When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it's up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she's the only one who knows that Jane exists!
Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…
But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.
Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It's not worth living in!Praise for The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen'This book was just so much fun to read.' Reader Review
'A fabulous book, beautifully written. I shall be buying more from these authors.' Reader Review
'This story has adventure, charming characters and a unique premise. It's a great romcom historical fiction read.' Reader Review
'The story was different from anything I've read recently and really captured my attention. It was so well written and the characters were fantastic.' Reader Review
'I absolutely loved this novel. I started reading it assuming it was a straightforward romance so was really pleasantly surprised with the unpredictable twists that this book contained.' Reader Review
About the Author
Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.
She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.
There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.
A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read - heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her patient husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
Read an Excerpt
Jane Austen was dead to begin with, you see. As dead as Jacob Marley; as a dodo; as Monty Python's parrot – she, too, was no more; had ceased to be.
If people knew nothing else about her, or her life, they knew this irrefutable fact. Not once in two hundred years had she drawn breath or set foot on this earth.
Rosemary Wallace, twenty-seven years old and a dedicated Jane Austen fan, knew this too. It saddened her when she had reason to dwell on it, but today was not one of those days. On this day, she emerged at the top of the steps from her basement flat in Bath, delighting in the autumnal air and the dappled sunlight as it caressed the trees in Sydney Gardens opposite.
Setting off with a determined step, Rose ran through her 'to-do' list in her head. It was one of her busiest days of the year – definitely the worst day for oversleeping. It had been inevitable, though, with the smoke alarm in the flat above going off soon after she'd closed her eyes and then being too excited to fall back to sleep. Rose laughed under her breath. She supposed the lack of sleep and the giddiness could account for her thinking she saw a young woman in full Regency costume disappear into thin air when she was taking rubbish to the bin earlier.
Pausing on the pavement for a moment to cross the road, Rose glanced at her watch. She had meant to be at her desk long before now. Tomorrow was the start of the annual Jane Austen Festival, and she was expecting an influx of holidaymakers today, as well as the long-awaited arrival of her friend, Morgan Taylor, from America.
Rose's mobile began its tuneful melody, and she glanced at the screen as she hurried across Pulteney Bridge, then accepted the call.
'Morgan, hi! Have you landed?'
'Hi! Yes; I'm still on the tarmac. They don't seem to have a spot for us yet. I've tried telling them to just open up the emergency slide and I'll make a run for it, but they don't think I'm funny.'
Rose grinned. 'How was your flight?'
'Great. So many accents. Everyone was too polite to tell me to shut up – it was glorious. So I'll get on the train and call you when I'm close.'
'Yes, perfect. I wish I could meet you at the station rather than your apartment, but it's a manic day of —'
'Don't even worry about me! I'll find my way. See you in a bit ... Can you believe it?'
Rose couldn't. Her heart was more full than she could possibly express. 'Why didn't we do this sooner?'
A rustling noise came down the phone – Morgan getting her things together. 'Because you had an idiot fiancé who didn't like me or want us to spend time together – or for you to spend time with anyone but him, come to that.' Rose's brows rose as Morgan paused. 'Did I say that out loud?'
Laughing, Rose waved at a friend as she passed a local deli. 'Yes, you did.'
'Sorry.' Morgan's voice softened. 'I'm just a little hyper – I didn't hurt your feelings, did I?'
Rose took a moment to reflect on the four-year relationship she'd ended in January. No, definitely no sense of regret.
'Morgan, it's been months now. I think any feelings associated with Jonathan are so far behind me, I can't even remember why I was with him in the first place.'
'Honestly, I think you thought you had a cranky Mr Darcy type on your hands that you could turn around when really you just had a normal jerk.' Rose laughed again. 'Hey, they're making an announcement; I'd better pay attention. Cheerio!'
Vowing not to teach Morgan any more English sayings, Rose tucked the phone back into her pocket before hurrying her steps again. If all went to plan, she would finish for lunch just as Morgan's train arrived, and the two friends would meet in person for the first time in their more than seven-year friendship.
A sense of anticipation urged Rose along, and before she knew it she was entering the building on Queen Square where she worked.
'Thank goodness you're here.'
'Yes, sorry; best-laid plans and all that.' Rose dropped her bag onto her chair and walked over to the man seated at the large desk under the window. 'What's up?'
James Malcolm, owner of Luxury Lettings of Bath and Rose's boss, leaned back in his chair, stretching his long arms above his head for a moment before sitting forward and waving a hand towards the empty desk opposite.
'Guess who can't come in today because of a bug?'
Rose blew out a breath. 'Bad timing.' She hurried into the kitchenette and set the kettle to boil. A strong coffee would sort James out.
'Let's have a drink, and then I'll check how we stand.'
The morning whisked by in a whirlwind of phone calls, but still, some part of Rose was keeping a close eye on the time, and when her mobile rang she snatched it up eagerly. 'Morgan? Are you here?'
'Um ... no.'
Rose stood up, moving towards the door. 'What do you mean? Was the train delayed?' She stepped out onto the landing to continue the call in more privacy.
