In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson

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Hello All, welcome back to my blog! Thank you to all of you lovely readers who left comments on the latest blog entries from me.

In a surprise move, I was added to the blog tour of Don Jacobson’s latest and likely most radical and highly dramatic book, “In Plain Sight.” So read on, I promise there is a giveaway and a review!

I was one of the lucky people who still read Fanfiction and Don put up this amazing story on that particular platform – it made me weep, giggle, gasp and sigh, and shocked me beyond belief, and taught me something, which is so very typical for a Don Jacobson book these days.

Book Description;

“At the end of the day when we are each of us lyin’ flat on our backs, lookin’ at the ceiling, and the vicar is whisperin’ in our ear, the greatest comfort we shall ’ave is to know that we loved well and were well-loved in return.”

When Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father slides into an early grave, his son is forced to take on Pemberley’s mantle. Brandy numbs his pain, but Darcy’s worst inclinations run wild. After tragedy rips everything away, he spends years finding his way back: a man redeemed by a woman’s loving understanding. Elizabeth Bennet is afflicted with a common Regency ailment: observing the world about her but not seeing those beneath her notice. Then a clarifying act shatters the propriety that has denied her heart the transcendent love she craves.

In Plain Sight explores Jane Austen’s eternal love story by flipping social roles on their heads. From their first encounter, Elizabeth Bennet and the convict known as “Smith” must overcome their prejudices and breakthrough their pride. Only then can they share the treasure hidden in plain sight.

In Plain Sight_cover.indd

OMG! Guys! There is an excerpt which Don and Janet Taylor is letting us have a peak at! Enjoy!

Excerpt of the book;

Chapter 12

On the Mimram River Road

Richard Fitzwilliam burst from the tree line and onto the road. He hauled his steed’s head to the side to point the beast down the way toward the nearby town. Imperator snorted his derision at the idea that he, a highly trained warhorse capable of galloping across pockmarked battlefields, would be content to canter along a country lane. Although both stallion and rider were five years removed from Europe’s conflicts, the pair enjoyed charging throughout their Derbyshire neighbourhood. Their cross-country bolt from Netherfield’s manor house led them across drying fields, over hedgerows, and along the shoulder of as fine a bit of elevated terrain as Richard had seen throughout his former career.

Damn me, but Wellesley would have adored that crest. He would have command of the entire river valley. Three batteries would control every compass point.

Of course, several braces of eighteen-pounders equipped with Shrapnel’s explosive apples likely would not have deterred Fitzwilliam’s latest nemesis—or rather her latest assaults on his sensible nature. That was why Richard had resolved to put as much of Hertfordshire between Miss Bingley and his unshackled leg as he possibly could. Yesterday had been unmitigated agony as he found himself trapped by weather in Netherfield’s precincts after he, Bingley, Miss Bingley, and the Hursts had arrived mid-morning at Charles’s leased estate.

The ginger-haired lady’s best efforts to ingratiate herself with Fitzwilliam had tested the limits of his endurance. Thankfully, the rain had abated overnight, and he had been able to ride out before dawn to dash his frustrations onto the fields, stiles, and hedges that divided the countryside.

Richard rested his gauntlets on buckskin-covered thighs and gave voice to the source of his frustration.

“Oh, Mr Fitzwilliam, to whom do you write?

“Oh, Mr Fitzwilliam, how elegant and even is your penmanship!

“Oh, Mr Fitzwilliam, please convey my best wishes to dear Georgiana.

“Oh, Mr Fitzwilliam, do you believe your mother, the countess, will condescend to visit Netherfield if we can promise her a suitably attended house party?

“Oh, Mr Fitzwilliam…”

Richard snorted, leading Impy to flick an ear back at him in acknowledgement.

“You think to mollify me by offering noncommittal agreement?” Richard shot at the back of his horse’s head. “Would that we could exchange shoes—me for your iron, you for my leather—for a day. I would pay a penny to the pope to watch you try to stay clear of Caroline Bingley’s social-climbing clutches.

“That is a problem you have never had to face, my amorous hoofed friend. I seriously doubt there has ever been a lady mare or gentle filly who thought to refuse you. I am sure that you are thoroughly convinced that every one of them is expecting your addresses.

“Since we returned from India, you have spent far too much of your life being pursued around Pemberley’s meadows by every mama in the stable. It has given you a big head, I tell you.”

