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“Someday some lark is gonna spell you with a song Will Darcy She’ll call you with music and you’ll be as good as lost”In the autumn of 1948 young millionaire Will Darcy comes to the sleepy backwater town of Meryton South Carolina to visit his best friend Charles Bingley When Darcy becomes enchanted by a local beauty with a heavenly voice his business dealings with Longbourn Farms may close the door to his romantic hopes before they are given a chance to thriveStill healing from heartbreak Elizabeth Bennet takes solace in her family home and the tight knit community of Meryton That foundation is shaken when Will Darcy makes a successful offer to buy the family farm Blinded by hurt will Elizabeth miss the chance to find in him the peace and comfort her heart truly needs?Confronting the racial economic and social ineualities of the times Longbourn’s Songbird is an imaginative romance inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride Prejudice and told through the lens of postwar America a story layered with betrayal and loss love and letting goWinner 2017 Silver IPPY Award

10 thoughts on “Longbourns Songbird

  1. says:

    A story set in the late '40's American South all by itself would have been enough to grab my britches but stir in Jane Austen's Pride Prejudice story and my interest rose to a fever pitch This was one of those stories that doesn't easy one in and let them get comfortable It grasps one by the senses I laughed I sighed I nearly cried and I had moments of despair and triumph I absolutely could not put this book down It was a romance and a re telling but it was also so much I felt like it was the story of several women that happen to have romantic entanglements or at least erotic encounters as they find their way clear to their own brand of happiness Not that the men don't play good interesting roles too but this was where my mind focused and how it processed the storySo I'm going to do a bit of something different with my summary I'm going to summarize the gals that caught my attention and made me feel oh so many things Bear with my uirksThere is Lizzie Bennet spitfire and non conformist who has lost her way She is content with her home on the farm her family and her simple life until one Fitzwilliam Darcy jostles her out of her fog and gets her good and angry enough to engage with life again particularly if it is sparring with the wealthy arrogant annoying jerk Just when she starts to heal her past rears up and shatters than one person's happinessNext there is Jane Bennet oldest and most beautiful of the Bennet sisters Jane carries a disease in her body that made no promises how long she would live This puts a death knell on a marriage and children as far as Jane is concerned Thus it nearly crushes her when she falls for the lively handsome Charles Bingley who buys Netherfield Plantation because it is close to his construction contracts with the military Charles is everything she could want in a man and she enjoys their time while knowing there is an expiration date on anything really developingCharles' sister Caroline accompanies him when he moves to Meryton She is snobbish and cruel conniving and set on having her way She settles for cheap tawdry encounters and dreams of a life of wealth to distance her from her dark past Something is broken inside her and the milk of human kindness just isn't there She will do whatever it takes to have Fitzwilliam Darcy the biggest catch of them allCharlotte Lucas mayor's daughter and best friend of Lizzie dreams of escape from her overbearing sometimes abusive mother who hides a cruel side behind her public face Charlotte wants out so badly that she latches on to the worst possible man for escape Lizzie suspects why Charlotte doesn't even try to find a compatible guy and it breaks her heart for Charlotte's future chances Charlotte must walk her own path and hopefully find a ray of happiness in the darkAnd finally there is Georgiana William's sister and a woman before her time because of a youthful mistake in love and in trusting old family friends to have her best interests at heart She has done her penance and now is emerging into the world shy and terrified that she can't judge characters and will make another big mistake It is the misery of her usually taciturn brother and the relapse of her mentally fragile and broken cousin that force her to step up and be there for the men in her life that were always there for herSo there were many threads in this story William and Lizzie had the main roles but everyone else had some pretty strong secondary parts I like what the author did with the modernization aspect of characters setting and plot Pride Prejudice's tale characters and scenes was clearly there while also the offering of something fresh and original I liked what the author did with Mr and Mrs Bennet along with Colonel Fitzwilliam Mr Collins and Anne deBourgh Again I knew them but yet these characters weren't pale copies of the originals but their own vibrant personages This Collins made the hair stand up on the back of my neck just as this Colonel Fitzwilliam's pain broke my tender heart Anne shocked the pants off me but then it really really worked and I was in awe of the brilliance Truthfully I could go on and on about each characterization because I felt this was where it was at This and the historical setting Honestly I love my romance but it wasn't the foremost aspect of the story for meThe story has an edgier tone and doesn't apologize for being set in the age its in I've not had much truck with the South other than week long visits from time to time but from what I've observed and heard from others this background felt authentic There were so many other elements in the mix that had their place in this time and place Jim Crow laws and attitudes PTSD women finding their place after the men came back from war women and children's recourse when in an abuse situation what was deemed cause to be institutionalized shudder for 'treatment' and the aftershocks of the Great Depression among other things Probably not the story for people with strong sensibilities to racier romance and activities taboos like homosexuality and triggers to child abuse and domestic violenceAs to that racy romance business for those looking for the payoff of the stormy sizzling romance full of passion and conflict? This is the book for you Past hurts misunderstandings outside interference former lovers and present complications make for a hard fought romance for a few couples but especially William and Lizzie That end feeling of hope triumph and rightness was so worth what it took to get thereTo wrap it up this was fantastic It is a standout read of the year for me I can easily recommend it to a wider audience range the Austenesue lover who wants for something grittier and spicier and in a different way to those who like their historical romance set in the nearer historical eras and to the women's fiction fan who enjoys seeing broken characters grow and triumph My thanks to Meryton Press for providing the book in exchange for an honest review

