What Is So Special about the Bennet Wardrobe?

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A Love Affair with a Piece of Furniture

Don Jacobson’s Bennet Wardrobe books are a unique and brilliant series that involve the Bennet family members and other characters from Pride & Prejudice. These characters mingle with Sherlock Holmes and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others. History and fiction combine to make a special universe that is real and alive—the Bennets are actual people as are the other fictional characters—and it just so happens that Jane Austen chose to write a novel about them. (In a later book, The Avenger: A Father’s Revenge, we are privy to Fanny’s opinion about that book! I loved Don’s portrayal of Fanny, and the relationship between Thomas and his wife is poignant.)

Several years ago, Don asked me to do the covers for this series. He always chooses the front cover painting, but lets me play with the rest. Every painting and photo on the wrapper—the front, the back, and even the spine— have meaning or significance, and each gives a hint to the story within. Before doing a cover, I always read the manuscript. From the time I read the first book, I was intrigued and amazed. I could hardly wait for the next one. Now readers will not have to wait long. Meryton Press is releasing the reedited versions of Don’s books, and they will be published one month at a time leading up to the final and new book, ”The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy.” This one book will tie it all together! It is not to be missed, and I cannot wait to read it. Be sure to read the blurb for it, which I share at the end of the post!

While reading The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey, I realized the Wardrobe was a character itself, with a life and a purpose. I was instantly drawn to this piece of furniture and was fascinated by it and its history. This is not time travel in the normal sense. It is a journey of growth, love, and learning to be who the world and the Five Families need each Bennet (or another?) to be. The Wardrobe sets those of Bennet blood on that journey. This is the most unique series I have had the pleasure to read. Don’s own words sum it up beautifully.

Deep down, the Bennet Wardrobe is about Home—that safe harbor we all seek. There we can build that space to allow our hearts and love to grow.  I hope that the series has provided you with a vision of how the Bennets—one and all—found their way Home.”

Since you’ve read about my love affair with a piece of furniture, let’s hear from some other readers and authors who share what they love about the series. We invite you to indulge in their praise. Then we hope you will take the plunge and take a chance on these marvelous novels.

Carole in Canada – Why I Love the Bennet Wardrobe Series

When I was asked what I liked about Don Jacobson’s Bennet Wardrobe series, I was thrilled.  For I don’t just ‘LIKE’ this series, I ‘LOVE’ it!  

The Bennet Wardrobe saga encapsulates for me the full evolution of three sisters…Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet. The youngest Bennet sisters are not fully developed in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.  Don Jacobson has taken these three rough cut diamonds and chiseled, chipped, and polished them into living breathing life. 

Even Mr. and Mrs. Bennet play a larger role in this series.  One where they must face their flaws, regrets, and losses head on in order to find redemption and fight against the darkness that is coming.

Each novel is a deeply layered journey of the human spirit…a journey of love.  Through the unique time-travel ability of the Bennet Wardrobe, it is more than just an adventure; for the Wardrobe gives each Bennet who touches it not just what they think they want, but what they truly need in order to grow and in some cases, find love and redemption. Each novel is intricate, poignant, imaginative, highly engaging, and powerful. 

The Bennet Wardrobe saga is a journey of life that sees the Bennet family experience epiphanies, love, loss and fighting evil. I loved how the historical elements and events were seamlessly woven into each story.  It is a full picture of life’s humanity…light and dark…good vs evil. 

“As a weaver knows their craft of interlacing the threads/yarns to create a strong and beautiful textile, Mr. Jacobson has woven a coming-of-age story with history, betrayal, greed, villainy, and the healing power of love. “(excerpt from my review of ‘The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Epoque)

Carole in Canada

Sophia Rose – Praise for The Bennet Wardrobe Series

The Bennet Wardrobe series has been, for me, a wonderful, magical world that transcends time, and I delighted to lose myself among the pages for hours at a time.  The characters find love, family, and grow into a better version of themselves as they do their duty as Keepers past, present, and future.  Love in all its facets from friendship, familial, and romantic carries them through some of the darkest times, brightest joys, bittersweet won triumphs, and simply happy moments.  History is respected as the backdrop and there is even whimsy when great fictional figures stroll into the pages of the Wardrobe universe.  Readers and listeners are charmed by romance and are riveted by gritty action and suspense.  That mysterious Wardrobe, its rules, its quirks, and its near sentience captivates me the most as the central figure in all the series tales.  An innovative series not to be missed by lovers of Austen’s classic P&P characters, or those who enjoy an engaging time travel series.