Imperator turned his well-shaped head back toward his rider—never his master for Horse had only consented to bear Man’s weight out of compassion and not out of compulsion—until one large brown orb glinted in Fitzwilliam’s view. Then Impy simply rolled his eye telling Richard that he, once again, had overlarded the pudding with his threats. The mount knew that, just as he would carry none other than Fitzwilliam until, in his age, he would gallop off to the high country where Sleipnir ruled over the equine Valhalla, so, too, never could the soldier bear to ride another in his string if Imperator was fit and ready for duty. They were mated for the life of one or the other.

A hoof pawed the road surface. He was anxious to return to the estate’s warm stable for a straw and curry brush rubdown administered by Fitzwilliam before the man turned him into his stall for a bucket of warm mash and a few wrinkled apples delivered from the kitchens to sweeten his morning meal.

Richard understood his impatience. His own stomach growled its discontent.

He tightened his knees and tapped the animal’s ribs with his boot heels. Impy’s great legs began to eat up the furlongs as Richard gave him his head.

They pounded around a blind corner. A flash of color diving into the scrubby border, followed by a high-pitched shriek, pulled Fitzwilliam from his reverie.

Fitzwilliam was off his saddle and dashing to the shoulder to assist a young woman as she tried to clamber back to her feet. She was clad only in her morning gown and short gloves. Her bonnet was cockeyed and bedraggled.

Another rich brown eye glared at Fitzwilliam. This time, though, ’twas one of the distaff persuasion, impaling him from beneath a torn straw brim. Rather than being amused with his most recent antics, this orb was quite irked and indicted him for her tumble into the weeds.

The miss quickly rendered her gown—battered by this escapade and showing a brownish boundary at least six inches deep from some earlier battle with the elements—shipshape and in Bristol fashion. Then she accepted Richard’s proffered hand to be helped to her feet.

Fitzwilliam was shorter than the traditional six-foot-plus of most Fitzwilliam men. Although he was only slightly more than average height, he towered over this young woman. This lady—for such she certainly was, despite her shopworn appearance—barely threatened five feet. Her beetled brows tilted up at his face from a spot level with his collarbones.

And that glare showed she was not well pleased. Fitzwilliam steeled himself for a tongue-lashing.

“You…you…” she sputtered. “Just who do you think you are to be tearing around the neighbourhood like some entitled and pampered…uh…uh…pamplemousse?”

The allusion to an oversized fruit tickled Fitzwilliam’s skewed sense of humour.

“I fear that ’tis true, miss, that Imperator”—at this, he pointed to his steed—“and I were racing along without being completely attentive. I do believe, though, that you were thinking of those foolish frog aristocrats who contributed to their demise by riding roughshod through their peasants’ fields. Hence, your free use of French.

“However, if you seek to insult,” he japed, “you need to hone your technique. I believe the word you wanted was ‘popinjay.’ Do you not agree, Impy?”

The stallion whickered and dipped his head, extending his velvety snout to poke the young lady’s hand.

“Oh, so that is how it is, you overgrown fleabag!” Fitzwilliam rejoined. “You seek to encourage this gentlewoman to lay all the blame on me. Next, you’ll go down on your back to have her rub your belly.”

His opponent giggled at the ridiculous dialogue between man and beast. Then she remembered her mission and interrupted any further comments Richard might have made.

“Please, sir, hear me. I am on an urgent quest. Let us do what is traditional for all Britons meeting each other for the first time. Since Sir William Lucas, our master of ceremonies, is not here to properly introduce us, I am going to assume that Imperator is doing the offices.

“My name is Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn Estate here in Meryton. And you are…”

“Richard Fitzwilliam of Pemberley, Derbyshire. I am sorry for your discomfort. I was not attending to the path forward, so anxious I was to return to my friend’s estate. I am a guest of Charles Bingley who is leasing Netherfield on the other side of this hill behind us.”

Lizzy brightened. “Oh, Netherfield…Netherfield is Longbourn’s neighbour. My mother has been trumpeting that the estate was let to an unmarried young man of considerable fortune.”

Fitzwilliam’s lips thinned.

She added in a conspiratorial, but light, tone, “If you, too, are without a wife, I urge you to beware. Mama is one of Meryton’s leading matchmakers with four daughters yet to wed!