  2. says:

    This was a fantastic read I could not put it down and will say ditto to the comments the other two reviewers as of 103015 state This author has an excellent writing style She not only handled the variation of canon from Pride and Prejudice in a new and enthralling manner but also addressed some very controversial subjects Now having read so many over 300 variations in JAFF I can usually anticipate where a story is going from the book description or from the text as I am reading along However this author totally surprised me with some eventsAs stated in the book description we are reading a variation mostly set in post WWII in the Deep South here in the States There are some flashbacks As my mother's family is from that area I have made many visits there AND my parents were married in the early days of the USA's involvement in the war so I can relate to many of the social s of that era Some of the topics in this book are not only controversial but at that time would have been viewed as dirty dark little secrets Kudos for incorporating them into this storyWhat do I mean you may ask? As the one other review states we read of a family with a history of child abuse emotional and physical We read of the effects of an ongoing illness which to this day and age continues to be a seroius problem for manythat is diabetes We read of spousal abuse which in those days had basically no relief for the one abused Women were considered the property of their husbands And then there is the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome a continuing issue for many of our armed services personnel But this particular issue is not limited to those who have served during in armed conflicts Plus we read of homosexuality which has only in the last several decades or so come out of the closet as an accepted normal lifestyle I remember when it was taken off the list by the American Psychiatric Association as an identifiable condition of mental health The characters we know and love are portrayed in this story with depth and very human faults I loved how they became open with their feelings and at times how they fled those same feelings in anguish and heartbreak Yes this story for me had heart ache heart break than what I call angst I had a lump in my throat very early 9% on my kindle “Someday some lark is gonna spell you with a song Will Darcy She’ll call you with music and you’ll be as good as lost” Reading it in the book description did not hit me like reading it in context I had raised eyebrows as I read of one man’s Peeking Tom incident And loved the descriptions of how he is drawn like a magnet to a songbird during her performancesone with almost laughable clumsiness On the other hand we also read of his heroic efforts as health issues threaten dire conseuencesOne man one character is so compelling with all of his issues I don’t want to name him as it would SPOIL part of the story We have to have DE together for our happy ending but at the same time there was a part of me which said “she was so good for him she helped him heal” Bingley comes into his own in this story with his determination despite drawbacks despite advice from Jane herself So glad he got a chance to “handle” that sadist as it must have helped him heal from some of his and his sisters’ traumatic historyPhrases which melted my heart or had me gasp “The cat’s out of the bag sweetheart I know your big secret and guess what? I love you anyway I’m walking into this with my eyes wide open” And 57% “Oh Lizzie” and then as we read about a tattoo Additionally at about three uarters of the way in we find ourselves waiting for “two shoes to drop” as events from canon give us a hint that we may know what is comingThis tale does have many of canon’s characters but for some their behaviors have changed Aunt Catherine Wickham Caroline all of the Bennet family make their presence know; some with greater gravity than others The Fitzwillam family is not left out The names of PP’s towns and estates have been transplanted to North and South Carolina There is a lot on which other stories could be built I like the way the author told us that “He would” referring to future events in his life to acts of heroism but in her own way and with her own format telling us of that dear man’s futuredid he burn the photo? My heart continues to ache for him This is a MUST read for me and I highly recommend it

