The Bennet Wardrobe Universe

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Meryton Press Agrees to Publish Bennet Wardrobe Series

(Oysterville, WA):  Meryton Press, a leading full-service publisher of Austenesque and romance fiction, has announced the reediting and rerelease of author Don Jacobson’s entire catalog. It includes the first seven books of his Bennet Wardrobe Series, and Lessers and Betters, a Pride and Prejudice Variation that pairs two novellas considering the same event from different perspectives, which was rereleased on April 29, 2021.

Meryton Press is excited to bring Don’s extraordinary creation that is the Universe of the Bennet Wardrobe into our library of outstanding books.

For his part, Jacobson could not be happier. “Working with the Meryton team on my two most recent books, In Plain Sight and The Longbourn Quarantine, was so positive. I watched in excitement as they turned my reveries into a remarkable reading experience. When Meryton then expressed interest in my independently published Austenesque books, I was proud that a house of this stature wanted to encourage my vision.

“From my first interactions with Meryton, I knew that they would make my work the best it could be by focusing what they do so well—design, layout, content and technical editing, and marketing—onto my tales. Bringing the Bennet Wardrobe Series and Lessers and Betters into the Meryton fold was perhaps the most uncomplicated decision I have made in my forty-odd years as a professional writer.

“I will be spending the next seven months working with Meryton’s team to reedit the Wardrobe books to ensure optimal enjoyment. Of course, in my spare time, I will be finishing the final book in the Bennet Wardrobe arc: The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy, which is already under contract.

The expected release dates for the eBooks and paperbacks are as follows:

April 2021                  Lessers and Betters

May 2021                   The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (W1)

June 2021                   Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (W2)

July 2021                    The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (W3)

August 2021              Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (W4)

September 2021        The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (W5)

October 2021             The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (W6)

November 2021        The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (W7)

December 2021         The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy (W8)

Audiobooks will be released shortly after each of the above titles.

From the Author

Inside the Bennet Wardrobe

“A journey of a thousand li starts beneath one’s feet.”

This saying has been modernized to “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The meaning of either remains the same. Until you begin you will never reach your destination. Such is the passage undertaken by authors seeking to unravel the truths hidden within their imaginations’ hoard.

My trek of a thousand li began with my unhappiness over how the secondary characters in Pride and Prejudice were shaped. While I thoroughly understood that Austen required Mary, Kitty, and Lydia to act only as foils for ODC, several questions reared their heads.

Into what sort of persons would the junior sisters grow if they transitioned from caricature to complex?Were these young women’s personalities so fixed that they at forty only would be older versions of those sketched by Austen? If the story of P&P is change, why were no other characters afforded the same transformation as the principals?

That was where I began. My original plan was to write three novels—one each about Mary, Kitty, and Lydia—giving the characters the opportunity to grow into women in full. I was resolved to use each character’s original image as a starting point.

How do they embark on their own journeys? The world in which Austen had placed her story was too familiar for readers to find believable my projected resolutions. I needed a way to convincingly offer life-changing arcs. I was equally convinced that they would be found in an alternate universe, one in which the story of the Bennet family was not fiction but rather a biography composed by the Lady. In this reality, Christopher Bennet, the ancestral owner of Longbourn, commissioned a piece of furniture. The craftsman delivered a remarkable cabinet. This wardrobe would transport those of Bennet blood into futures where they could learn that which they must.

Leaving specific plot structures aside, I quickly learned that I was handcuffed by my insistence on three novels. The first problem appeared shortly after I completed Volume One, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey.

When I turned to the “Kitty book,” the fact that I had sent her to 1886 to escape all who influenced her meant that I needed to create new characters. In specific, I had to find a love interest who would help her grow. That was the genesis for a character sketch which became the second volume of the Wardrobe Series, Henry Fitzwilliam’s War. Here we see what shaped the young Viscount into a man as enigmatic to Kitty Bennet as Fitzwilliam Darcy was to her sister.

I now see that Henry was a watershed moment. This novella freed me to create characters never imagined by Austen.

Suddenly the arc of Kitty Bennet’s life became too long to deal with in a single book. I split The Exile into two parts which became Volumes Three and Five. To cover the gap of thirty-five years between the essential action, Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (Volume Four) offered up new information on the lives of several Bennets.

Then everything exploded.

I realized that The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn, left unfinished Kitty Bennet’s tale. Oh, there was an end, but I could not move onto Lydia without a denouement. More books were required because I had ignored a much larger canvas. Why did the Wardrobe care one iota about Mary, Kitty, or Lydia? Was it just a dumb box with special features? Was there more?

Each time a Bennet used the cabinet, something was learned: yes, by the Bennets, but who else? In The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (Volume Six)two forces appeared. First, there was The Old One who had existed from before this current timeframe. The second was the power behind the Old One’s Universe. Back to the Canon where the most powerful force is love. In the Wardrobe’s realm, though, there are multiple kinds of love. I have discovered three others on top of Lewis’s four.