“I do accept your apology, sir, for nuptials are not our immediate concern. I must, however, ask for your compassion and your assistance. I was returning to Longbourn to enlist my father’s aid. There is a man who is grievously hurt. He needs to be moved to a warm place without delay!”

Fitzwilliam demanded, “Where is he, Miss Bennet?”

Lizzy manoeuvred him back past the curve and pointed down the road, “There—in the vale between the roadside and the riverbank beneath the overhanging tree branch.”

Richard immediately began jogging down the track, leaving Lizzy to collect Imperator’s reins and scurry along behind. She arrived moments after Fitzwilliam had climbed down the small hillside and knelt beside the leaf- and grass-entombed figure. He began dismantling the fruits of Lizzy’s labors.

Elizabeth remained on the road clutching Impy’s ribbons, not realizing that the horse never would have departed Fitzwilliam’s side. She peered down as Mr Fitzwilliam gently lifted off the last of the grass before he ceased all movement, astonished at the destruction that had been wrecked upon the unfortunate.

“What is this?” he asked sotto voce before looking over his shoulder at Lizzy and directing his next at her. “Who is this man? Where did he come from?”

She colored, feeling guilty at her knowledge and the unspoken urges that had disturbed her for two days. Then she softly replied, “He is, I believe, a convict. I saw him in a labor gang that is domiciled in a remote barn on Netherfield’s land. He must have escaped and tried to swim across the flood. The riverbed must have torn his back.”

Fitzwilliam snorted. “No rocks, however sharp, did all this in such an orderly way. See how the cuts on his flesh match well with the tears in his shirt? If he had been ground against stone with roiling water dragging him every which way, there would be many more abrasions and slashes on his body where none appear in his clothing.”

To prove his point, he carefully tugged the hem of the man’s shirt down toward the top of his pantaloons. “I have seen such mayhem before, long ago, when Wellesley had to impose discipline on the sepoy troops.

“While some of his wounds arguably may be consistent with being tumbled in the rapids, this man has been flogged and beaten within an inch of his life.

Review;

After a disastrous accident, Darcy is stripped of his name and rank, and as a prisoner of the state, he is to work on the Mimram River Project. The Bennet family luckily owns shares in that project, and soon a man is discovered on the muddy bank of the Mimram by Elizabeth Bennet. The man is half-dead by his injuries, including several horrible whippings, one which is seen by Mr Bennet, Mary and Elizabeth Bennet, I was crying my eyes out at some of these scenes, but it also opened my eyes to how England was building up towards the Industrial Revolution already during the Regency Period, and even how blind we are today towards people who are supposedly beneath us because their circumstances are awry or different than ours.

This sets our beloved couple on a journey to discover both themselves and how to see past their prejudice and pride and find the hidden treasures that are each other, behind the expected behaviours. I will also admit to screaming at Don several times when Mr Collins appeared on the scene, and how he nearly discovered the emerging feelings Elizabeth and Darcy has for each other.

Soon a scandal is rolling in Meryton during the Harvest Ball, due to Miss Caroline Bingley, what a horrible woman she is, but as always Don makes sure that the bad people get their comeuppance! The scandal forces several characters to leave the comfortable Hertfordshire for the northern counties. Here Elizabeth is forced to see the world around her, from a new perspective, namely the world she has been blind to, the servants and workers, who is now her new level. Finally, the hearts of Elizabeth and the convict known as “Smith” open to each other, and love is discovered.

A daring plan is soon underway with the help of Richard Fitzwilliam, Mr Edward and Mrs Mary Benton and Elizabeth to prove that ‘Smith’ is ready to rejoin society and return to his former name. I was sitting on the edge of my seat at this point! Don’s new book was both a revelation and a shock to the system at certain points! The book also, in my opinion, was based on the principles of change and acceptance of the unexpected!

One quote Darcy makes during one of the last scenes touched me utterly!

“Henry Wilson was the Baptist, albeit preaching silently.” Smith smiled and chuckled at his jest. “His presence meant my term need not be served without companionship. Youngster that he was, he impressed upon me that I could negotiate the space within which I existed.” … “Wilson taught me that I was not alone, despite my imagined condition after my father’s death. Miss Elizabeth impressed upon me that I had become worthy of being loved”

It touched me since Darcy says that without Henry Wilson he would not have survived, or that is how I read it. But Don was not done, he several times referred to his own works, with the concepts of “The Loves” which is the cornerstones of changes in the Wardrobe series.

