Tuesday, 3 July 2018

LONA MANNING, A MARRIAGE OF ATTACHMENT. EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY



A Marriage of Attachment, Lona Manning’s sequel to A Contrary Wind: a variation on Mansfield Park, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Haven’t read A Contrary Wind yet? No problem it’s on sale this week for $0.99 at Amazon.com. It is also available to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

GIVEAWAY!!! 

Choose one or all the options you find in the rafflecopter form below the post to be entered into a draw for both ebooks. This offer is open internationally.  The giveaway ends on 13th July 2018. 


About the Books

A Contrary Wind - Fanny Price, an intelligent but timid girl from a poor family, lives at Mansfield Park with her wealthy cousins. But the cruelty of her Aunt Norris, together with a broken heart, compel Fanny to run away and take a job as a governess. Far away from everything she ever knew and the man she secretly loves, will Fanny grow in strength and confidence? Will a new suitor help her to forget her past? Or will a reckless decision ruin her life and the lives of those she holds most dear?
This variation of Jane Austen’s novel includes all the familiar characters from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, and some new acquaintances as well. There are some mature scenes and situations not suitable for all readers.

A Marriage of Attachment continues the story of Fanny Price as she struggles to build her own life after leaving her rich uncle’s home. Fanny teaches sewing to poor working-class girls in London, while trying to forget her first love, Edmund Bertram, who is trapped in a disastrous marriage with Mary Crawford. Together with her brother John and her friend, the writer William Gibson, she discovers a plot that threatens someone at the highest levels of government. Meanwhile, Fanny’s brother William fights slavery on the high seas while longing for the girl he loves.
Filled with romance, suspense and even danger, A Marriage of Attachment takes the familiar characters from Mansfield Park on a new journey.


