Sisters, Sarah and Mia Castle haven’t spoken for three years but they’re about to meet again – at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. But what was it that drove them apart and can the magic of Jane Austen help bring them back together again?
‘Connelly peppers her prose with wit and fun but she also tackles tough issues when Sarah and Mia fall for the same man.’ Savvy Verse and Wit
‘This book is required reading for Jane Austen fans … you will not be disappointed. Victoria Connelly does Jane proud.’ Psychotic State
‘Will author Victoria Connelly confirm to us that the right man can indeed become Mr. Darcy Forever? I hope you understand my meaning when I say the 330 pages just evaporated in my hands as I sought the answer.’ Austenprose
‘Victoria has once again woven a tale that I enjoyed from beginning to end. Pick up her Jane Austen Addicts Trilogy today!’ The Calico Critic
‘Readers will be enthralled and captivated by Connelly’s characters and majestic setting.’ Debbie’s Book Bag
‘One phenomenally regaling work that will pass the time splendidly and will soothe your longing for Season 3 of Downtown Abbey. A beautiful, fun and quirky story of sisterhood and romance.’ Whom You Know
‘Connelly has created endearingly flawed characters reminiscent of Austen’s, with all the mistakes and misunderstandings causing laughs and tears.’ Diary of an Eccentric
‘Connelly excelled at drawing me into the story … and reminded me of why I enjoy Austen.’ SOS Aloha
‘This book is not to be missed by any lover of Jane Austen or by anyone looking for a great character story about two sisters and the ups and downs of their relationship.’ Laura’s Reviews
‘Through her enchanting trilogy about Jane Austen addicts, Victoria Connelly takes her readers on a beautiful and vivid sojourn to all the best Austenesque haunts.’ Austenesque
‘Edward Ferrars is such a wimp!’ Mia said through a mouthful of crisps.
‘Edward Ferrars is not a wimp.’
‘How can you say that?’ Mia said, leaning forward in the squashy sofa and throwing a cushion at Sarah who was sitting opposite her. ‘He’s bullied by his sister, he never speaks his mind and he almost loses the woman he loves because of it!’
‘But he’s trying to do the right thing,’ Sarah said. ‘It almost breaks his heart to think that he might lose Elinor but he’s intensely honourable and stands by Lucy Steele even though he knows they’ll be miserable together.’
‘Oh, that’s ridiculous! What sort of a man would marry somebody like Lucy Steele when he’s in love with somebody else?’
‘An honourable man,’ Sarah said. ‘But perhaps honour isn’t something you admire in a man. Perhaps you would have preferred Edward if he’d been more like Willoughby.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean, you’re so easily pleased. All you look for it is a handsome face and a little bit of charm – you’re just like Marianne!’
‘And you’re just like Elinor!’
‘I am not like Elinor,’ Sarah said.
‘You so are! I can’t believe you can’t see it.’
‘I can’t see it because it’s not there to see.’
‘Oh, let’s not have this conversation again!’ Mia groaned. ‘Every time we watch Sense and Sensibility, we always end up fighting.’
‘That’s only because you have no common sense. You’d have forgiven Willoughby, wouldn’t you? You’d have taken him back and had him break your heart all over again.’
‘No I wouldn’t have!’
‘Yes you would!’
Mia stretched to her right and picked up another cushion, throwing it across the room at her sister.
‘Hey!’ Sarah yelped as it hit her on the head. She then grabbed a cushion of her own and hurled it back towards Mia. There then ensued a major cushion fight with both sisters grabbing every piece of soft furnishing they could find.
Finally, Sarah stood up. ‘Enough!’ she bellowed. ‘I can’t breathe!’
Mia fell into a giggling heap on the floor. ‘I haven’t laughed like that in years,’ she said.
‘I think I’ve pulled something in my back,’ Sarah said but she was still laughing. ‘God, I can’t believe I’m thirty. I feel so old.’
‘You’ve always been old,’ Mia said from the carpet.
‘Thanks very much. It’ll come to you soon enough.’
‘No it won’t,’ Mia said. ‘I’m only twenty-one. I’ve got almost a decade on you.’
Sarah’s mouth dropped open. ‘What a thing to say! And just to think I could have invited anyone here.’
‘No you couldn’t have. You haven’t got any friends! Who would put up with you as I do? Nobody – that’s who.’
‘You are a cruel, cruel sister!’
‘No I’m not,’ Mia said. ‘I’m just unrelentingly honest – like Marianne.’
‘Yes, you are like Marianne and that’s your problem,’ Sarah said. She was smiling but Mia knew she wasn’t joking.
‘Well, at least I can relax,’ Mia said.
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean, look at you – we’re on holiday and you’re still dressed as if you’re about to be interviewed.’
Sarah frowned and looked down at the neat pair of cotton trousers she was wearing and the slightly baggy blouse. For her, that was slumming it.
‘You’ve got to learn to relax more.’
‘I am relaxed,’ Sarah said.
Mia sighed. She gave up on her sister – she really did. Mia had taken an early shower and was in a pair of comfy pyjamas. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail and she was half-way through a family-sized bag of crisps. But Sarah didn’t wear night clothes until she was ten minutes from getting into bed.
‘I can’t believe we’re watching Sense and Sensibility in the very cottage where it was filmed!’ Mia said, deciding to change the subject. She didn’t want to fight with Sarah even if it was a good-natured sort of a fight with cushions and everything.
Sarah sat down on the floor next to Mia. ‘I’ve been wanting to bring you here for ages. One of my clients came here with ‘Pride and Prejudice Tours’ and showed me the photos. I couldn’t believe you could actually hire it.’
‘Well, it’s the best birthday present ever!’ Mia said, resting her head on her sister’s shoulder.
There was a sudden knock on the door and the sister’s sprang apart.
‘Oh, my goodness! It’s Willougby! We’ve conjured up the spirit of Willoughby!’ Mia said excitedly, scrambling up from the carpet.
‘What are you doing?’
‘I’m trying to see who it is?’
‘Well, can’t you answer the door properly?’ Sarah said.
‘I can’t answer looking like this!’ Mia said, motioning to her pyjamas.
‘Well, I haven’t got any make-up on!’
‘Oh, I can’t see who it is,’ Mia said.
‘Who on earth could be knocking? We’re in the middle of Devon!’
‘The owner?’ Mia suggested. ‘A mad axe-man?’
‘Don’t even joke about such things.’
Mia jiggled the curtains. ‘It’s no use. I can’t see him.’
‘How do you know it’s a “he”, then?’
‘Just wishful thinking,’ she said.
‘I thought we’d made a pact to swear off men,’ Sarah said. ‘At least for a week.’
Mia shrugged. ‘Those sorts of pacts never last.’
There was a second knock on the door.
‘He’s not giving up whoever he is,’ Mia said and then she dived behind the curtain. ‘Oh, my goodness! I think he saw me!’
‘Is it a he?’
Mia nodded. ‘A young he too.’
Sarah got up from the floor and joined her sister by the curtain before daring to look out of the window herself. ‘What do you think he wanted?’
‘To meet two young beautiful women, of course.’
‘Do you think we should call him back?’
‘I’m still in my pyjamas,’ Mia said.
‘You’re right. We’ll have to hope he calls again. Do you think he will?’
‘I should think so,’ Mia said, little knowing what problems it would cause them.