Every weekday (Monday through Friday) for the month of December I will spotlight a story here on my blog. Yes, this is 17 days of Christmas book browsing. And on Christmas Eve I will announce the lucky winner (at least two that I know of right now). The person who leaves the most comments throughout the month will receive their choice of any one of the books spotlighted. That's from me. Other prizes are being offered by the individual authors.
Well, Ms. Briggs, I'm sure I've caught you by surprise since even I wasn't sure what story I was going to spotlight today. I must admit, this little romance intrigued me from the start with it's old world flair and mysterious pinings, so I thought I would take a moment to share it with some friends. So without further ado, here's a glimpse of Christmas with Miss Austen.
Julia Allen is a waitress by day, painter by night, and…a famous 1800s authoress on weekends?
Moonlighting as Jane Austen for a historical open house is a strange hobby for a contemporary artist, but Julia loves the role–until she falls asleep and gets locked inside after all the visitors are gone! Rushing home from the dark, historical mansion, she collides with a stranger in the snowy park, and discovers later her shortcut cost her the rare copy of Austen’s Northanger Abbey borrowed from a friend’s treasured collection.
Book historian Eliot Weston thinks he imagined the Regency-era figure, but the book he finds in her wake proves otherwise. The first edition of Jane Austen’s novel is authentic and incredibly rare, but he fails to find any trace of its owner. Reminders of the unusual encounter keep popping up, however, like the pretty modern artist eager to buy an identical volume. Coincidence? Or Divine intervention making it clear this is anything but an ordinary Christmas for these two hearts?
Doesn't that just sound wonderfully different? I love the hint of "Old World" flair!
The cool wind ruffled Julia’s curled hair beneath her bonnet, as she pulled the door shut firmly, listening to make sure the newly-turned lock caught. She crossed her fingers that it would be safe enough until tomorrow’s volunteers arrived. She gathered her skirts, hurried down the steps, and towards home.
The other downtown buildings and shops were illuminated by old-fashioned street lamps, the posts already festooned in holly boughs and red ribbons for the Christmas season. Paper snowflakes and stars dangled from business awnings, while an impressive, hand-carved wooden nativity served as the town square’s centerpiece.
Her rented house was only five minutes away, but she would reach it faster if she cut across Delaford Park. Wrapping her costume closely around her, she stepped over the low fence line and waded through the thin layer of snow towards the main path. The city park seemed a little less welcoming in the after-dark hours. Dear Lord, please don’t let any muggers be lying in wait, she prayed, her pulse quickening with the pace of the winter breeze.
Slipping beneath the sprawling branches of an old sycamore, Julia hopped over the snowdrift onto the main path. She gasped as a tall, masculine figure appeared head-on in the gloom, his features obscured by the shadows as his body collided with hers.
"Excuse me." An apologetic male voice said as a hand reached out to steady her. But she was already past him, casting a fleeting glance over her shoulder as she hurried along.
Her heart slammed against her chest as she breathed. Just keep walking. Her ears caught the sound of his voice again, but the words were lost on the wind. Should she have stopped? Going on was rude, perhaps, but her nerves shrank from facing a stranger in such a lonely spot. Not to mention explaining why she was roaming the streets of twenty-first century Delaford dressed like a character from Pride and Prejudice.
This is one of those stories that’s a crossover from bygone days to contemporary (without time travel). I can well imagine lovers of historical titles would enjoy this as much as contemporary fans (of which I am one).
Julia Allen is a women of many talents and interests. Waitress by day, artist by night, and historical actress on weekends, what a combination! But somehow, this strange mix suits her as we get to know Julia with all her quirky leanings and insecurities. What an interesting character to delve into! Thank goodness most of the story is through her eyes! I probably never would have figured out what was going on otherwise!
And poor Doctor Weston, trying his best to do what’s right, and being misunderstood because of it. They'll make the perfect mismatched pair if they can ever get on the same page!
Loved the story!