Hello to all and welcome back! Today I am visited by a retuning author, MJ Stratton and her new book, “From Another Perspective” which is a P&P variation! I have graciously been allowed to present an excerpt and a blurb and, of course, a giveaway! I am quite intrigued with the idea of this book, of seeing P&P from another perspective, like say Mrs. Hill? Or Anne de Bourgh? Or even Mrs. Younge, or some of the lesser known characters. But for now, I will leave you in the hands of my visiting authoress.
The events of Pride and Prejudice are well known by those familiar with Jane Austen’s work, but what would we see if the minor characters told the story? What were Mrs. Hill’s thoughts on the heir to Longbourn? How did Anne de Bourgh feel about her cousin’s fascination with the guests at the parsonage? Did Mrs. Younge willingly help Mr. Darcy find Wickham? From Another Perspective follows the events of Pride and Prejudice as seen through the eyes of some of the lesser players found in the novel, along with some others of the author’s own creation.
Mr. Phillips walked a few steps behind Mr. Wright and Mr. Bingley. The former was a middle aged man with a serious expression and gray forming at his temples. The latter was a gregarious and happy man of some twenty-five years, with red-gold hair and a fine figure. His clothing was costly and it was obvious he employed a talented tailor.
Though the two conversed in quiet tones, Mr. Phillips could read the satisfaction on Mr. Bingley’s face readily enough. Mr. Wright, though harder to read, likewise seemed pleased with the property. Occasionally during the tour, Mr. Phillips was called upon to answer questions, which he did with alacrity.
The housekeeper, Mrs. Nichols also accompanied the party. She proved to be an excellent source of information and had managed the upkeep of the empty property remarkably well. Having been employed by Netherfield’s owner over ten years previous, she had shown her worth many times through the years.
At the conclusion of the tour, Mr. Phillips and his guests repaired to the steward’s offices on the estate. There they set about discussing the particulars of finalizing the lease.
“The lease is for a year minimum, with the option to extend when the year concludes,” explained Mr. Phillips. “There are no special conditions attached to the lease, just the expectation that the property be maintained and the tenants well looked after. The permanent staff are also to remain with the property and are not at liberty to be removed under any circumstances without the express permission from Netherfield’s owner.”
“Capital!” enthused Mr. Bingley. “I am eager to venture into the realm of property management. Would it be possible to finalize the particulars so I might take possession by Michaelmas?”
“I see no reason why they would not be,” said Mr. Phillips. “The house will need to be aired out and the covers removed from the furniture, but Mrs. Nichols will have that in hand without delay.”
“That is wonderful,” Mr. Bingley said.
“Have you any other questions at this time?” Phillips inquired.
“I have only one,” said Mr. Bingley. “Is the owner of the park against any redecorating of the house? My younger sister shall accompany me to act as hostess and will be eager to add her own touches to the rooms.”
“General repairs to the property are encouraged, but any major renovations to the rooms must be approved prior to the undertaking, I am afraid. Should your sister wish to purchase a new rug or chair, the ones belonging to the estate may be stored in the attic during the lease and replaced when you give up the estate,” was the reply.
“Those are reasonable stipulations,” Mr. Wright said.
“Indeed,” stated Mr. Bingley. “My sister will have to be content with them, as I am very pleased with Netherfield and will brook no argument in my taking the property.”
Mr. Phillips smiled at the man’s enthusiasm. “Then let us begin organizing the final details, gentlemen,” he said. And so the legal work commenced.
That night as he settled into his bed, Mr. Phillips smiled to himself. A new resident in the area, and a wealthy, single gentleman at that. He could almost hear his wife’s voice in his head, berating him for keeping this news to himself. Best he prepare his defense now. Michaelmas was only three weeks away and she was sure to hear the news within the next fortnight at the most.
Almost two weeks to the day from that night, his wife burst into his office with enough force that the door hit the wall with a thud. Mr. Phillips winced at the noise and turned his attention to his lady.
“My dear Mrs. Phillips!” he said. “What a pleasure to see you this fine afternoon. How may I assist you?”
“You can begin by apologizing for your infamous treatment of me, sir!” she exclaimed. “You have used me abominably ill, you know!”
How very like her sister, Mrs. Bennet, his wife seemed at the moment. “To what do you refer, my dear?” he said innocently, the twinkle in his eye giving him away.
“Netherfield Park is let at last!” she said shrilly. “I have just had it from the butcher, who heard it from Lucy Jones, who works as a chambermaid for Netherfield. The butcher has received a large order for next week to make ready for the new master, a young man they say is worth at least five thousand a year! And you, sir, have likely had this immense news for some time since you are the solicitor that handles the estate!”
His wife finished her diatribe and huffed. Martha Phillips was a good woman, a bit silly, but kind, and a veritable gossip. That her husband knew that Netherfield was to be let and had not told her must rankle fiercely.
“Martha,” Mr. Phillips said patiently. “You know I was not at liberty to say anything. It is the nature of my work.”
“Well,” she huffed again. “You might have told me.”
Mr. Phillips sighed. Had he told his wife, the entire shire would have known that Netherfield was let before the end of the next day. Wisely, he did not mention this to his lady.
“Now, now, my dear,” he said. “I shall soon make it up to you. Did the butcher tell you anything else about Netherfield’s new tenant?”
“No,” she said testily. “No one seems to know anything other than what Lucy Jones has related.”
“Then I may be able to assuage some of your curiosity, my dear,” he said. “Mr. Bingley is from the north and is young and amiable. His father amassed a fortune in trade and he is leasing Netherfield in an attempt to learn estate management.”
“Is that all? Nothing of his looks or manner of dress?”
“I can tell you that his looks are as favorable as his manners,” Mr. Phillips replied playfully. “It is not in my nature to assess the outward appearance of those I deal with in business. It is their inner nature that most concerns me.”
“I suppose I shall have to be happy with your assessment, then,” said Mrs. Phillips. “I shall see you for tea shortly, Mr. Phillips. After that, I must visit my sister and apprise her of this momentous news.”
With that, his wife turned on her heel and exited the room. Mr. Phillips smiled to himself. His brother Bennet would be inundated with requests from his wife to visit their new neighbor. Phillips had no doubt that Bennet would use this opportunity to toy with Mrs. Bennet and the rest of the ladies of the house.
Mr. Phillips noted the time before turning back to his work. Mrs. Phillips would expect him for tea and it would not do to lose track of time and leave her waiting, not after so recently returning to her good graces.
He chuckled quietly and picked up a quill. Yes, the next few weeks would prove to be very diverting indeed. Perhaps the new resident of Netherfield would take a shine to one of the local ladies and become a more permanent resident. But speculation on such topics was the domain of his wife, and his work was waiting. Mr. Phillips turned his mind to the documents in front of him and promptly forgot about Mr. Bingley and Netherfield Park amidst his other concerns.
Please all, here is the link for the giveaway, so good luck and I hope you win a copy of this unusual copy of a P&P variation.
Or you can preorder the book here;
MJ Stratton is a teacher turned writer. She lives in rural Utah with her husband and three children. MJ has written for years and finally published her first book last September. Her love from Jane Austen began at a young age when she read Pride and Prejudice. Lost in Austen was the first Austenesque fiction she encountered and has been in love ever since. Along with writing, MJ loves to sew, cook, grow her garden, and tend her chickens.
Dear all, that’s it for now, I fear, but I will return shortly with a much loved and much beleaguered authoress, namely Joana Starnes and a review of her new book, “Snowbound.”