Every so often, I have to wipe away a small tear when I spot a book I’d so love to read, but just know I’m not going to get to it this side of next Christmas. That’s how I felt when I spotted The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James – if ever a book had “me” written all over it, this is one most certainly has. Jenetta has also been a wonderful supporter of Being Anne, and I’m really delighted to welcome her as my guest today – and with many thanks to her, there’s the chance to win a copy for kindle or in paperback, with more details below.
Here’s Jenetta to tell us more about her novel of time-hopping lawyerly love inspired by Jane Austen, no ghosts included…
Firstly, a big thank you to Anne, for having me to visit here at her blog. It is an honour which I don’t take lightly, having read through the many fascinating author guest posts that have gone before me.
I’m here to talk about my second novel, The Elizabeth Papers, which will have been out in the world for a whole year this May. The Elizabeth Papers is a dual time period story – with one foot in the Regency and one in modern times. The book imagines that the Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice were real and the Regency bit follows their fortunes while the modern narrative shows how their love has impacted on their unwitting descendants many generations later. There is a dose of mystery, a measure of romance and lot of time hopping. There are no ghosts (boo! I hear some readers say; I like a ghost myself, but not on this occasion), but the two stories are very strongly connected – so I think of it as “time-slip-light” – or time-shift.
My first novel was Regency only and a few readers have asked what possessed me to write a story with a modern element. It is a good question, because I am a real history girl. It was my favourite subject at school, I studied it at university, and basically, have always been happy to curl up in a corner and pretend I’m somewhere in the past. The answer, lies in a number of places. Firstly, as I get older, I am more interested in reading and writing about modern life. Secondly, I am completely hooked on thinking about the ways in which the past influences us, everyday. (I once spent several years researching the life of an unknown novelist for a biography I never finished and in the process became entirely embroiled in another person’s personal history, but that’s another story:-)). Thirdly, I have read lots and lots of time-slip and dual time period novels over the years, and I suppose they have left an impression. Green Darkness by Anya Seaton, which was my first, has a lot to answer for.
In all time-slip and dual period stories, there has to be a thread that pulls the ancient and the modern together. In The Elizabeth Papers, it is two fold. There is a legal inheritance from the past, which causes people in the present to start asking questions. Once they start digging, they find a cache of letters and a mysterious painting that links them back into history. Before they know where they are, they are tracing for patterns, hunting for clues. The past holds the keys that those in the present require to understand themselves. There may also be a bit of romance in the air between the modern protagonists, to rival maybe that between Mr. and Mrs. Darcy; I couldn’t possibly comment.
Ever since I wrote The Elizabeth Papers, I have been thinking of new links that could be used between the old world and the new in time shift stories. I am presently working on a novel where the link is a house – and what it has seen in the past and the present. But I am open to ideas. What do you like in your dual time period novels? Does it have to be ghosts? Art? Literature? Family history? I suppose that a institution, such as a hospital or a church could also be used. What do you think? I’d love to read your ideas.
Jenetta, that was an honour and pleasure for me too. I most enjoy places as the link in my time shift stories… and admit that I do rather like a ghost..! Let’s take a closer look at Jenetta’s lovely book – the Amazon buying link is in the title.
“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world,” said Elizabeth Bennet at the conclusion of Pride & Prejudice–but was it true?
Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune–on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred fifty-year-old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated.
Together they become entwined in a Regency tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. As if travelling back in time, another story unfolds within theirs. All was not as it seemed in the private lives of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, but how can they ever uncover the whole truth?
How could they know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect, or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?
Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive “Elizabeth papers,” and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed?
The Elizabeth Papers is a tale of romance and intrigue, spanning the Regency and modern eras, reminding us how the passions of the past may inspire those in the present.
Fancy winning a copy? Of course you do! Here’s the rafflecopter for entry (UK only):
About the author
Jenetta James is a mother, lawyer, writer, and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs Darcy and The Elizabeth Papers.