Saturday, 1 February 2014


Hello, everybody, Jack Caldwell here. It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Last time I talked about my grand sequel to Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, THE THREE COLONELS – Jane Austen’s Fighting Men.

Today, I’m going to introduce my latest book, a comic re-imagining of Pride & Prejudice called THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE.
Some of you may recognize this title. It was on the fan fiction boards several year ago, and was warmly received. For those unfamiliar with the book, I’ll give you a short synopsis.
One of the great "what-ifs" among Pride & Prejudice aficionados is: If Mr. Collins married Mary Bennet instead of Charlotte Lucas, how would that influence Mr. Darcy's dogged pursuit of the elusive Elizabeth?
I take that thought and run with it. In my story, Mr. Collins decides that a pretty and pious Mary would make him a better wife than a lovely and lively Lizzy. Because Mary is now living in Hunsford as Mrs. Collins, Jane joins Elizabeth visiting Rosings Park at Easter. Yep, Jane’s in Hunsford, too, right when Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam visit. Does that mean Jane is there when Colonel Big-Mouth spills the beans about Mr. Bingley? What do you think?
There are other surprises in store. Mary finds her purpose in life in Kent, and you’ve NEVER met an Anne de Bough like this one.
Here’s a taste of THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE, from Chapter 2:

The Wedding
Elizabeth Bennet sat in the pew of the Meryton Church, trying to understand what was going on. There, before the altar, was her sister Jane, a participant in a wedding ceremony but not as the bride. Jane was the bridesmaid. For her sister Mary. Who was getting married.To William Collins.
What has happened?
Six weeks earlier, Jane was enjoying the attentions of Mr. Bingley, Elizabeth was enjoying her contempt for Mr. Darcy, and both were trying to avoid Mr. Collins. Now, Mr. Bingley and his annoying sisters and friend were gone from the neighborhood. Mr. Wickham, the soldier who had been so entertaining to the Bennet ladies, was paying exclusive attentions to Miss King. And Mary was uniting herself for life with Mr. Collins.
What has happened? No, no, this is wrong. It should be Jane marrying Mr. Bingley. Perhaps this is a dream. Perhaps if I close my eyes very tightly and open them, this will all go away.
Mr. Collins was repeating his vows. "With this ring, I thee wed. With my body, I thee worship."
Elizabeth tried. It did not serve. I believe I shall be ill now.
Eventually the ceremony was over. Elizabeth found herself alone in the church.
"Elizabeth? Are you well?"
"I have a mind amazed at its own discomposure, Jane. I cannot believe that Mary has married Mr. Collins. It is just… wrong!"
"Well, it has happened and we are all returning to Longbourn for the breakfast. You must come along now."
Elizabeth grasped her sister's hand. "Oh, Jane, if only we were to be going to your wedding breakfast!"
Jane smiled a thin smile. "Mr. Bingley is perhaps the most amicable man of my acquaintance, but I am sure you apprehend too much about him. He is a very pleasant sort of person, and I enjoyed his company. That is all. Now, come along."
Elizabeth chose not to challenge her sister and walked out of the chapel. At the door she turned back and looked at the sanctuary one last time.
William Collins is my brother. I cannot believe it!
The new Mrs. Collins approached her elder sisters as she prepared to leave.
"Mary, let me wish you joy again," cried Jane as she hugged her.
"Thank you, Jane." Mary turned questioning eyes to Elizabeth. "And you, Lizzy? Do you wish me well?"
"Of course!All the joy in the world, my dear sister." As much as she tried, Elizabeth's sentiment sounded false, even to her own ears.
Mary was clearly not deceived, but she did not challenge her sister. Instead, she grasped Elizabeth's hands most fervently. "Please, you must promise me, both of you, that you will visit me as soon as may be."
Elizabeth was taken aback to see the apprehension in Mary's face. "Of course, we shall! Shall we not, Jane?"
"Oh, yes," Jane assured them both.
Elizabeth smiled. "There, it is settled! Write to us when you are ready."
Mary was visibly relieved. "I shall—perhaps at Eastertide. I shall ask Mr. Collins."
Elizabeth was almost overcome by the look of fear and trepidation on Mary's countenance. "Oh, Mary, take care! We love you so!" She embraced her trembling sister.
Mary was in tears. "You do? Oh, I love you, too! Both of you!"
Jane joined in, and the three held each other until they were interrupted by a pompous voice.
"Ah, what a picture of sisterly felicity! Would I could but stand here to admire it for the rest of my days! But, Mrs. Collins, we must be off if we are to make Hunsford before nightfall." To Elizabeth's disgust, Mr. Collins was actually dancing from foot to foot, so fervent was his desire to leave.
Mary closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Yes, Mr. Collins, you are right. Give me your arm… husband."
Elizabeth blanched. I believe I shall be ill now.
The remainder of the leave-taking took no little time as Mrs. Bennet was in full rapture over her now-darling daughter being the first to leave Longbourn after entering the state of Holy Matrimony. Finally, the farewells were accomplished, and the couple ascended the waiting carriage. As it pulled out of the drive, Mary leaned out.
"Jane, Lizzy, do not forget your promise! Goodbye all! Goodbye!"
This is the second of my comical novels—last year I released MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER, a mash-up between Pride & Prejudice and The Man Who Came to Dinner. In 2015, I get serious again with a series of novels about New Orleans entitled CRESCENT CITY. The first novel will be THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE, set during the Battle of New Orleans. Look for it in January of 2015.
THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE, a humorous re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice from White Soup Press, is available in print from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and eBook from Kindle.