'My train seems to be heading toward the wrong Spa.'
Rose frowned. 'How? I mean, where are you exactly – do you know?'
Morgan recounted a spiralling story of exactly how she'd ended up on a train to Leamington Spa rather than Bath Spa, and when she'd first realised her error.
'Okay. Get off at the next stop. Look for trains to Reading. You'll be able to pick up the one running between London and Bristol there, and Bath is a stop on that line. Just get on it and then text me.'
'Okay.' Rose did some quick calculations in her head. 'Morgan?'
'Don't fall asleep on the train.'
'Not a problem. I'll find someone to talk to.'
Muttering a quick prayer for that poor, unsuspecting person, Rose hastily rearranged her day as she went back into the office.
With hindsight, it was lucky Morgan's arrival had been delayed. Being one man down, neither she nor James had chance for a break at lunchtime, but even as she fielded calls, organised Kathy, the part-timer who helped with check-ins, and liaised with various people to ensure everything went as smoothly as possible, Rose could feel an aura of contentment hovering. The festival was always the highlight of her year, both at work and leisure. Add in Morgan's imminent arrival, and nothing could dent her mood.
As if on cue, her mobile pinged: a text from Morgan, proudly stating she'd managed to get on the train running between Bristol and London – only it was clear from what Morgan wrote she was going in the wrong direction.
Shaking her head in bemusement, Rose tapped in more instructions.
Get off at the next stop. Then, she added: Don't you have trains in America?
Sure we do.
Have you ever used them?
Not really. I tried the subway in DC once. Eventually I just gave up and took a cab.
Why didn't you tell me you had trouble with directions?
Because I don't have trouble with directions. I just have trouble following them. Oo – I'm getting off the train again. Stay tuned. Okay, 8 minutes. I've got it now, I'm sure of it. Should be there just before 3.
You got it, boss.
Rose looked over at James, who was eyeing her with concern. 'Actually, no. One of today's arrivals is delayed again.'
'This is the Laura Place check-in? Your friend?'
Rose nodded. Despite all her reorganisation, they now had two apartments due to receive guests at three.
Rose sighed. 'Just when you think everything is going to go like clockwork.' She glanced at the sheet, noting the addresses and likewise the difficulty of checking Morgan in three hours later than planned near Pulteney Bridge and another booking due to check in on the Royal Crescent at exactly the same time.
Then she shrugged. 'It can't be helped Roger's gone down with a bug; at least we didn't pick it up.'
James got to his feet. 'I'm getting tired of his games. The only thing he will have picked up will be yet another girl.'
Rose walked over to the small kitchenette and flicked the switch on the kettle again; he was probably right. Roger was quite the ladies' man – or so he thought – but James had little tolerance for his shenanigans, being pretty anti-romance since his recent break-up.
Rose looked over her shoulder when there was no reply. James had gone to stand at the window overlooking the square. He was a striking figure, tall with broad shoulders and a head of light brown hair that had a tendency to become more and more disarrayed as the day progressed, depending on his level of stress.
He turned around. 'Sorry. Miles away. Tea, please, or I'll be bouncing off the walls.'
When Rose came back with the drinks, he had returned to his desk and was thumbing through a presentation, one with which she was very familiar. She had typed it up, made his many alterations and had then listened to him practise it, honing it to fit into the precise fifteen-minute slot allocated by Williams & Stock. She knew how important it was to James to pitch for a newly renovated landmark building on the Paragon, one that would suit their present portfolio and might lift his small company into something so much more substantial. The fact that the property had once been lived in by Jane Austen's aunt and uncle, and was somewhere she had often stayed, was what had drawn it to Rose's attention.
She had worked hard to develop a niche market for visitors to the city since she'd joined Luxury Lettings, and had always kept James informed of any apartments becoming available in buildings associated with Jane Austen, be it her visits on holiday, her residency or the two novels with key Bath associations, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. She also arranged their marketing around significant dates throughout the year that might attract fans, such as the summer Regency costumed ball and the annual Music & Literature Festival.
Placing the mug a safe distance from the precious presentation, she returned to her own desk to answer another call. More guests, ahead of time, now due to arrive at three instead of four. Thankfully, this booking was close to one of the others, but all the same ...
The ping of her mobile drew her attention: a new message from Morgan. It was a selfie with a fellow train passenger in which Morgan was proudly pointing to the digital readout above her head proclaiming 'Bath Spa'.
Julian (new friend!) says Bath is the next stop.
Rose assessed the difficulty of now being in three places at once. She could only make it work if ... she glanced over at James, who was mouthing words under his breath as he flicked through his presentation. It was a long time since her boss had had to do a meet-and-greet, and he was hardly in the right frame of mind.
Well, there was nothing for it, and the worst of it all was it meant she would have to sacrifice checking her own friend in. Rose glanced at her watch. It was already approaching half past two. If she was going to make this work, she had to act quickly.
She cleared her throat. 'Er, James?'
No response. Getting to her feet, she walked over to stand in front of his desk and finally he looked up.