“The Greeks in their wisdom have identified four great loves. Miss Bennet has shown me the Fifth and Sixth… Exagoras agapis – The love that Redeems – and Synchotiki agape – the love that Forgives”

The Ending was as all of Don’s endings, happy, changed and ready to begin a new life after being lost in the wilderness.

I can only say a huge congratulations on this new book, Don!

Author Bio:

Don Jacobson Head Shot[568]

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years.  His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television, and radio.  His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards.  He has previously published five books, all non-fiction.  In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.

 Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a speciality in American Foreign Relations.  As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization, and Research Writing. He is a member of the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.

Contact Info:

Don Jacobson’s Amazon Author’s Page

Goodreads Author’s Page (with blog)

Author Website

Twitter  (@AustenesqueAuth)

Buy Info:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Giveaway:

HEAR ALL! There is a giveaway! Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson.

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Last words by me;

So that is all for this time around, I will be back fairly soon with another lovely review of “Love unsought” and I promise its good!

19 thoughts on “In Plain Sight by Don Jacobson

  1. Oh no! Poor Darcy! I’m hoping Richard is his friend in this book? I’m assuming so and that he helps Elizabeth to tend him? (Hopefully it may keep him out of Caroline’s clutches 🙂 ) The more I read about this book, the more I want to read it. I plan on doing so very soon.
    Thank you for sharing yet another excerpt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your interest. As this is a book of inversions and role alterations. Fitzwilliam, as de facto master of Pemberly (see Ch 3) is accompanying his frined Bingley as the young man tries his wings as an estate proprietor.

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  2. Hopefully Fitzwilliam will not be interested in Elizabeth, though not for Darcy’s sake but for mine as I don’t care for those storylines

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    1. Not to worry. My goal is not to rewrite, but rather reimagine Austen. I agree with the Lizzy/Richard binaries. There are enough hot spots in this book already!

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    1. Your review will be most cherished! As I wrote in Austen Authors well over a year ago, I learn something new from every review. The experience of rolling reviews on fan fiction.net (thank you Elaine) helped create a better and stronger book.

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  3. Thank you so much for hosting me today. I hope your followers enjoy the excerpt and the insights you offer. You have been such a great critic (in the positive sense of the word) of my work. Thank you for your close readings and efforts to discern my intent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did find that at times we need to have a bit of humor to leaven the bread of the story. You will discover a couple of other spots throughout. This is no comedy to be sure.

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  4. Now that we’re deeper into the blog tour, we get deeper into the plot. I’m curious as to where this book goes from here, and I’m certain many other readers are just as interested. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Suzanne…yes, the plot doth thicken! The excerpts have been complicated to bring together for fear of spoilers…but, this one was sort of delicious..even now, months after I wrote it.

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  5. Thank you for hosting today’s stop, Sophia. I enjoyed reading your insightful review. As always, you pick up on the essence of the book and talk about it without spoilers. That is much appreciated. Love the excerpt, Don.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I did find that Sophie caught the essence of what I was trying to accomplish as I built the book. I find that my universes tend to seep into one another and employ their essential truths. Readers will enjoy that just as there is a Doctor (or Mr.) Campbell to save the day, Henry Wilson marries his Annie Reynolds and Mary her Edward Benton.

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  6. I am so excited to see this book getting the praise it deserves! It is such a rich and moving tale, completely drawing the reader into the world. Lovely book, and congratulations, Don!

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  7. I’m looking forward to to reading a version of Darcy who had been really humbled by his experience. I believe it would make his better qualities shine through.
    Congratulations on the release of your new book 👍

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    1. That is part of the reason behind the inversion. It also allows me to highlight Elizabeth’s blindness to those beneath her status as a gentlewoman as well. In another scene, Elizabeth reflects on how invisible and unidentified servants are…as in no last names. This grew from my observation in JAFF (and some #Austenesque novels) that servants are often mentionned but never named. I modified that in my work to hold them like Shakespearean spear carriers unless they played an important role (see Henry Wilson in Of Fortune’s Reversal or James Footman (later Foote) who appears in “In Plain Sight”). Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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