The Calico Critic is pleased to welcome author Regina Jeffers with her guest posting today. I had the pleasure of reading Regina's Christmas at Pemberley last year, and I'm looking forward to her latest novel, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy, which is available today! Here's a taste of what we can look forward to in Regina's new Austenesque mystery:
Shackled in the dungeon of a macabre castle with no recollection of her past, a young woman finds herself falling in love with her captor – the estate’s master. Yet, placing her trust in him before she regains her memory and unravels the castle’s wicked truths would be a catastrophe.
Far away at Pemberley, the Darcys happily gather to celebrate the marriage of Kitty Bennet. But a dark cloud sweeps through the festivities: Georgiana Darcy has disappeared without a trace. Upon receiving word of his sister’s likely demise, Darcy and wife, Elizabeth, set off across the English countryside, seeking answers in the unfamiliar and menacing Scottish moors.
How can Darcy keep his sister safe from the most sinister threat she has ever faced when he doesn’t even know if she’s alive? True to Austen’s style and rife with malicious villains, dramatic revelations and heroic gestures, this suspense-packed mystery places Darcy and Elizabeth in the most harrowing situation they have ever faced – finding Georgiana before it is too late.
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What an intriguing premise! I'm looking forward to this one. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy the following thoughts from Regina. After that, take a moment to enter to win a copy of The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy by filling out the Rafflecopter form. Thanks to Regina for generously offering this copy to one of our readers.
Incorporating Fascinating Legends
in Classic Story Lines
in Classic Story Lines
The legend of the Black Shunk comes to us from the late 16th Century in the small towns of Bungay and Blythburgh and serves as part of my first mystery, The Phantom of Pemberley. According to church records, on August 4, 1577, during a violent thunderstorm, an apparition of a black dog entered unseen by the assembled parishioners the nave of the church of St. Mary’s in Bungay. The apparition touched two of the congregation and immediately fell dead. As Abraham Fleming stated in his 1577 pamphlet, “A Straunge and Terrible Wunder,” a third parishioner was “drawn together and shrunk up as like a piece of leather.” Thirteen miles away, at the Holy Trinity Church of Blythburgh, three parishioners were killed and others “blasted” by the demonic creature.
All down the Church in midst of fire,
The hellish monster flew;
And passing onwards to the Quire,
He many people slew
Those in Blythburgh described the event as, "[l]ike thing entered, in the same shape and similitude, where placing himself uppon a maine balke or beam...sodainly he gave a swinge downe through ye church, and there also, as before, slewe two men and a lad, and burned the head of another person that was there among the rest of the company, of whom diverse were blasted." Fleming thought these events as a "woderful example of God's wrath, no doubt to terrifie us.”
The Black Dog of Bungay became part of the local folklore; the official Bungay coat of arms features the famous Black Dog and the local Bungay Town Football Club goes by the popular name of the Black Dogs. However although the local St Mary's Church does possess a wooden carving that depicts the legendary Black Dog, there are otherwise no remaining signs of the beast's visit. On the other hand, if you travel down the A144 and then nip across the B1123 to Blythburgh, and visit the Holy Trinity Church the north door still bears the marks of the Black Dog to this day (or perhaps these are the remnants of a lightning strike during the storm).
Reportedly, Wes Craven based Freddy Krueger on an experience that he had as a young boy. Craven once saw a scary looking man wearing a bowler hat. The man had scars all covering his face. People who reportedly come across a hat man usually claim to feel a frightening feeling, as if they are being threatened. While some ghosts do not seem aware of the presence of the living, it appears that shadow people do. Witnesses claim that, despite not seeing his face, they have a sense that the hat man is staring right at them. Furthermore, it would seem that this entity’s sole purpose in visiting people is to make them as uncomfortable and frightened as possible. They normally don’t try to communicate, except for the fact they are emitting bad vibes. Their mere presence alone is enough to make someone feel extremely uncomfortable and even threatened.
|Dale Abbey Archway|
I used the tale of the Baker of Depedale in my latest novel, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy. Dale Abbey is in Derbyshire, the shire in which Jane Austen placed Fitzwilliam Darcy’s magnificent estate of Pemberley. Once known as Dependale, Dale Abbey is three miles SW of Ikleston and six miles NE of Derby. Augustinian monks founded the abbey in the 13th Century.
One of those powers is the idea that those buried on the island do not decay. This comes from the tale of St. Cuthbert. Cuthbert, monk, hermit and Bishop of Lindisfarne, died on 20 March 687. Eleven years after his death the monks went to dig up the body, to translate it into the fine new shrine inside the church, and found, to their astonishment, that his body was incorrupt. Bede, the first English historian, said that Cuthbert was more like a sleeping than a dead man.
418 years after Cuthbert’s death, questions arose as to whether Cuthbert’s body remained undecayed. Therefore, nine monks, led by Prior Turgot, examined the contents of the coffin. The first account of this is in Symeon of Durham’s 'Historia Ecclesiae Dunhelmensis,' written in the 12th Century.
|St. Cuthbert's Coffin|
Two of the monks nervously lifted out the body, and the watchers reported that it sagged, as if alive. A new floor was made for the coffin and Cuthbert’s body replaced. News of the revelation spread quickly amongst those who had been invited for the translation ceremony, but skepticism persisted.
Lindisfarne is a tidal island off the NE coast of England. It is also known as Holy Island and constitutes a civil parish in Northumberland. A causeway connects the island to the mainland of Northumberland and is flooded twice a day by tides–something well described by Sir Walter Scott: “For with the flow and ebb, its style/Varies from continent to isle/ Dry shod o’er sands, twice every day/ The pilgrims to the shrine way/ Twice every day the waves efface/ Of stave and sandaled feet the trace.” This fact played out well in Vampire Darcy’s Desire because Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam chose the island because vampires supposedly cannot cross water. However, a causeway would provide Wickham an escape. Large parts of the island, and all of the adjacent intertidal area, are protected as Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve to help safeguard the internationally important wintering bird population. I did not use the birds in the story line, but I am enthralled with the idea of how the birds return to the island year after year.
I have added several more new and unusual legends to The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy. When you read it, I hope you will think of the way I have previously used distinctive tales in my novels, while you enjoy the reading journey.
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Regina Jeffers, an English teacher for thirty-nine years, considers herself a Jane Austen enthusiast. She is the author of 13 novels, including Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation, The Phantom of Pemberley, Christmas at Pemberley, The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, A Touch of Velvet, and A Touch of Cashémere. A Time Warner Star Teacher and Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, as well as a Smithsonian presenter, Jeffers often serves as a media literacy consultant. She resides outside of Charlotte, NC, where she spends time teaching her new grandson the joys of being a child.
Website – www.rjeffers.com
Twitter - @reginajeffers
Publisher – Ulysses Press
The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy Giveaway!
Would you like to win a copy of The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy? Check out the guidelines below, go to the Rafflecopter form and enter to win!
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