A Touch of Night, by Sarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski is today’s free offering. It will remain free until 9 am CST tomorrow. (Note: this offer is good only through our web store).
Sarah A. Hoyt and Sofie Skapski have taken Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and adapted it to give us a rip-roaring tale of were-dragons, English drawing rooms and so much more. This is an England where magic reigns and being a shape-shifter is the only crime that warrants immediate execution.
Netherfield is let at last!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man of clean lineage and respectable fortune must be in need of a wife.
Upon entering any country neighborhood, this man will be viewed as the rightful property of this or that daughter of the local families and each one will make haste to claim him by all means available within the bounds of propriety.
“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to this gentleman, over tea in the small blue parlor of the Longbourne house. “Have you heard that Netherfield is let at last?”
Ensconced in his comfortable chair by the fire, book grasped firmly in hands and gaze set on said book with equal firmness, the gentleman replied without looking up, “No, I have not.”
His second daughter, Elizabeth, recovering from a startled tremble thanked the heavens he’d missed her reaction. Doubtless his book was too engrossing to allow him to notice such insignificant creatures as people.
That her mother didn’t realize Elizabeth had shaken and spilled the best portion of her teacup all over her saucer did not surprise the girl. Dutiful daughter though she tried to be, she entertained no illusions about her mother, who was a woman of mean understanding and little education. Mrs. Bennet’s life work was the marriage of her five daughters, its solace visiting and gossip.
So, Lizzy set about cleaning her saucer, while listening to her mother.
“Do you not want to know who has taken it?” Mrs. Bennet asked her husband, impatiently.
“You wish to tell me and I have no objection to hearing it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, my dear. Mrs. Long says it has been taken by a young man of large fortune from the North of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four and was so much delighted with the place that he settled on the price immediately. He’s taking possession immediately and his servants have been busy about the place for a week.”
“The North of England,” Mr. Bennet said, looking over his book with such a grave expression only the daughter who understood him best could discern the impish twinkling in his eyes. “A well known place for blood lines that throw out a were every other generation.”
“A were!” Mrs. Bennet said in startled alarm. “I hope not. Our neighborhood has never had any of the foul fiends, and I swear my nerves will carry me off if a were-beast were to settle within easy distance of us!”
“I daresay,” Mr. Bennet said, his expression graver and the twinkle in his eyes more pronounced. “That they have to live somewhere.”
“Oh, no, Mr. Bennet, they must not,” his wife said. “For you know the law says they are to be killed at once.”
“Only if caught, Mrs. Bennet, only if caught.” . . . .