The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. III
by Collins Hemingway
Publication Date: November 4, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 338 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga
In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.
Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series
Hemingway again displays his notable ability to recreate time and place, moving on from the heady days of Jane Austen’s early love to a marriage beset by difficulties and a country at war. Hemingway … vividly and authentically portrays the times. … [T]his is a lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving finale to Hemingway’s successful trilogy. —BlueInk Review
Immensely satisfying … Marriage is lively, compelling, and fun. … [Her] relationship with her husband Ashton still sparkles. Marriage is a lovely ode to their connection. … Hemingway has combined Austen’s humanity with her fiction and created a Jane that lives and breathes on the page. Audiences will want her to be real… It offers a wonderful, imagined alternate life for the well-loved author. —Claire Foster, Foreword Review
‘Enjoyable … an imaginative, well-researched series.’ —Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Collins’ passion for literature, history, and science enable him to create complete, sharply drawn fictional characters fully engaged in their complex and often dangerous worlds. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding respect for courage in the face of adversity.
As a nonfiction book author, Collins has investigated topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he co-authored with Bill Gates, he tackles challenging topics with clarity and insight, writing for the intelligent but nontechnical reader.
Born and raised in Arkansas, Collins has lived most of his adult life in the American Northwest, with a career that has spanned writing, high tech, and aviation. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Arkansas, Phi Beta Kappa; a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Oregon; and numerous technical certifications in computer technology.
Jane rushed into the drawing room more than twenty minutes after she had planned. Cassandra was already there, diligent at her needlework. Jane noticed that her sister’s dress was faded; the dullness of repeated washings did not present well against the shimmering blue-green wallpaper, the golden wood panels, and the lush rose-colored rug. Jane absorbed this image without judgment but rather as a woman who would wish—if it were possible without awkwardness—to gift her sister with fabric that might breathe more comfortably among the finer things at Hants.
The nurse soon brought George. Before Jane settled in for the afternoon feeding, Cassy held the little boy, who greeted his aunt with an energetic display of movements and noises and smiles. “And how is my young nephew?” she said.
“He is good—finally past all the colds and coughs. I had begun to believe that colic was a permanent condition.”
Cass sewed and Jane fussed over George for some little while.
“You must have run all the way,” Cassandra observed. “When you came down. Your face is still a little flushed.”
Jane’s face came all the redder for the comment.
“I hurried as fast as I could. I lost track of the time. Ashton enjoys a midday nap but professes not to be able to rest unless I join him.”
“I am certain you provide him all measure of comfort.” Cass’s face underwent subtle changes during the exchange—a raised eyebrow, a smile—but she did not look up from her needlework. “Everyone in the family will be reassured that the two of you have reclaimed your footing.”
“I have no idea what you mean.”
“There was a strain between you in Southampton. Love, affection—as before. Yet there was also limitation. As if the honeymoon had come to a rather precipitous end.”
“A sick child will do that. And it took us longer to readjust—after George—than either of us expected. We are just now—finding our way.”
And so they were. Her mind jumped back to those still-fresh moments with Ashton in the half-light of the curtained bedroom.
“I am reassured by your smile,” Cassy said. “But if you insist upon smiling to yourself, you must let me in on your secret.”
Jane did not know how to respond. Her private life was the only aspect of her marriage she had never shared with her sister. This was the first time Cass had pressed the point.
“I do not wish to flaunt my happiness in your face.” Jane halted, seeing where her words might lead her. “Especially about the particulars … of husband and wife.”
“You think it cruel to regale me with tales of marital happiness because I am single and always likely to be?”
It was impossible to think of Cassandra and her continually contracting prospects without feeling anxiety about the gulf between them. Her sister was not only a spinster, but she was three years older than Jane, herself now one and thirty. She had no one to share a life with, not even Jane anymore. Cass would have, Jane believed, warmly returned the physical affections of Tom Fowle, but she otherwise lacked a native sensuality. Her intelligence and honesty could still charm any man she might wish to charm, but with Tom’s death she had lost the demonstrable spark that would draw a man’s attention and alert him to those qualities. This is what Jane felt but could never say to her beloved sibling.
“I do not ask you to share the details. Well, I would love to hear the details!—but I am really interested in how that aspect has changed you. What it means. How it affects your view of life, the world.” Cassandra looked away for a few moments. Jane saw in her face an older, more somber, version of her own. “I am happy, Jane. You must believe that. It would make me miserable to my core if you withheld one ounce of your feelings for Ashton out of concern for me.”
“I seem to recall a wise father, and wiser sister, who cautioned a young woman about getting carried away.”
“I have come to believe that the world would be a better place if more people were carried away in the manner of you and Ashton. I bask in your love for each other. It warms me to know that you are happy. And Ashton too. I am also a practical mercenary. Your happiness will provide for me and Mother if worse should ever come to worst!”
Cass worked, Jane gave small attentions to George he nursed, and the sisters discussed elements of her private history. No particulars of any moment, but the way her intimate life with Ashton informed the rest, and the way the interplay between the emotional and physical reinforced one with the other.
Soon after, Ashton came by on his way out from the library to the field. He still moved with that mixture of sloth and concentration that implied overindulgence of a particular sort with his wife. He bowed and said to the ladies: “I shall be gone for the rest of the day. Is there anything I can do for you before I go?”
“No, you have done quite enough for today,” Jane said.
“Enough for us both, I should hazard,” Cassandra said, low enough that only Jane could hear.
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