  3. says:

    This is a VERY impressive compelling bookFor starters the writing flows beautifully without any glaring editing errors That's no small accomplishment in itself within this genreIn addition it has all the elements from the original that JAFF readers love with the characterizations essentially intact despite the changes in era and country Darcy's cousin Richard Fitzwilliam has a larger role and the seuencing of many key Pride and Prejudice events is changed somewhat but placed very logically within this story Elizabeth and Darcy have a number of personal issues to work through as well as their conflicts with Caroline Bingley and George Wickham Mr Collins is a particularly intriguing antagonist somewhat different than the original but still holier than thou and devoted to Catherine deBourghHowever I found the most interesting aspect of this book was the thought provoking subject matter introduced within the context of the American South in the late 1940s sexism domestic abuse post war PTSD racism facing life threatening illness at a young age diabetes and even an LGBT relationship and homophobia With all this going on this is way beyond the usual retelling of PP making it difficult to predict Even Darcy and Elizabeth's HEA seems seriously at risk when her former love a very sympathetic character comes between themBeau North really has written a winner here Readers without any previous familiarity with Pride and Prejudice can enjoy this excellent book as much as JAFF readers I highly recommend it to everyone

  4. says:

    This review was first published on Babblings of a Bookworm stories based on Austen’s ‘Pride Prejudice’ are either variations or seuels that are set in contemporary times to Austen’s story or they are modern retellings set in the present day I’ve read a very few stories that move the action to the early 1900s Karen M Cox’s depression era ‘1932’ and Mary Lydon Simonsen’s ‘Mr Darcy's Angel of Mercy’ and ‘Darcy Goes to War A Pride and Prejudice Re Imagining’ set in the First and Second World Wars respectively are a few that spring to mind so I was keen to read an Austenesue novel set in an unfamiliar era ‘Longbourn’s Songbird’ is set post World War II in the late 1940s in the USAIn many ways I went into Longbourn’s Songbird expecting something a little different from the story that I got; what I’d thought the story was probably about was Elizabeth being some sort of singer and hence unsuitable for Darcy and maybe some sort of complication relating Darcy’s time in the war however I was wrong on both of those counts Instead though Darcy’s family has been affected by the war he was working making munitions and so was never deployed overseas and while Elizabeth sings at parties and so on she is the daughter of a well to do landowner and not doing it to earn a living I was also expecting the dynamics between them and the story arc to follow closely to Austen’s story They don’t but this is by no means a bad thing The couple have real magnetism which Darcy at least is aware of and fighting against before they are even introduced and although the story has events which parallel events in ‘Pride Prejudice’ they are not always in the same order and don’t have the same effect Rather than this being a modern PP update I felt this was the author exploring some facets of society in the late 1940s threaded through a PP inspired taleRacial division was only touched on very lightly but the story explores some other potentially challenging issues in an entertaining and thought provoking way naturally as the story unfolds We look at some of the attitudes facing same sex relationships post traumatic stress disorder domestic violence and mental abuse and the difference in how we perceive some medical conditions Attitudes really change over time and reading this story reminded me of how much attitudes have changed to some of these things even in the last 20 years or so and even then they were a world away from the time period of this book There wasn’t much of a graphic nature in any of these themes so the mood of the book stayed on the whole uite lightheated This is primarily a romance but with serious themes forming a part of itThe characters weren’t uite the same as Austen’s either Darcy was far less proud which isn’t surprising as that is a harder uality to excuse than in Austen’s day of strict social strata The story is probably from Darcy’s view than Elizabeth’s which also helps you become fond of him even when your mind is screaming at him to stop Elizabeth is a likeable character and her sisters were nicely fleshed out I thought the Bennet family as a whole were kindly portrayed and nicely realistic Each of the sisters had personality the parents were flawed but basically good people and Lydia was far less annoying than in many books The Bennets here felt like a family “Oh but what about Clark Gable?” Jane asked making all of the women at the table—Mrs Bennet included—sigh dreamily It was the only thing they all agreed on In the Bennet house Clark Gable was the great unifier’I have read books where the main potential ‘baddies’ of 'Pride Prejudice' – Caroline Collins Lady Catherine and Wickham – were real caricatures of themselves and uite two dimensional as a result but here they were portrayed as people which I thought was so well done On the whole these characters are uite similar to their ‘Pride and Prejudice’ origins having the same main flaws although one character was markedly different from Austen’s creation This character was uite chilling in that I could see that type of character actually existing in real life shudderAnother theme that is touched on in this story is heartbreak; whether to give yourself over fully to love or whether to protect yourself Both of our main characters wrestle with this theme as do some of the secondary ones and all for slightly different reasons and with different levels of self esteem I thought this was a poignant uote though I won’t spoil things by telling you who it’s in relation to ‘The truth? She had never permitted herself to have feelings for anyone because what kind of future could she offer a man?’As I said earlier although there are some themes such as sex and violence which might give you pause there are not graphic scenes There is some swearing but it’s not especially prolific I was uite shocked when Georgiana dropped an f bomb thoughI would certainly recommend this book to other Austenesue readers – I found it gripping thought provoking and romantic I thought the balance between the heavier subjects and the romance was very good because the subjects were explored without making the story feel weighted down and in fact there was also patches of humour throughout the book I enjoyed the fact that although I had an idea of where the story would end up I had no idea of what might happen on the way and whether or not I’d like all parts of the journey I really enjoyed the story and read it in one evening The only thing I would have liked to have seen is a bit of an epilogue – I had to imagine my own instead I’d rate this as a five star read

