This week’s snippet is taken from my short story Her Particular Friend (see what I did there?) which comes out in standalone ebook in 4 days’ time. This story, which first appeared in the anthology A Certain Persuasion, is a sequel to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, set around a decade after the book’s end.
I always felt vivacious antagonist Mary Crawford was a far more interesting character than priggish heroine Fanny Price, and here have her meeting Fanny’s younger sister Susan for the first time in Bath:
Miss Price took a breath, and appeared to straighten her back, although indeed her posture needed no correction. “Perhaps you would be so good as to tell me your name, so that when I write, I may remember you to her?”
“Oh, have I neglected to mention it? How very careless of me. But of course. I am Mrs Lynd – now widowed, alas. But formerly I was Mary Crawford, of Mansfield Parsonage.”
Miss Susan Price, it seemed, was made of sterner stuff than her elder sister. Her jaw did not drop; she did not swoon; her eyes widened but a fraction and her gasp was barely audible.
Nonetheless, as Mary inclined her head and glided away, she found herself entirely pleased with the consternation she had caused.
Don’t forget to check out the rainbow snippets Facebook group for more little excerpts from a whole host of talented authors.
Her Particular Friend
When Susan Price leaves Mansfield Park to accompany her aunt, Lady Bertram, to take the waters in Bath, she little expects to meet an old “friend” of the family. Initially scandalised, Susan finds herself drawn to the former Mary Crawford, now a widow, Mrs Lynd.
Mary has lost none of her playful spirit in the ten years since her family’s acquaintance with the Bertrams ended amid elopement and scandal. Her interest, first piqued by Susan’s resemblance to her older sister Fanny, only grows on discovering Susan’s very different character.
But Lady Bertram will surely never countenance Susan’s intimacy with the woman whose brother caused her daughter’s disgrace—and Mary’s true identity cannot be kept a secret forever.
Due out 23rd October from JMS Books