Lory Lilian – about “The Bennet Wardrobe”

I confess I have never been a fan of time travel and fantasy stories and yet, somehow, the moment I read the first book of “The Bennet Wardrobe” series I was trapped in the fabulous and highly imaginative universe Don Jacobson created.

“The Bennet Wardrobe” series stands alone as a unique result of originality focused on beloved characters as they move—and grow—through surprising plotlines.

What is even more surprising – and speaks clearly of Don’s talent and beautiful writing – is that, when it comes to “Pride and Prejudice,” I am mostly interested in the main characters. In this series, Elizabeth and Darcy, as well as Jane and Bingley – as we know and adore them – are only in the background. But Don surprised me by making me change my focus and care about every member of the Bennet family who is engaged in these extraordinary tales.

“The Bennet Wardrobe” is set around a device (the Wardrobe) with magical powers and a “unique sense of humor”, that takes those with Bennet blood where they express a desire (sometimes in a moment of a tantrum!) or where they are needed. During those journeys over the years, they discover themselves and reveal to the readers some traits of their characters’ never known before.

The books in the series are tightly connected and they must be read in that specific order. And this is where Don’s talent shows one more time: I felt “grabbed” by the gripping stories and held “within” the wardrobe myself, waiting for a new instalment to come out.

In addition to the time travel part, Don does a fabulous job with historical research, placing the characters in several of the major events that took place over two centuries. Each story is detailed, complex, and takes the readers into captivating adventures where beloved Jane Austen characters met other well-known literary characters, as well as worldwide famous historical and artistic figures. I absolutely loved that, too!

As an author myself, I admit I would never be capable to craft such a complex, enchanting and exciting story, not to mention an entire series! Congratulations to Don for a masterful work! I highly recommend “The Bennet Wardrobe” series to all the readers – especially those who love Pride and Prejudice, but not only – who enjoy time travel, mystery, originality, history – all gripped together by a talented writer.

Sophia Thorsen – Don Jacobson & The Bennet Wardrobe

It has been quite some years since I found Don and his story of the Bennet wardrobe within the beloved story of Pride and Prejudice. The first time I heard the audiobook of Mary’s extraordinary journey, I was caught. The plot focused on a character I always thought was given way too little attention by Miss Austen herself, and then the story of why the wardrobe is in the bookroom of Longbourn, and the element of magic, which Don so elegantly describes within the worlds of Narnia, the Wizarding World, and C.S. Lewis’ on the other side of the mirror, this wardrobe allowed the ‘Bennet’ to travel to a time/place where they can become the best version of themselves – this concept had an allure like none I have ever read since Harry Potter, and Alice in Wonderland. I, of course, recognized the idea of “a wardrobe” from Narnia though in a different context to how this wardrobe is used within the Bennet universe and what relevance it would have on all the characters I love and cherish through many hours of reading.

I was hooked… after Mary’s story, followed the stories of Kitty, Henry Fitzwilliam, a bit with Lizzy, Lydia and finally, we were led right back to the original founder of the Bennet trust, namely Mr. Thomas Bennet, and his story, “The Avenger” likely one of the most emotionally draining stories I have read in a long while, especially the ending had me in tears. Though the strongest of the stories so far within this wonderous universe is the story of Lydia, the pilgrim, the silly sister – to see a character I have always thought ill of, become one of my favourite characters took me quite some time to get used to, though her story led to many tears shed over my kindle.

The talent of Don really shines through when he goes so deep into characters as he manages with Mary, Kitty, Lydia, Mrs. Bennet and even Mr. Bennet throughout this wonderful universe, the changes, and the evolution of these characters like nobody have ever managed before. The Bennet Wardrobe universe, I quickly discovered was also the home of several of my favourite literary characters, all from Watson and Holmes in Baker Street to Doctor Maturin and Captain Aubrey in HMS Surprise, to the Crawley’s of Downton Abbey, all of whom we know from other 19th century placed books, also a gold nugget Don has used so far, a few times, is to place other known characters from Miss Austen’s own works within his universe.

