golden tendrils curling on her temples. Her blue eyes surveyed me with interest and I surmised that her expression must have been as surprised as my own, because I saw that her brow was furrowed as she gazed at me intently.
I gulped; my heart began thumping in my chest and I felt breathless. I made a move to turn and walk away and almost tripped over a large trunk. It hadn’t been there a second ago, I was sure of it. It was then that I noticed what I was wearing.
Gone were my jeans and favourite heeled leather ankle boots. I was wearing a pale yellow, sprigged muslin dress, very like the one of the young woman standing in front of me, except for the colour. But on top of that I was also wearing what looked like a blue pelisse, or something like a coat to twenty-first century people. No wonder I was so hot.
‘May I help you, miss…’ the young woman began.
‘I…’ I swallowed. What should I tell her? The thought came to me that I could tell her my name, but pretend I had amnesia and could remember nothing else. This idea appealed to me. It might protect me from lots of prying questions – at least initially.
‘My name is Cassandra Taylor,’ I told her, making sure I spoke in a laboured voice. ‘But I’m afraid I cannot remember anything else about myself.’ I paused, as much to give me time to think of what to say next as for effect.
‘I cannot remember where I have come from or where I am going,’ I went on. ‘You see, I believe that I was involved in an accident, although I cannot exactly recall the particulars. But I think that the carriage I was travelling in overturned and I hit my head.’
My eyes widened a little at my own speech. I could hardly believe the language I was using – so like the language of Jane Austen. Even though I’d read all her books, I was hardly adept in it. It was as if my tongue already knew the words and phrases to use.
But for all this, I felt as though a cavernous hole of panic had opened inside me. Here I was in a whole other world – surely I must be asleep on the chair in the hospital waiting room and actually in the middle of a vivid dream? The alternative was too terrible to consider…
The young woman drew in a sharp intake of breath. Her face had grown pale at my words, as if she’d had visions of the supposed accident and could empathise entirely with what she thought I’d gone through.
‘Oh, you poor girl,’ she replied, stretching out a hand to me. I took it and she squeezed my hand in her own, slightly clammy one. It was my turn to be surprised, as from what I remembered from Jane Austen’s novels, people who’d only just met weren’t usually so familiar with each other.
What about Marianne Dashwood though, my mind helpfully informed me. She prided herself on her sensibility and discernment of others. Yes, and look what happened to her, I reminded myself. I had a feeling I would need to rely on everything I’d read in Jane Austen’s novels, as well as all the biographies and books about the world she’d lived in which I’d devoured.
Aren’t you curious to see how Cassie survives in Jane Austen’s time? Could you imagine being in her shoes!?! Would you love the chance to live out your fantasies? Or would you be desperate to find a way back?
~ About Elaine ~
I live in Bristol, South West England, with my husband and our golden retriever Dug, but I grew up in Jane Austen country, not far from Winchester. I would regularly walk past the house in Winchester where she died and I’ve visited her house at Chawton a number of times. My mother introduced me to her novels when I was a young teenager, so you could say a love of Jane Austen is in my blood!
I’ve been writing in one form or another ever since I can remember, about many varied things. I wrote some great stories when I was at school – I even made up outlandish tales to entertain my younger siblings on long, hot car journeys – but it’s only as an adult that I’ve been able to properly devote time to writing.
My first attempt at writing a novel didn’t go too well; although I completed it, it wasn’t great. But I kept trying and in 2013 I self-published my first novel. Since then I’ve experimented a bit with genres and published a few more novels. It’s taken me a while but I feel like I’ve finally found my niche – Jane Austen fan fiction.
When I’m not writing, I always have a book on the go to fall back on and I’m trying to read as many Jane Austen-related books as I can. I also love taking Dug for walks in the countryside with my husband, talking about Jane Austen with like-minded people and yes, watching television. I must confess I do have just about all of the adaptations of her novels on DVD!
Connect with Elaine
Today Elaine generously brings with her 1 signed paperback copy of Love Without Time for me to randomly give away to ONE lucky reader. Woot Woot!!!
To enter this giveaway leave a comment, a question, or some love for Elaine!!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Elaine!
- This giveaway ends May 28th
Want to double your chances of winning this lovely prize? Come back Wednesday and comment on my review of Love Without Time!!!