Guess what we have in store for you today? Grace Gibson has a new book, and it is available to preorder now! Readers have been wishing for longer books by Grace, and with this one, you will get your wish! The Last House in Lambton Cover Reveal and first excerpt is here! Are you ready to know more about this story? The blurb is below.
Does it ever stop raining in Lambton?
Darcy and Bingley depart Netherfield Park, leaving Elizabeth Bennet acutely aware of the monotony of her life. Seeking a reprieve, she volunteers to serve as temporary companion to Mrs. Gardiner’s elderly aunt who lives in Lambton. Nothing turns out as Elizabeth expects, and she is forced to dig deep into her reserves of common sense, humor, and stubborn persistence to prove herself equal to the dreary circumstances.
Initially unaware that Pemberley is only five miles away, Elizabeth crosses paths with Darcy annoyingly often. When the gentleman rescues her from a shocking situation, Elizabeth faces some hard choices, at the same time struggling against the smoldering attraction that can neither be repressed nor fulfilled.
Mr. Darcy, meanwhile, in whose heart a fire has also been lit, is shocked by the lady’s stubborn refusal to accept his help. Alternating between alarm and begrudging admiration, he stands helplessly on the sidelines while she struggles to retain her independence. He, too, must make some hard choices in the end. Will he let her go?
The painting on the front cover looks much like a scene from Grace’s book. We felt it was the perfect fit for the story.
Do you like the painting? Does it look like a place you want to visit? It seems like a peaceful, cozy village. I like it, and I wonder, who are the people on the road?
Grace found several paintings for the back cover, all by the same artist, Vilhelm Hammershoi. The paintings were similar in their depiction of a young woman who is alone in a house or looking into another room or hallway. The hallway is a critical feature in the dramatic moments in the story. Does that you make you wonder what?
Hmm, what could Elizabeth be seeing? What is she thinking? The tension builds, and I feel strong emotions when viewing this painting. What does it make you feel?
We are doing something a little different for this cover reveal. Instead of talking about the book, Grace is paying tribute to Jane Austen and her writing. What better time to do this than now. Without Jane and her writings, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the upcoming release by Grace.
From the Author
Browsing this year’s issues of the Jane Austen Literary Foundation’s Journal, Pride and Possibilities, I came across this gem:
Jane Austen was an expert in including only those details which moved her story forward, thus creating a rather large sandbox in which other authors love to play…Melanie Rachel, May 2022
This brilliant quote distills the very reason I fell in love with JAFF.
I have a confession to make. I am an artist whose guilty pleasure is writing. That I am writing this article for the cover reveal of my newest release speaks to the rise of inclusivity in this genre. If I have been invited into this glorious sandbox without conventional credentials, then this truly is an egalitarian genre.
I toggle freely between writing, art, and general laziness, and lately, I have been exploring another guilty and playful pleasure—that of making folk art with recycled materials and traditional motifs like the ‘tree of life’ and such. Trust me, this is not fine art which is an altogether different form.
In this same spirit, Jane Austen’s work has provided me with some gorgeous motifs to use as inspiration, and I am engaged in folk writing. How fun is that?
Austen’s motifs are unique, reassuring, and timeless. We are so enamored, so delighted, we begin to pick and choose which way we too will express the same idea. With the lightest possible touch—because I cannot picture Jane relishing the notion of being made into such a profound subject—I will suggest the genre of Austenesque has become something of a living and evolving art form, elbowing its way into a sort of homegrown legitimacy.
Through our obstinate devotion to these retellings and the demands of readers who cannot get enough, Jane Austen’s novels have organically sprouted a specific kind of folk art. To those who don’t resonate with her work, this phenomenon is hard to explain, but to me, the reasons are perfectly clear.
Darcy, Elizabeth, and so many of the personalities that populate Jane’s worlds are either such fully realized archetypes or perfectly sketched caricatures that writers are liberated from the job of building people and their histories from scratch. Instead, we gleefully take off at a sprint, imagining alternative universes for her inspired characters to explore.
It hardly needs to be said that Jane Austen’s writing is brilliant. But, what else about her stories is so addictive? There are aspects of the period, culture, and settings in which she placed her characters that stand out to me.
In a culture in which we videotape every pimple, post every opinion, air every grievance no matter how petty, and document our minute criticisms on social media, Jane Austen gives us an antidote for the modern world—a palate cleanser, per se—by introducing us to a few radical concepts like reserve, stoicism, duty, honor, courage, and good manners.
