Colonel Brandon’s Widow and Willoughby
by Marianna Green
GENRE: romance historical Jane Austen sequel
Brandon, the former Marianne Dashwood, is now a widow, and not yet twenty-five.
Her former admirer Willoughby is as unhappily married as ever, and the thought that she is free to marry again drives him to distraction. He has continued in his dissolute lifestyle, which Marianne abhors, while his wife Sophia’s life has been poisoned by jealousy of Marianne.
Marianne urges him that the only possibility of happiness for Willoughby and his wife is for him to give up his empty pursuit of pleasure – but now the Colonel is gone, Marianne finds that she can no longer push aside thoughts of Willoughby easily herself; she must find some way of occupying her own empty hours. Willoughby retains his rascally charm, which an older and wiser Marianne is determined to resist; Elinor and Edward are as astute as ever, while Sir John and Lady Middleton are as foolish. Mrs. Jennings remains determined to marry off all her associates as before, while Sophia Willoughby is even more sour as the wife of the man she wanted, and Willoughby’s friends are suitably cynical rakes.
This sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ strives to emulate some of the light ironic touch of the inimitable style of Jane Austen; it is both funny and sad, and is told as dark comedy.
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The union of the Willoughbys’ only resembled that of the Brandons’ in being childless. Unlike the latter couple, they had no common interests to compensate, unless an unfortunate tendency to over indulge in wine and other stimulants could count as a mutual source of diversion. It is true that they did share in common a manner of relating to each other that involved raised voices behind slammed doors, angry silences and periods of cold civility; but this shared inclination brought them no closer together.
It could be further urged on their behalf , that in this conduct, they provided society with the diversion of much talk, and their staff with constant entertainment; – for Willoughby’s confidential valet knew all about his improper pursuits, while his wife’s lady’s maid could recount how Mrs Willoughby had cursed him for a fortune hunting libertine in full hearing of the servants, and of how savagely he had kicked shut her sitting room door before retorting that, ‘Devil take it, in his whole worthless life, he had only cared for Mrs Brandon, and he’d be damned if he pretended anything else to please a scolding…’
But the reader does not wish to hear any more of this. Seemingly their staff lacked any discretion, and soon enough, the content of the Willoughbys’ exchanges leaked out into polite society, which showed still less decorum in repeating them assiduously. Many a man had dined out for a month on his knowledge of episodes that ought to have been cloaked in decent silence, and Miss Steele was one of many maiden ladies agog for the latest outrage…
“Not another word, damn it!” he exclaimed, coming again to a stop and turning on her in a fury she had never seen in him before. “I cannot endure to hear this from you, of all people. As to my wife, it must come to a separation; we are so at each other’s throats. Then, Mrs. Brandon, you recommend to me a life devoted to duty?” He stood breathing quickly, while unseen by either of them, a hare bolted across their path. Willoughby’s normally fractious mount did not even notice. Throughout their talk, it had showed remarkable patience at being stopped and started at every other minute, and now stood gently waving its ears, almost as if it felt for its master’s desperation.
He rushed on, “No doubt that is how you plan to waste your youth and beauty. No, I cannot find comfort in a life devoted to good works. Mrs. Smith’s tenants must go to the hell in a handcart along with their master, when he comes to inherit. Lord, but I am well served for my former misdeeds and treachery.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Marianna Green is lives in the UK, has a geekish fascination with English Literature and History, and an irrepressible sense of humour.
Book is currently on sale for 99 cents!
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Marianna Green will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.