The seventh book, The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion, examines the shaping of the flirtatious one into the ton’s dominant figure by three transcendent loves. Pilgrim is a transitional book which provides the through line between 1811 with Kitty’s departure and 1886 with her arrival. Lydia carries the torch through the middle of the Nineteenth Century.

Now, as the curtain begins to draw closed, we come to the final answer to the why of it all. The Wardrobe is manipulating the lives of the Five to save the greatest love story of all creation. One more person, one irredeemably stubborn and not a Bennet, must learn that which is necessary or everything collapses. ‘Nuff said. The final book in the series, The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy will be published late this year.

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey will be available for preorder the end of this week or early next week. The exact date will be announced on the Meryton Press Facebook page.

This is the perfect time to enjoy the Bennet Wardrobe novels. With a book releasing per month, leading up to the final and eighth book in December, there will be little wait time before beginning the next. The reader will be wholly immersed in Don Jacobson’s brilliant saga of the Bennets and an old wardrobe that is much more than meets the eye.

If you have already read these books, revel in the reedited versions. If you have not yet read them, delve into these tales, listen for the sound of 1000 buzzing bees…, and experience the universe that is the Bennet Wardrobe.

13 Responses

  1. Kelly Miller
    | Reply

    This is wonderful news! Congratulations, Don!

    • Don Jacobson
      | Reply

      Thank you so much!

  2. Jan Hahn
    | Reply

    So glad all your Bennet Wardrobe books are in the capable hands of Meryton Press. Great news, Don!

    • Don Jacobson
      | Reply

      I appreciate this sentiment more than you know.

  3. Don Jacobson
    | Reply

    Thank you everyone. Look forard to more Wardrobe conversation. This is just the beginning. This universe offers a lot of possibilities (in other words, there are some great stories waiting to be written).

  4. Suzan Lauder
    | Reply

    You’re obviously a unique person to take this path with your backlist, Don, and I’m quite certain you’ll find you’ve made an excellent decision. The benefits you’ve listed are requirements for any good novel, and too good to pass by. I do hope others will follow your leadership. The best part: you get to be part of this fantastic team.

    • Don Jacobson
      | Reply

      SL…thank you for the kudos. As I have noted to others in private, I felt that I could only do so much as an author. I am not a project manager. MP will help my work become the best reading experience it can be. It was redolent of my experience with McGraw Hill back in the ’90s when I wrote and they published “The One Pan Gourmet” and “The One Pan Galley Gourmet.” Little secret…I was terrified of submitting fiction to a publisher, especially a house that has been a leader since the genre was new. ‘Twas not until January 2020 that I screwed up the courage to submit “In Plain Sight” to MP. Once they offered to publish IPS, the support network appeared. For authors used to writing and releasing in a compressed time frame, the time spent in the pre-publication process shows up in the bookstore (I know…Amazon) and on Audible. Las little tidbit…in my writing classes, I always lobbied for a holisitc experience. In other words, the full package–content, style, type, layout, cover–is what delivers the ultimate reading experience. This what I believe will be found with all of my books as a result of MP’s efforts.

  5. Michelle H
    | Reply

    Congratulations Don Jacobson. What a banner year! Looking forward to ALL of it.

    • Don Jacobson
      | Reply

      Thank you, my dear Sloane! And, of course, the good captain H.

  6. Carole in Canada
    | Reply

    Don, you have no idea how excited I am for you! This is great news and finally I can have a paperback copy of ‘Lessers and Betters’ and ‘Henry Fitzwilliam’s War’ to complete my paperback collection! Releasing one a month in the lead up to the final in the Bennet Wardrobe saga is a brilliant idea…thank you Meryton Press! Though I hate the thought of it ending, I will re-read one a month so I will be completely immersed when ‘The Grail’ is released (thank you Janet). I am also looking forward to seeing the cover that will be created for it! I am so glad you started with that first step, Don, for what a journey it has been and what a magnificent saga has been unleashed from your imagination! Thank you!

    • Don Jacobson
      | Reply

      Well, you (and Bert) have been a huge part of the Wardrobe’s story. I am so happy you will have the full set…and you deserve it! I am certain you will love the new look and layout…and the way the editing has brought a sense (I am reviewing edits on Mary right now) that the story is an alternate that uses the original as its foundation.

  7. Sheila L. Majczan
    | Reply

    Best wishes on this new version of a release. I have read 7 of Don’s stories and have always meant to read the ones I have missed. Just so many good stories out there!

    • Don Jacobson
      | Reply

      Hi there…

      It is an exciting venture. MP is bringing its professional forces to bear to make the Wardrobe books the best they can be. I am beyond over the moon…and it is making the writing of #8 (and final) easier indeed. I would love to hear your thoughts on the re-edited version of Lessers and Betters.

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