Shannon Winslow - Return to Longbourn

Published Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Coffee with Colette
Good morning, my delightful readers!  I hope your Monday has not sucked the very life out of you because I have a special treat for you today! Joining me for coffee this week is another Austen Author, the lovely and talented Shannon Winslow! She empathizes with all lovers of Pride and Prejudice. Although "(h)appy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters" (I believe Miss Austen had a modifier dangling there, as I doubt "the day" had maternal feelings!), we readers, on the other hand, were not so eager to see the story end! Shannon has taken pity on us - first with her sequel The Darcys of Pemberley, and now with her newest release Return to Longbourn. I know I can't wait to go back as the Darcys' and Bennets' tale continues, and I'm sure you'll agree. So grab a cup of coffee, get an ample serving of Baked Apple Betty; and sit back, relax, and enjoy this time with Shannon!

My third novel just debuted, and I’m on blog tour to get the word out. So thanks, Colette, for inviting me to share my story with your readers!

Years ago, when I started writing novels, I was given two excellent pieces of advice: 1) Write, not necessarily what you know (as the popular saying goes), but what you love. You can always learn what you don’t know, but you can’t fake a passion you don’t feel. 2) Find out what you do best and then do it.

That’s why I write historical fiction in the vein of Jane Austen – because I love it and because I seem to have a natural flare for her language and style. That means no red-hot sex scenes in my books. Sorry. No vampires or zombies either. I’ll leave those things to the authors who do them so well. For me, it’s a more traditional approach. I write what I most wanted to read – more of the kind of stories Jane Austen penned herself.

I began with a sequel to my favorite of her books (Pride and Prejudice) called The Darcys of Pemberley. What a treat it was to live in that world again as I continued Darcy and Elizabeth’s story into marriage, as well as portraying the courtship of Miss Georgiana Darcy. Next, I took on the new challenge of creating an Austenesque novel from scratch. For Myself Alone is my idea of the story our dear Jane might have written next.

Then, I was irresistibly drawn back to Pride and Prejudice as the basis for my newest book, Return to Longbourn. Mary Bennet had been on my mind, you see. Although Jane Austen doesn’t paint a very flattering portrait of her, I thought there might be more to Mary than first meets the eye. I wondered what made her tick. I wondered if she might be redeemable, if she might even have the hidden makings of a heroine.

Yes, Elizabeth is the lively, pert, popular, and beautiful one. She’s the Homecoming queen type, and it’s easy to see how she wins over the handsome and aloof Mr. Darcy. But does that mean there isn’t any hope for those of us more like Mary – socially awkward, somewhat plain, and bookish? “Nonsense!” I say. “Plain girls unite!” I say. “We too deserve our day in the sun!”

Okay, so I’ve gotten carried away again. Over dramatizing is an occupational hazard. As for Mary, though, I thought she deserved at least
one opportunity to shine… and one decent chance at romance. So I saw to it that “fate” gave it to her. Let’s hope Mary doesn’t blow it.

For a decade, one unanswered question had been lurking in a little-attended corner of [Mary’s] subconscious mind. Would she ever receive an offer of marriage, eligible or otherwise? The unacknowledged question had been there right along, but it had seemed as if she had, years past, missed her only reasonable chance. Now fate had stepped in. Fate had seen fit to give her one last opportunity. Was it a kindness or a cruel joke that at the age of eight-and-twenty she was finally receiving a proposal? She would give her answer not knowing which.

Here’s the premise for the book (picking up the story 5 years after the close of The Darcys of Pemberley):

When Mr. Bennet dies, the new heir to Longbourn – Mr. Tristan Collins (younger brother of the unappealing Mr. William Collins, deceased) – travels from America to claim his property. Mrs. Bennet, of course, has already decided that he must be single and he simply must marry one of her daughters. But will it be Mary or Kitty singled out for this dubious honor. When the man in question turns out to be quite a catch after all, the contest between the sisters is on. Which one will be the next mistress of Longbourn? Or will the dark horse in the race come in ahead of them both?

Darcy, Elizabeth, and the rest of the Pride and Prejudice cast are back as Mary emerges from the shadows to take center stage in Return to Longbourn. I hope you’ll read her story. Find out if she’s destined to be a governess forever, or if she overcomes the misfortune of being “plain” to discover love and her own happy ending.


Author Shannon Winslow specializes in writing fiction for the fans of Jane Austen, with three novels and one short story published to date. Her two sons now grown, she lives with her husband in the log home they built south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio, facing Mt. Rainier.

Ms. Winslow’s books are available in paperback, Nook, and Kindle at online booksellers (Amazon, Barnes and Noble).

Follow Shannon at, on Twitter, Facebook, and at Austen Authors.


  1. That's wonderful advice - "write what you love." I'm so thrilled to find another fan of Mary Bennet's, and hope Mary enjoys you adventure for her.

    (And no vampires or zombies for me either. Can't write them, don't love them. XD)

    1. Thanks for your comment, June! Here's another post I wrote about Mary if you're interested:
      - Shannon Winslow
      (can't get my ID to show up right for some reason)

  2. I wish you the best with the release, Shannon.


Post a Comment

The Novels of Colette L. Saucier

Popular posts from this blog

You Like Me! You Really Like Me! Celebrating Facebook Milestone with eBook Giveaways!

Join me for Coffee with Mr Darcy's Dragon author Maria Grace

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!