Vulgarity in her novels is certainly depicted—sometimes brutally so—but it is never celebrated. Moreover, her protagonists are people who can, and do, admit their mistakes and know how to apologize. They discover how to make allowances for the failings of others, and most critically, strive to become increasingly impeccable in the development of their own characters, irrespective of the lesser examples that abound.
Darcy and Elizabeth grow as human beings. Through the challenges of love and its non-negotiable requirement of vulnerability, they become wiser, kinder, and more expansive in their thinking. This is so refreshing, and I find myself exploring these themes again and again in my own novels.
I also find the development of a love relationship through friendship and respect to be amazingly romantic in an era in which it is common to fall into bed before discovering if we even like one another. To be fair, modern dating is highly practical given our social norms, and yes, my notions of Regency period courtship are unabashedly idealistic.
Yet exploring love through fiction, applying the pressure of the challenges and strictures common 200 years ago, is a source of endless fascination to me. Austen’s piercingly direct conversations between as-yet undeclared lovers are, for me, the purest form of seduction—lovemaking on an altogether different level. And, in The Last House in Lambton, it is just this kind of love that I wished to wrap the story around.
But romance between two intellects is only one aspect of Jane Austen’s genius. By looking into her crystal-clear mirror, we explore basic human psychology and all its messy implications. Any one of her emotional themes, such as that of deservedness, class bias, or relational power, are ripe for exploration.
The icing on the cake is that the structural tension of daring to choose one’s heart’s desire in a society that used marriage for practical purposes leads us inevitably to the most satisfying conclusion. In the end—at The End—a place so many of us rush to get to for the sheer joy of it, we are rewarded for our hope, and, for just a little while, our modern-day cynicism about just about everything is forgotten. Love really does win, every single time!
There is so much to admire, so much to love in Austen’s work, but for me, one essential quality stands apart. Few writers could lampoon our humanness with such precision. We have little choice but to laugh at ourselves when we come under the scrutiny of her well-sharpened quill. And lest I begin to take my writing too seriously, I try to keep in mind that no one would find my efforts to emulate her more hilarious than Jane herself. Are our variations, prequels, and continuations providing her with hours and hours of amusement in heaven? I certainly hope so!
But I also hope she knows that her genius has truly touched us, that her work is appreciated by legions, that her enduring contribution to a modern society—which she might be surprised to discover—is that she is more relevant, more brilliant, and more respected than ever.
This is a lovely tribute, Grace. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings, and for writing your stories about Darcy and Elizabeth, as well as the many other characters you include. I believe Jane Austen would be pleased.
How about a short excerpt to give you a taste of Grace’s new book, The Last House in Lambton? This one is from Darcy’s point of view.
There were innumerable advantages to being the master of Pemberley. There was also one distinct disadvantage. I had no privacy whatsoever.
I awoke with an extraordinary degree of anticipation. My mood could not be contained, and by visceral means alone, the whole house, from the butler to the scullery maid, became aware of my excitement. Unfortunately, this was interpreted as moment for urgency. My valet dressed me with meticulous alacrity, and my sister gulped down her breakfast and sat ready to leave nearly an hour early. The stablemaster hitched my most powerful team, restive from the lazy days of winter, and we veritably dashed off to Lambton to visit Mrs. Jennings.
A prompt, even a premature arrival, might be assumed as a lover-like attention by some, and in almost all cases, a lady expecting to receive a gentleman caller could be found sitting in an attitude of ready anticipation for at least three-quarters of an hour before the usual time for morning visits.
Elizabeth Bennet was in no way ready to receive us.
She stood before me in a crumpled apron with her hair half undone, clutching a ladle, her eyes wide and well-lit, cheeks pinking, and a reflexive smile of surprise. I had never seen anyone, anywhere, more beautiful.
“Mr. Darcy!” she cried.
Delightful! I can picture this scene in my mind. How about you? I can also imagine how Elizabeth must have felt. She has no idea of the true impression she has made on Darcy!
If you want to read more excerpts, be sure to follow the blog tour. It begins November 7th. The schedule will be posted on the Meryton Press Blog and Facebook page.
Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks of The Last House in Lambton. Tell us what you think of the blurb, Grace’s tribute to Jane Austen, the book cover, excerpt, or share any thoughts you may have on this book. We want to hear from you. Your comments will enter you in the giveaway which is worldwide. It will end on Wednesday, November 2nd at midnight. Good luck to all.
Other books by Grace Gibson
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