Don has a way of leading you into his works, and when you are in, you are caught until the last page is turned and the words, “fini” or “the end” appears, that is at least how I experience it, but also a thing which makes Don’s writing so good, is that you feel like you return to intimate friends each time, I open the cover of a new “Bennet Wardrobe” story, or return to one of the audiobooks, which is quite often lately.

What I also like is the whole idea of being able to travel to a time where you are either needed, or where you can become the best version of yourself. It is a concept, I wager which is relatable to many women, and some men too, when you do not feel like your best self in your “present” life and then have the option of travelling to a different time – it is the questions of “who am I” and “who could I to be” which answered for several characters within Don’s Bennet Wardrobe storyline. What a temptation!
The many storylines we can and do follow within the seven books, and side stories – and the many characters we are visiting within the universe is another feature I like a lot! How we are allowed to see/follow the evolution of the how/whys of the Wardrobe, and how it affects the Bennet in three generations and how it becomes “The Five Families” which again protects the wardrobe from the wrong hands.    

I always find it a comfort to return to these stories, seven so far, to return to the friends of Mary Bennet, Maria Lucas, Kitty, Georgiana, Elizabeth and even return to talk with Mr. Bennet in his bookroom at Longbourn and look at the marquetry doors of the wardrobe. I also found it quite an accomplishment from Don to make the readers respect Mrs. Bennet, for many years I have always shaken my head at her silliness and how she doesn’t take her daughters considerations into her matchmaking plans, – but within the Bennet Wardrobe universe, it is a Mrs. Bennet like never seen before, she became one of the strongest women within the P&P world, suddenly in my eyes, an underestimated character who was vindicated by Don and Amanda’s teamwork, Don’s words and Amanda’s narration of his work.

In my opinion, Don has vindicated all the so called sillier or weaker characters from Miss Austen’s original work, within his wonderful, magical world of the Bennet Wardrobe. To quote Don,

“We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.”

At the beginning of this post, I promised to show you the blurb for “The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy.” When I first read the back cover copy, I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Did it effect you the same way? Let me know.

Back Cover Copy

“You must throw away notions of what you want.

Only then will you be free to accept what you need.”

     The Brown Guide to

    Fitzwilliam Darcy, 1840

Long has the remarkable Bennet Wardrobe involved itself in the affairs of Longbourn. Where before its actions have been cloaked in mystery, its purpose now becomes clear. The fey cabinet has molded the universes to strike a balance that can be achieved only by saving the greatest love story ever told.

Follow the paths taken by Pemberley’s master and mistress after their children have grown. See Elizabeth Darcy struggle to rekindle the love glow that has dimmed after a quarter century. Grasp the unaccountable pain her departure levels upon the entire Derbyshire family. Watch Fitzwilliam Darcy learn that which he must in order to become the best version of himself: worthy of his Elizabeth.    

The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy closes out the Bennet Wardrobe series.  The disparate threads spun by the remarkable women born to a Hertfordshire couple of insignificant fortune are tied together. These lives have become the tapestry that records the destiny of Jane Austen’s lovers, immortal in any here/now or where/when.

Giveaway

To start you on your journey with the Wardrobe, Meryton Press is giving away one eBook of the first book in the series, The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey. The giveaway is worldwide and will end on Friday, May 28th at midnight Central Time. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Good luck to all.

For a complete list of the books in order, visit the Meryton Press blog post, The Bennet Wardrobe Universe. You can also read more about Don’s journey inside the Bennet Wardrobe.

30 Responses

  1. Suzan Lauder
    | Reply

    Best of luck to Don on the re-release of this series. You certainly have some dedicated fans already, and with the new edits, imagine where the books will go.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you for stopping by and giving your support, Suzan. Since this is the first time Meryton Press has released books that have previously been published, it is great to have the backing of authors like you.

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      I cannot wait for your thoughts as each book builds the tale. Thank you for your kindness.