READ AN EXCERPT 

“Come now, Fanny, take a deep breath and plunge in,” Mrs. Butters whispered to her, with some asperity, as they waited in the entrance hall to be received by their host and hostess, “you do not often have such a fine opportunity of meeting with so many interesting people, so try not to look so timid. You are the niece of a baronet and you are involved in a commendable charitable project. Hold your head up high and know your own worth.”
And Fanny began well enough. Lady Delingpole received her kindly; Lord Delingpole, once he understood who she was, gallantly hailed her as “another beauteous bloom from the Bertram bouquet,” and she heard herself responding politely.
Mrs. Butters’ attention was instantly claimed by some of her many acquaintance, and Fanny was left for a moment to look about herself. Past the lobby, still busy with recent arrivals, a large archway led to a gilded reception room, which appeared to be so crowded that Fanny wondered how the great mansion could admit any more guests. What was to her merely a blur of noise and bustle began to sort itself out—she saw many elegant persons, all strangers, all conversing, all ignoring the efforts of the string trio playing from an upstairs balcony. There was much laughter, much heat, much candlelight. But finally, just inside the entrance, she discerned the tall slender form of William Gibson.
He was newly and neatly attired, his unruly brown hair trimmed and pulled into a queue. His snowy white cravat had been wrapped and arranged by some expert hand. He even wore new spectacles. He looked—Fanny could think of no better word— beautiful. She then saw that she was not his only admirer, for a cluster of young women surrounded him, all gazing up at him with rapt attention. Fanny could not have supposed that even two or three young ladies of high birth could be so passionately curious about the West African slave trade, and here were half-a-dozen. Mr. Gibson leaned over slightly, to better hear a question posed by one of his fair interlocutors; his countenance, as usual, enhanced by his twinkling eyes and his lips, as always, curved into a gentle but knowing smile.
Fanny watched from a distance as Mr. Gibson, without raising his voice or indeed, with a posture and air the most mild and unassuming, captivated one fair auditor after another. She and Mrs. Butters had been used to thinking and speaking of him as their own particular friend, but as Fanny saw, Mr. Gibson possessed the happy knack of looking at the person with whom he was conversing as though she was the only person in the room, and this gave her some uncomfortable sensations.
He was, as far as Fanny could judge in all candour, not flirtatious. His address was not insinuating, not flattering, not to be compared to the late Henry Crawford, but his manners were such as must please.
What was this dismay, this unwelcome feeling, which took possession of her and made her want drop through the floor into oblivion? As she watched, another young lady fearlessly approached and joined in the conversation. Fanny could not conceive of having the audacity to do the same in this glittering company.
Inevitably, her inner voice, that familiar and dolorous companion from her childhood, awoke and plunged her into self-reproach. Who was she to resent? What right had she to be jealous of any of the ethereal creatures now swarming around her friend? Who was she to begrudge the flattering attentions he received? Of course Mr. Gibson, once penniless and unknown, now prosperous and famous, should move in more exalted spheres. She was merely an ex-governess. Her insignificance, her backwardness, disqualified her from thinking of herself in the same light as these other ladies. She felt herself to be an impostor in borrowed clothes, as she beheld the easy way the other young women wore their beauty and their privilege.
One of the ladies attending on Gibson, who stood with her back to Fanny, now turned slightly, affording a view of her profile. Her form was slender and elegant. She wore a turban, out of which a few dark curls escaped to adorn her forehead, and her gown was a bold shade of cerise. She was the image of self-possession, beauty and fashion.
Fanny startled, she gasped. The lovely vision was none other than Mary Crawford—that is, Mary Bertram, the estranged wife of her cousin Edmund.
Quickly Fanny snapped open her fan to cover her face, as she squeezed through the crowd to hide herself behind one of the lobby’s marble pillars, thickly wrapped with artificial ivy. She stood on tiptoe, craning to peer through as the crowds between them moved and separated, but there could be no mistaking—it was Mary. Her face was perhaps a little thinner, her nose and chin a little more pointed, but it was the same confident and witty beauty who won Edmund’s heart three years ago and, having won it, had broken it.
At the same moment that Fanny found a hiding place, William Gibson turned all his attention to Mary, laughing and nodding in response to one of her witty remarks, and Mary—how did she possess such skill?—managed somehow to separate him from the other women clustered round him, to claim and secure him for her own, to pull his arm within hers, and to walk away. Fanny watched as Mary leaned confidingly toward him, the feathers dancing above her head; she saw Mary tap him playfully with her fan, and Gibson did not appear in the least anxious to escape her company.
“Fanny! What on earth are you doing—why are you tangled up in the ivy? This is an absurd beginning. Come with me, you silly girl.”
“Oh, dear Mrs. Butters,” Fanny whispered in stricken tones. “Pray, allow me to wait for you in your carriage. Please, I cannot go in there. I cannot.”


12 comments:

lona manning said...

Thank you, Maria!

Sophia Rose said...

Oh, exquisite torture for poor Fanny. Loved the excerpt!

Sonja said...

Loved the excerpt. Thanks so much!

Janet T said...

This is a great excerpt. Thanks for sharing it. Your book sounds very good. Best wishes with your new release.

Danielle said...

Thank you so much for sharing the excerpt! I read her short story in the "Dangerous to Know" anthology and enjoyed it. Now I am excited to add her to my list of authors to read. :-)

NovElla said...

It’s always great to find something related to Mansfield Park. This looks like an interesting mix of the characters. Thanks for sharing!

lona manning said...

Hi Danielle! I'm glad you enjoyed Tom Bertram's story in ""Dangerous to Know." I should mention that the Tom Bertram in "A Contrary Wind" is conceived differently from the Tom Bertram in the short story.

lona manning said...

NovElla, are you really a Mansfield Park fan? I think there are not many of us around!

darcybennett said...

Enjoyed the excerpt. I am so happy to discover another MP variation as there are so little of them.

Lúthien84 said...

I have no idea that Henry Crawford is dead and that Edmund and Mary are married but separated. What would have propel them to marry in the first place only to be estranged later. This excerpt made me quite curious. But I am pleased that Fanny is independent and doesn't rely on the kindness of Bertrams to survive.

Loren Dushku said...

Thank you for this post Maria! I have never heard about this author and her books but now I'm happy to have the chance to win her books and discover her stories! There are very few authors that write variations about Mansfield park so, this one is absolutely to read!
Good luck everyone and happy blog tour!

darcybennett said...

I am so excited to be the winner for this giveaway. Thank you so much to all involved!