'Sorry, but there's a problem. With one earlier than planned arrival and one later, we're triple booked for three o'clock. You'll have to do one of these check-ins.'
James frowned. 'Are you joking? I have to be at Williams & Stock's by four.'
'Yes, yes, I know. It's just that I can't possibly do all three of these,' Rose hastened to explain her dilemma. 'Kathy's already fully scheduled for the rest of the day, and they're too far apart for one person to cover.'
James blew out a breath, then nodded. 'Go ahead, what do you want me to do?'
A wave of relief washed over Rose. 'It won't impact on your meeting at all. Here, look.' She turned to rummage through the papers on her desk, then placed a booking form in front of him.
'Morgan Taylor – this is your American?' He looked up with a smirk. 'You've kept that close to your chest! I thought it was a girl friend.'
'She is, and she's now due to arrive at Laura Place around three. It's five minutes' walk from Williams & Stock's office, giving you plenty of time to get there for four. She's five minutes away from the station, which means it should all come together perfectly.'
'Hmmm, okay. Well, you'd best call the other two arrivals and see if one of them is okay to wait half an hour. Aiden would be best, he's a regular.'
Rose paled; with the fracas over Morgan's arrival, she'd almost forgotten about who was arriving that afternoon. 'Couldn't you call him? He's a mate, isn't he?'
James looked at his watch. 'No time – if I'm doing this, I'd best get going.' He grabbed his presentation and placed it carefully into his briefcase, pocketed his mobile and took the booking form from her.
'Her mobile number's on there, though I'm sure you won't need it.' Rose hurried to the key cabinet and selected the right ones before opening the cupboard against the back wall and pulling out three sturdy carrier bags.
'Here.' She handed one to James, along with the keys. 'Remember you need to put these out in the kitchen before she arrives. Oh, and good luck with the presentation!'
He pocketed the keys, took the bag and turned for the door. 'Thank you; let's hope I don't need it.'
As he left the room, Rose dashed to the door and called down the stairs. 'James! Morgan is one of my best friends. Try and be nice.'
The only response was the sound of the door to the street as it closed behind him.CHAPTER 2
Rose hurried into the small cloakroom and quickly pinned back a couple of loose curls, applied a clear gloss to her lips and straightened her neat, formal jacket. Then she eyed her reflection warily. It would have to do.
Grabbing the other two carrier bags and the keys, she slung her bag over her shoulder and flew down the stairs, trying to call Morgan, but the number just rang out and didn't even go to voicemail. Then with a yelp she saw the warning message now flashing on her screen: low battery. Frustrated with herself, Rose sighed. She was forever forgetting her charger; how could she not have thought about it this morning?
Walking out into the street, both carrier bags on one arm, she quickly selected Dr Trevellyan from her list of contacts, hoping her phone would hold out, then paused on the edge of the kerb, waiting for a break in the traffic before skipping across the road as a car slowed to let her cross.
Hoping the call would go to voicemail, Rose hurried towards the far side of the square and the useful shortcut to the area around the Royal Crescent. Her rapid breathing she put down to the pace she was making, but as she reached the gravel walk, the tone ceased and a voice spoke, close in her ear: a deep, masculine tone causing her throat to tighten.
'He-hello? Is that Dr Trevellyan?'
She could feel the old, familiar sensations returning, could picture his face, and she drew in a deep breath to steady her voice. 'Hi. It's Rose Wallace from Luxury Lettings. Dr Trevellyan, I'm so sorry; I'm running a little late. Do you still plan on arriving at three?' Please remember me, her heart pleaded.
'I'm here now.' He always was a man of few words.
Rose set off along the walk at a rapid pace. 'At the property? I'm so sorry. I thought you were coming at three.'
He muttered something unintelligible, then added, 'No, I meant in Bath.'
'Oh!' Feeling foolish, Rose continued. 'Well, um, would it be okay if we met a little later at the flat; say, half-three?' There was silence. 'I – I really am incredibly sorry to inconvenience you ...'
'No problem.' The line went dead before she could say anything further, and Rose shoved her mobile back in her pocket, intent on reaching the first apartment in time to check it over and lay out the welcome produce for the incoming guests.
Twenty minutes later, she was out of the door and walking briskly back towards the Royal Crescent, pausing on the corner to check her phone again. Had Morgan arrived in Bath now? She hoped everything was going okay with James. There were no messages or missed calls, only the worrying small sliver of red indicating what was left of her battery life.
Rose felt a momentary unease filter through her mind. Surely James wouldn't mention to Morgan precisely who Rose was checking in instead of her friend?
Morgan, of course, knew all about Dr Trevellyan and Rose's ... silliness about him. Not that Rose had had any intention of letting anyone know about her crush, but Morgan had a way about her, a warmth and friendliness that encouraged people to admit to things they didn't intend to. Now she just had to hope that if it did come up, Morgan would have the sense not to let any reaction slip in front of James. Even though they had never met in person, they had had sufficient interactions through social media and phone calls for Rose to understand Morgan was not known for her subtlety.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen"
Copyright © 2016 Ada Bright and Cass Grafton.
Excerpted by permission of Canelo Digital Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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