  2. DarcyBennett
    | Reply

    I read this book and loved it. Such a fantastic series. Congrats on the re-release. No need to enter me in giveaway as own this book.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We are glad to hear that you loved the book/series. Have you read them all? If not, stay tuned! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      The wonderful bit here is that I feel the re-edit and re-design (especially in the print version) has made Mary so much more of an immersive reading experience. Each subsequent book looks to execute what I had originally imagined.

  3. Kelly Miller
    | Reply

    I love all of the striking covers; they are all so different and yet go together well! Congratulations Don on your re-release of this series. You came up with a fantastically unique storyline!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      It’s great reading that you love the covers. They do have the look of a series, don’t they? Thanks for commenting, Kelly.

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      Thank you Kelly. As Janet noted, the covers are my statement about the core feeling within each book. Her back covers and overall design treatment tie the entire book together. Look at the rose wreath on the spine…each has a story hidden within…as do the Garlands on the front cover. JT’s design work is one great reason to go with the print book. Ellen Pickels’s interior design is the other!

  4. Jan Hahn
    | Reply

    Love this post! Various voices sing praise of Don’s brilliant and magical works. Very well deserved.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We’re happy to hear it, Jan. Thank you for dropping by.

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      Jan…thank you. Might I note that I am looking forward to your next…I have spent many happy hours immersed in your work.

  5. Buturot
    | Reply

    Congratulations on the re-release of these books! Had admired these covers. Intrigued with each story.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      We hope you get to read the stories soon, Buturot. They are fascinating!

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      At the risk of sounding Tolkienesque, the final book unites them all and makes clear the Old One’s motives. Look forward to your reviews of the new editions.

  6. Carole in Canada
    | Reply

    I am soooo looking forward to “The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy”! It is a perfect title for the final book and it is an appropriate ending to the saga. Congratulations, Don, on this amazing creative saga! Thank you!

    • Carole in Canada
      | Reply

      I also want to say how much I have loved each of the covers and the creative process that has gone into them. Can’t wait to see what the final cover will look like!

      • Meryton Press
        | Reply

        That’s great to hear, and I appreciate your support and encouragement. I know Don does too.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      I love this title too and cannot wait to read the book. I agree with your thoughts, Carole.

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      As a teaser on the final front cover…the image was selected months ago as I began the book. My only hint…go to the Musee d’Orsay. Thank you so for all of your support and kind words.

  7. djacobson
    | Reply

    All of your wonderful comments have left me feeling warm and fuzzy. The graciousness of those who were interviewed for this piece leaves me speechless! All of you have placed a big bar for me. I am working right now to meet your expectations.

  8. Laura Capio
    | Reply

    This has been on my “to read” list for so long, I really need to move it to the top! It sounds like such a fun series!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      It is a good series. This would be the perfect time to move it to the top. 😊

      • djacobson
        | Reply

        Laura…Now you can do “one-a-month” now through the end of the year. Some are longer than others. I look forward to your reviews.

  9. Marie H
    | Reply

    I confess this is a series I have long been wanting to read, but I’m “one of those people” who has a difficult time waiting until the next volume comes out. Therefore I’ve been waiting for the last book. I have only ever heard good comments about the series and I do look forward to finally reading and adding it to my library. Congratulations Mr. Jacobson!

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Since the books will be released one a month leading up the last one in December, this might be a good time to start the series. We hope you enjoy the series once you do read the books. Thank you for stopping by.

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      Hi Marie,
      ‘Tis been a long road from the first words in “The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey” in 2016 to the point where I am today in “The Grail: The Saving of Elizabeth Darcy.” Through it all (looks like about 750,000 words), the Wardrobe has led us through worlds both familiar and new. I hope you will enjoy these books as they appear one per month. Know that I have been very intentional in everything throughout the series. I look forward to your reviews. DJ

  10. tgruy
    | Reply

    This is an extraordinary series. I highly recommend it to everyone! I can hardly wait for the next (and last?) book of the series.
    Don’t enter me in the giveaway, I already have the book.

    • Meryton Press
      | Reply

      Thank you for your high praise for Don’s books, Teresita! It is so great to hear. I’m like you and can hardly wait for “The Grail”! 🙂

    • djacobson
      | Reply

      Thank you so much for your salute. The weaving gets more difficult as the threads get shorter. The newly re-designed versions are just stunning.

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