Dear Jane - Book Blurb
The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma.
Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day.
Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it.
Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.
Read an excerpt
One of the joys and the challenges of writing Dear Jane
has been regressing the characters of Jane and Frank to find out what formative
influences made them into the young people who met at Weymouth and embarked on
their foolhardy secret engagement.
Enscombe is imagined - by people who have never been
there - as a very grand and superior house, equivalent, perhaps, to Rosings
Park or even Pemberley. My Enscombe is quite different, a place of chill stone
passageways and shrouded rooms. Its inhospitable accommodations and drear
surroundings, together with Mrs Churchill’s utterly selfish sway over every
aspect of Frank’s life, were my starting point in trying to understand the
young man we meet in ‘Emma’.