  5. says:

    Curious to see the new cover for one of my favorite JAFF stories? Stop by Just Jane 1813 to see what's next from Beau North and for a great giveaway

  6. says:

    From the opening scene I knew I was in for an exhilarating read—no sweet Austenesue romance here “By the time Will Darcy realized his mistake it was already far too late He stood hidden in the shade of an ancient oak tree fingers gripping the rough bark as he watched the girl peel off her dress” We watch the unknown woman as she disrobes and takes a skinny dip in a pond the scene captured through Darcy’s reactions as he remains frozen in place hypnotized by what he sees It is an emotional scene captured in kinetic language that drags the reader right into the heart of the story The setting for this re visioning of the Pride and Prejudice story is South Carolina just after World War II The Bennets own a large cotton farm and Darcy’s friend Charles Bingley has just bought a nearby property All the usual characters are assembled though some especially Jane and Elizabeth Bennet’s younger sisters pass through leaving little trace While all the familiar plot points are checked however Beau North has done a thorough job of rethinking who the characters might be in 1940s USA; so there are many surprises and revelations as the main plot unwindsDarcy and Elizabeth become attached much sooner in this version and it reuires a major plot twist to keep them apart till the end Social issues are touched on which I appreciate because it grounds the characters in time and space and some of those issues play a crucial role in the lives of certain peripheral characters Mr and Mrs Bennet are not as detached or as silly respectively as they are in the original There is passion though only a little explicit sex and acting out than was possible in a story set in the early nineteenth century which has the effect of magnifying the characters while not for the most part violating their essential natures The recently ended war casts a long shadow over the actionOne major difference from the original pleased me less than it would most readers the story is told from multiple points of view so we have considerable exposure to the inner lives of several characters Many readers like to hear Darcy’s thoughts but I tend to prefer him to be of a mystery; and even noncentral characters get their chance to explain themselvesI was very impressed by the energy and depth of this adaptation and by the vigorous prose of the author Beau North has created a gripping world and populated it with real people The southeastern setting was richly realized though I had a bit of trouble from time to time with the slang and the manners felt era appropriate Altogether a very satisfying entry in the Austenesue category

  7. says:

    This book did something to my soul Every time I have read it the story lingers with me for days Thoughtful and thought provoking Lyrical elegant timeless The story follows PP but takes a detour now and then to translate to a post WWII Southern US setting and relevant to the times Made me just uncomfortable enough in places leaving me so many emotions to sift through A masterpiece NOT TO BE MISSED Some profanity throughout but sparing and not for shock value Love scenes are poignant apropos and steamy

