Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why!
His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?
Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?
Praise for Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen
O’Rourke creates a world that defies cynicism and demands suspension of disbelief – even in this age of doubt and hyper-realism. Sheer escapism at its best. Clever, charming and affectionate.
…the reader must tenaciously read on rather than put the book down to satisfy their hunger for the story to resolve, which it does in characteristically Jane Austen fashion.
In Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, author Sally Smith O’Rourke creates a compelling story that investigates what and who might have inspired Jane Austen. While the story line is certainly far-fetched, it is a truly unique idea, one that captivated this reader until the very last page.
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Sally Smith O’Rourke is a surgical scrub nurse at the City of Hope national cancer research hospital in Duarte, California and resides in the near-by Victorian village of Monrovia.
With her late husband, author Michael O’Rourke (aka F.M. O’Rourke) Smith O’Rourke owned and operated a medical advertising company where she used her diverse talents to produce and co-write teaching films and videos. Working not only with major medical and surgical manufacturing companies but also network television. These endeavors ultimately led to a collaboration on two feature films (direct to video) and three published novels.
The wife and husband writing team of Sally Smith and Michael O’Rourke, being long-time fans of Jane Austen, wrote The Man Who Loved Jane Austen released by Kensington Books in 2006. Kensington followed that very successful effort with The Maidenstone Lighthouse in 2007 and Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009, both also collaborative projects by Smith and O’Rourke. Published after her partner and spouse’s untimely death in 2001, the publisher chose not to use the names Michael O’Rourke and Sally Smith (as the manuscripts were presented), releasing all three books under Sally Smith O’Rourke.
Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen is Sally Smith O’Rourke’s first solo novel.
Eliza didn’t know who painted the portrait of Fitz’s ancestor, Rose Darcy, but it was an exquisite example of Federalist era portraiture. She glanced at the dress hanging on the door of the armoire, another exquisite example of the era. She had worn it to the ball last night. It was the same gown Rose was wearing in the portrait. The tiny embroidered rose buds all over the delicate pink silk were just as lively today as they had been then. She laughed out loud. “Lively” was a Jane Austen kind of word, she thought. But then the whole weekend had been like falling into a Jane Austen novel. It’s the kind of story you tell your grandchildren, and she would... if she ever had any.
The painted gaze of the Darcy matriarch followed her as she crossed the rose bedroom to the bathroom. She had no idea how she’d managed to rationalize to herself not brushing her teeth before she went to bed, but she did and her mouth was all fuzzy and tasted as yucky as it felt. Using more toothpaste than necessary, she scrubbed her mouth with vigor. That done, she slathered on cleansing cream (because her grandmother told her never to use soap on her face) to remove the sticky, crusted on make-up she’d also managed to rationalize away last night.
Rinsing the shampoo out of her hair she stood in the shower tiled with hand painted roses which were obviously not original to the two hundred year old house, and let the pulsating water pound her back and neck. She’d slept well unlike the night before and actually felt rested and relaxed for the first time in weeks.
The counter in the bathroom held several small etched glass bottles of liquid soap, lotion and body spray; all lavender fragranced. She was surprised but rather glad that it wasn’t rose and used the body spray all over including her hair. She slipped on the jeans she’d worn the day before along with the only clean shirt she had with her. She ran the brush through her hair and put on just a touch of blush and pink lip gloss. She gave her hair one last spritz of lavender, and then set the bottle down on the weathered marble counter.
In the bedroom she looked at the portrait of the Darcy Grand Dame that hung over a naturally patinated copper bathtub. What she wouldn’t give to see the look on Fitz’ face to find her in the tub with rose petals floating atop warm water. Would he join her as Willie did Rose? In the bright light of morning it suddenly became a real question not just a fantasy. What was their relationship?
They’d held hands, danced and he had kissed her once but that was all there was to the relationship. It had been so long since she’d allowed herself an emotional connection to anyone outside the family that she wasn’t at all sure what the signs were. Was she reading him right, did he like her as much as she liked him? Was he simply being a southern gentleman? Or was he just being nice because she gave him the letter? The memory of his kiss last night made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. It definitely wasn’t a kiss of simple appreciation; but was it any more than a kiss?
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