Elizabeth’s voice flattened. “After the men left the gunroom, my father gave Mama and Mrs. Hill a brace of pocket pistols. I know what you think of my mother, sir. Until that moment, I would have agreed with you. Yet, as the rioters approached, my mother simply nodded when Papa said, ‘You know what to do if they enter the icehouse. Tell the older girls.’”

Refugees flooded the roads to escape the specter crawling from London’s grimy docklands into the wealthy districts. Any who could flee did so. Amongst that ragged stream was a single carriage jostling its way toward Meryton. Inside were the Darcy siblings accompanied by Charles and Caroline Bingley. They desperately sought the safety of Netherfield Park.

For all their wealth, they could not evade the dark hand of smallpox. Bingley’s leasehold had been reduced to rubble as roving bands—maddened by fear—raped, pillaged, and burned. The only sanctuary was Longbourn where, once installed, the Darcys and Bingleys were barred from leaving by a fortnight’s quarantine.

Events converge with disease in The Longbourn Quarantine. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy abandon their old prejudices in the face of grief and mourning. Their pride is set aside as Death hovers nearby. The couple forges ahead, knowing that love unexplored is love lost—that words must be said lest they remain unspoken in the time of epidemic.

In this moving tale, our favorite characters from Pride and Prejudice face the prospect of an awful death. This compels them to confront troubling scenes from their past. The author crafts a beautifully told story of self-examination and reflection while embracing compassion and understanding under trying circumstances.

— Jennifer Redlarczyk, author of Darcy’s Melody


 

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