A story inspired by Austen's Emma... Finding Jane Fairfax by Robbin J. Peterson (Excerpt) #findingjanefairfax #robbinjpeterson #historicalromance #regencyromance #romancebooks #newbooks #booktwitter @covenantcomms @Austenprose

Welcome to my tour stop! You'll find an excerpt from this story inspired by Austen's Emma below...

Finding Jane Fairfax
By Robbin J. Peterson
Historical Romance, Clean & Wholesome
Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 304 Pages
March 4, 2024 by Covenant Communications


Jane Fairfax knows she is truly fortunate. Most orphans face lives of hardship, whereas she was adopted by doting surrogate parents who elevated her place in Society and love her as their own. Yet even they cannot shield her from the grim realities of life without a suitable marriage. In moments of despair, Jane comforts herself with a well-worn memory: that of a young man whose kind words when they were children once soothed her heartbreak. But now that boy has grown into a dashing gentleman―and their lives could not be more distant.

Frank Churchill is a prisoner of his station. His inheritance is held in the balance by his demanding aunt, and the weight of her expectations is suffocating him. But when a chance encounter brings the lovely Miss Fairfax back into his life, he discovers what it is to truly live. As the pair secretly become acquainted amid the confines of Society’s strict rules, their friendship blossoms into love. But in a world ruled by unyielding traditions, endeavoring to build a life together would mean inviting a scandal that would shake the very foundation of the ton.

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The wind whipped Jane’s bonnet off her head, and she held on to the ribbons to keep it from blowing away altogether. Cassandra moved closer to the edge of the cliff in front of them, then bent to see over it. Jane’s heart stopped just watching her.

“Cassandra, please!” she yelled above the breeze.

Cassandra turned and laughed. “It is perfectly safe. Come closer and see for yourself.” She pointed out toward the ocean. “There is Durdle Door. Isn’t it marvelous?”

Jane shook her head and held her arms closer to her. She could see the rock formation coming out of the ocean from where she stood. Even with her jacket and warmest dress, the wind seemed to cut right through her. The Campbells were wise to have stayed in the carriage. Colonel Campbell’s ears would not have liked the cold. He had insisted his girls see the sight though.

“Please, not so close to the cliff,” she begged.

Cassandra gave her an annoyed look but came away from the edge. Jane immediately felt the tension inside her subside.

“I saw some steps on the other side,” Cassandra said. “We could walk along the beach below. Remember the ammonite fossil Mr. Brenchworth showed us? He told me he found it here. Surely you could get behind such an academic experience.”

“Academics should not be nearly this dangerous,” Jane said, her teeth chattering.

Cassandra laughed. “Quite the contrary! Studies should only be this way!” She linked arms with Jane. “Come. We shall go down the steps slowly and find some fossils to show Papa.”

Jane sighed. “Perhaps the wind will be less fierce on that side of the hill.”

Together they found the path and began their descent. Thick patches of long grass and prickly yellow flowers lined the terraced steps. Some parts were a large stretch for Jane’s legs. As she neared one spot in particular, two gentlemen appeared quite suddenly from around the bend below them. Jane saw the pleased expression that passed between them, and uneasy, she shrank back.

Cassandra took a step down, her longer legs making it much easier for her. One of the men tipped his hat at Cassandra, who bent her head in a silent greeting. Jane stood stranded and frozen on the step.

“Please allow me to help, madam,” one said, stretching out his hand. It was gallant, and maybe necessary, as she was blocking their path. Still, she stared at his hand and hesitated. She knew her foolishness. These men did not know her social status; they would not sneer at her or make her feel inferior, nor would they try to take advantage of her because of her situation. But still she could not make her hand move. It was as if she were near the edge of the cliff again.

Cassandra stopped walking and turned around, watching Jane deliberate what to do. Finally, she hiked back up and said, “Thank you, gentleman. My friend is quite shy. Here, Jane, allow me to help you.”

The men bowed, and the one who had spoken before blushed awkwardly and said, “Of course. Good day, ladies.”

Jane felt a fresh wave of embarrassment now that the sense of danger was passed. Why hadn’t she just taken the man’s outstretched hand? Sometimes she felt her anxieties were getting worse as she aged. Cassandra linked arms with her once more and kept her close as they conquered the next several steps together.

“Really, Jane,” she said, “they meant no harm.”

“I know it was foolish. I just—you know how I feel.”

Cassandra rubbed her arm. “Dearest, not all men are little boys ready to push you down.”

“Are they not?” Jane asked, her face burning hot. “And what of Society in general? They can push harder than any boys I have encountered.” Jane did not add that the wounds they caused also did not heal. They festered and bothered and spread until she was anxious about making the acquaintance of any new person—male or female.

One day Jane must leave her safety nest. She had begun her life with the Campbells knowing they would not be able to keep her as an adult. Very soon she would need to either marry or become a governess. At age twenty-one, her chances of marrying were not high, especially with no money or connections and her tendency to be unsociable.

Chapter 3, pages 13-15.

About the Author

Robbin J. Peterson is the author of Going Home, Conviction, and 13 Days of Girls Camp. She earned her degree in English literature from Utah State University and her associate of arts degree from Snow College. She has six kids, plays the viola, and works as an elementary school librarian.

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