Monday, 31 August 2015

Jane By the Sea by Carolyn Murray - Excerpt & Giveaway!

With so many JAFF books based on Jane Austen's novels, I love it when Jane herself takes centre
When author Carolyn V. Murray contacted me about her debut novel 'Jane By the Sea' 
Jane Austen's Love Story,  I was immediately captivated by the beautiful book cover and intrigued to know more. After reading several excerpts I was laughing at the wit and borderline sarcasm Jane displayed. Whether or not Jane Austen's character was quite as feisty as this, on reading this portrayal, I could not help but think of Elizabeth Bennet with her quick wit and Emma Woodhouse, who although naive, could not help but express her opinion. Since writing this post, Voltage Pictures has announced that 'Jane By the Sea' will be brought to the big screen, so watch this space!


Very little is known about the young man that Jane Austen met during a seaside holiday in 1800. Her sister was later to say that she believed this young man was falling in love with Jane and was someone she felt was truly worthy of her sister. What transpired that summer? Perhaps it happened this way …

Jane begins her search for love with giddy optimism, but her first encounter proves devastating. The young Irishman who captured her heart is convinced by his family that marrying a penniless clergyman’s daughter would be a terrible mistake. Though she knows herself to be cherished by her family, she is mortified to learn that she has no value in the eyes of the society she lives in, certainly not in the marriage economy.
She can wallow in despair (indeed, she must, as a first measure.) But then she is obliged to accept the unforgiving rules of society that have established her low ranking, embrace the advantages of spinsterhood, and resolve never again to succumb to false hope, romantic delusions, and pathetic heartbreak.

Lieutenant Frederick Barnes is on medical leave from the Royal Navy. By the time he crosses paths with Jane, she has lost her faith in love and is determined to protect her heart at all costs.But the Lieutenant is captivated and equally determined. How is he to break through her defenses and persuade her to believe in happy endings?

Miss Stent’s cottage was filled with considerable clutter; although I was sure she regarded most of these items as treasured keepsakes. And a certain odour in the air that always seemed to signify old age. Poor Martha. She was four and thirty and did not need such a bleak reminder of the solitude and poverty that lay ahead.

Miss Stent herself was the absolute picture of spinsterhood perfected. And I feared that she regarded the three of us as her protégé whom she could happily lend a guiding hand. She shared some specifics of bread and stew recipes that would generate quantity appropriate for a single individual. And she had much to say on the subject of mending clothes, for ladies in “our” circumstance should almost never waste money on new fabric, there no longer being need to impress. My vanity bristled. I should hope I was a good many years from no longer caring about what I look like. Cassie, of course, was attentive and gracious. She shouldered the burden of the evening until Miss Stent was at last ready to retire. Our hostess assured us there were more lessons of economy to come, as well as instruction on a few new embroidery stitches. With those alarming threats, she finally made her exit.

“I insist you be flattered, Martha,” I declared emphatically. “For look at what we endure for the pleasure of your company.”
“Shhhh…” Cassie cautioned.
“It is bad enough to be a spinster, but must they also be pathetic and dull? Can they not exert themselves?” I continued.
“Where is your charity?” Cassie chided. “She does harm to no one.”
“But she is an ugly foreshadowing that turns my heart cold. We may all come to be Miss Stents ourselves … unequal to anything and unwelcome to everybody,” I declared.
Martha reminded me that I had always said it was better to wind up alone than to be in a loveless marriage. I could not deny it. I had always clung to those lofty ideals. What I did not always take into account is that single women have a dreadful propensity for being poor.
Martha confessed, “I fear destitution as well. More than I have ever discussed. But it need not be your fate, Jane. If you truly desire security, I hear there is a candidate who would be happy to oblige … and no, do not blame Cassandra, for it was Mrs. Lefroy who has kept me informed.”
“Martha, you dispose of me without hesitation. When you know that a stupid man would be the end of me.”
“Jane, I am coming to think that love is a luxury, and one that is outside our budget. In order to avoid a future of poverty, perhaps you should be willing to endure something less than ideal,” Martha suggested.
“Do not make light of what must be endured. Reverend Blackall … in his nightrobe … ready to exercise his conjugal privileges!”
Cassie tried to silence me, but, in all truth, if I could not broach the subject in this company, how was I ever to work it out? For if marriage consisted only of a series of platonic meetings over teas and suppers, I supposed I could reconcile myself to just about any partner. But the physical intimacies … did they not demand that a husband be handsome and worthy of respect, as a bare minimum requirement for marital happiness? If a woman settled for less, would she not approach every nightly encounter with dread?
“If the time comes, we shall find ourselves capable of enduring what millions of our sex have suffered, and with little complaint,” Martha advised.
I objected. “Suffer? Why should we suffer? The ladies who became acquainted with Tom Jones did not seem to be suffering…Yes, yes, I know it is a fiction, but torn from real life, surely. If it were not … enjoyable … why so much adultery?”

Neither Cassie nor Martha could formulate an answer. Our discussion certainly would have benefitted from the inclusion of a lady with more expertise than ourselves. But I was able to turn their ignorance and squeamishness to my advantage. There was no more talk of Reverend Blackall that night.

Thank you Carolyn, for kindly sharing an excerpt with us today and for your generous giveaway!!
There are so little films that are Austen related that I look forward to adding a new addition to my collection. Good luck with your début Jane By the Sea!

Giveaway Time!!!!

Let me know what you thought of the excerpt or just say hi to the author.

The Giveaway is open internationally!! 
1 x e-book & 1 x paperback  
The Winners will be announced on 7th September 2015.
(Winners have 48hours to claim their prize before new winners are picked)

Good luck Everyone!!!!

As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!


  1. Having read and loved another author's version of Jane Austen's love story I am interested to read and compare this to that one. I am sure we all have regrets for her shortened life without a known love.

    1. Indeed, I dearly wish she would have had a happily ever after. I hope this book has a happy ending. By the way what was the other book?
      Good luck!

  2. I loved the excerpt!! “It is bad enough to be a spinster, but must they also be pathetic and dull?" Made me lol :-D

    1. Indeed Jo! All the excerpts I've read so far have had me laughing. Good luck in the giveaway!

  3. It's so sad Jane never married so books like these are great so lets hope she gets a HE thanks for the giveaway!

  4. the excerpt was funny I hope they make the movie


Thank you! Your comments are always welcome