  8. says:

    Beautifully written PP re telling set in the 1940s The language and the writing is superb The story really takes you on an emotional roller coaster through the experience of the characters This is the author's debut novel but second book I've read Truly talented writing and I can't wait to read from her in the futureRe read 2nd edition June 22nd June 30th It’s still poignant and beautifully written as ever The emotional roller coaster you experience through the characters It also sets up the companion book “The Colonel” nicely

  9. says:

    Heart wrenching and SoulfulTYPE OF AUSTENESUE NOVEL Pride and Prejudice RetellingSETTING 1948 Meryton South CarolinaMAIN CHARACTERS The Bennet Family Will Darcy Charles Bingley George Wickham Leland Collins Charlotte Lucas Richard Fitzwilliam Anne de Bourgh Georgiana DarcyWHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVELI love seeing Pride and Prejudice in different time periods and settings and I was interested to see how the setting of the Deep South post World War II would impact the characters and situations from Jane Austen’s beloved novelWHAT I LOVED Soaked In the Time Period Pecan picking cotton plantations Clark Gable jazz segregation and changing attitudes – in big sweeping themes and small everyday details this story represents life in small town USA post World War II The change the culture and the challenges of that time were not only well represented but subtly and skillfully woven into the tapestry of this story giving readers a very rich and profound understanding of the world these characters were living in I loved how this was accomplished I could tell Beau North spent a lot of time researching and that a lot of thought went into the creation and shaping of this novel New Conflicts It isn’t just about pride and prejudice my friends Changing the setting changes the types of conflicts these characters face – having poor dowries and disapproving relations doesn’t present the same obstacles as they did during the Regency Period So instead Ms North introduces new conflicts that were indicative of her setting Such as a soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a sister living with a life threatening illness an abusive and violent family member and a couple who hide their love because it is considered socially unacceptable While these added a little darkness and weight to Jane Austen’s “light and bright” tale I found myself appreciating the realism and honesty they brought to this story I Didn’t See it Coming During the first half of the book we learn that something significant happened to Lizzie several years ago – something that has changed her and made her want to hide away at Longbourn When this secret is revealed my jaw dropped to the ground I didn’t see it coming and I loved it Talk about a surprising twist The tension and emotion that surged through the story at this development was incredibly palpable and skillfully rendered Wow Little Spots Of Sunlight With a tale that tackles difficult situations and realities I thought it was brilliant that Beau North made a point to add little touches of happiness that would make readers smile These little happy moments like witnessing the relationship between Mr and Mrs Bennet and the truth of George Wickham’s elopement with Lydia were sweet moments of light that brought about a wonderful balance for this tale A Stirring Love I love it when Darcy and Lizzie’s love is depicted as big ungovernable force It hits them hard triggers their passionate nature and cannot be denied My favorite parts of this story was seeing Darcy under Elizabeth’s spell – how he admired her personality and actions how he was so crazy in love that he acted irrationally His love for her was a powerful thing to beholdWHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OFSo yeahjust gonna leave this one blank WARNING Due to the use of some profanity mild violence and adult situations I’d recommend this story for Mature AudiencesCONCLUSIONLongbourn’s Songbird is a soulful and poignant Pride and Prejudice retelling that encompasses a much bigger story than Darcy and Elizabeth fighting and finding love Emotive deep and sincere – this debut novel is well deserving of all the praise and accolades it is receiving I highly recommendAustenesue Reviews

  10. says:

    Imagineif you willa book that welcomes you with open arms from page one that envelopes you with its compelling storyline that has youat timesfull of angstraw with emotionsmiling cheekily and laughing out loud at the dialogue between our dearest couple Imagine starting this roller coaster of a ride and being so captivated that you feel you can't waste time eating drinking or sleeping such is your desire to finish the storyto find out what happens nextto read the final word and sigh with relief when all the trials and tribulations have at lastbeen happily resolvedYesdear reader such was my experience with this book I loved reading it and highly recommend it Ms North you have a uniue gift and I find myself happily looking forward to your next book