About the Author - Jack Caldwell is an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, a darn good cook. Born and raised in the Bayou County of Louisiana, Jack and his wife, Barbara, are Hurricane Katrina victims who now make the Suncoast area of Florida their home.

His nickname—The Cajun Cheesehead—came from his devotion to his two favorite NFL teams: the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. (Every now and then, Jack has to play the DVD again to make sure the Saints really won in 2010.)

Jack’s novels include PEMBERLEY RANCH, THE THREE COLONELS, MR. DARCY CAME TO DINNER, and THE COMPANION OF HIS FUTURE LIFE. In 2015, he will release the first four books in his epic CRESCENT CITY series.

When not writing or traveling with Barbara, Jack attempts to play golf. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons.
Jack's blog postings—The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles—now appear regularly at Austen Variations.
Blog – Austen Variations   
Facebook –  Jack Caldwell Author

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Ashley said...

I'm so excited for this book :D I love Jane Austen "What If..?" stories. It will be interesting to read how the Hunsford visit is different! Can't wait!

Patricia Finnegan said...

I have always felt Mary Bennet would have been the one most suited for mr. collins!

charlene said...

Jack just love your books. Looking forward to this one. It sound very intriguing!

junewilliams7 said...

Great story and characters, but the one line that I always remember is this classic: I believe I shall be ill now.

Jack, you do the best one-liners!

Super Fan Evie Cotton said...

I just bought this on kindle but my collection would not be complete if I didn't have a signed copy by my favorite author on my shelves! I hope I win!

Christa said...

I've been following you and your books, and can't wait to read this one. Since this posting, I am even more excited to get my hands on it. Keep up the great work.

Unknown said...

I have read Mr. Darcy comes to Dinner and I loved it. Im really excited for this upcoming story!

schilds said...

Love your book Mr. Darcy Came to Dinner. This one sounds great as well. I am curious about your take on Anne.

cyn209 said...

cannot wait to read the book!!
thank you for the share!!

congrats & continued success, Jack!!!

dstoutholcomb said...

very interesting fan fiction

Laura Hartness said...

As expected, great new writing from Jack Caldwell! Looking forward to this one!

Deborah Ann said...

I am looking forward to reading this book. just waiting for Barnes and Noble to release release it as a nook book.I have enjoyed all of your Pride and Prejudice variations

LuAnn @ BackPorchervations said...

One always wonders what would happen in a classic story if different choices had been made. How nice to have authors who actually explore the possibilities!

Kelli H. said...

Congratulations, Jack! I am a big fan of your writing and I am so excited to read your new "what if" story!!

Jack Caldwell said...

Thank you for all the wonderful comments!

Joana Starnes said...

Thank goodness it was Mary and not Elizabeth. Talk about waves of nausea!!!!!

I loved Mr Darcy comes to Dinner, (an old favourite at DWG) and I can't wait to have the new Mrs Collins on my kindle too!

Monica said...

Better as a brother than as a husband, Lizzy! *shudder*

I know he's portrayed slimier than Austen probably intended but still... *shudder!*

I'm very intrigued about Anne; and maybe Jane and Colonel Fitzwilliam end up together?

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