RESURGAM: An Eyre Hall Series Novella #VideoBookTrailer #BookLaunch #Histfic #JaneEyre

I‘m really excited to share with you my first video book trailer. What do you think?

Resurgam: A cinematic Trailer

The Launch day has arrived! Resurgam is available for purchase on Amazon and other retailers click on the image below.

If you’re not sure if’ll like this novella, based on Jane Eyre and her friends from Lowood Institution for Orphans, Helen Burns and Mary Anne Wilson, you can read chapter one here

Wishing you all a Happy Monday and Happy Week!

Chapter One of Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella #Preorder #Booklaunch 20th September #HistFic

Chapter 1 – All of Us

Eyre Hall, Monday 6th June 1853

Jane

Helen Burns died in my arms on the night of the eighth of June. I cradled her frail body in Miss Temple’s room at Lowood until our beloved teacher removed her corpse from my embrace in the early hours of the morning.

On that same date, seven years later, I married Edward Rochester. I had often wondered if it was a macabre coincidence that the most devastating event of my childhood and the most joyous event of my adult life were to be celebrated on the same day. I should have felt sad, because if I didn’t, I would be betraying a dear friend’s memory. Yet I should have felt happy, because if I didn’t, I would be tarnishing my wedding day and being a disloyal wife.

Every anniversary had been hard, but this year, following my second miscarriage, it was devastating. Nightmares had been plaguing me for weeks. The latest compelled me to wander around the house and gardens, under the vigilant sliver of waning crescent moon, shining like a fading beacon in the dark sky.

Helen’s vivid image, wearing her plain white nightdress, hands joined in prayer, implored me, “Save all of us, Jane. All of us.”   

When I asked, “Who am I to save, Helen?” she repeated her request like a chant, and I fell on the grass and wept.

“What is the matter, Jane?”

Edward was standing before me in his nightshirt, bearing a candle which was no longer needed. Morning had broken beyond the horizon.

“Come inside with me, Jane. You will catch cold.”

I followed him into Eyre Hall. He insisted on asking questions I could not answer. I fell into our bed and closed my eyes, hoping I might sleep, but Edward had other plans.

“Let me warm you, Jane,” he said, covering my shivering body with his. Desire was the last thing on my troubled mind, but I complied because it meant he would cease his interrogations. 

The following morning, Edward and Dr Carter stood at the foot of the bed with grim faces.

“Mrs Rochester, you are behaving recklessly. You are still weak after your last miscarriage, yet you refuse to eat, and Mr Rochester tells me he found you sleeping on the lawn, chanting deliriously about saving someone.”

I sighed and closed my eyes, because I couldn’t tell them that I had been speaking to my deceased best friend from school.

“I suggest you take laudanum and rest for five days.”

“What about Sunday’s anniversary dinner? We are expecting guests.”

I didn’t care about the dinner party, but I hated taking the dreaded drops; they made me drowsy and clumsy.

“Your health is more important than a dinner party. Dr Carter and I have decided that you will rest.”

I sat up and forced myself to smile. “I had a nightmare, but I’m feeling better today.”

The doctor shook his head. I turned to Edward. “It won’t happen again. I promise.”

When the doctor left, Edward sat beside me on the bed. “Jane, what is wrong?”

He squeezed my hand and kissed the tips of my fingers. I used my free hand to drink some water, hoping to relieve the swelling in my throat. 

“It saddens me that I can no longer make you happy, Jane.”

I returned the glass and covered his hand with mine. “You do, Edward. You make me very happy, but…” I hesitated.

“But what? I must know why my wife is not contented.”

I wished I had an answer that wouldn’t displease him. I couldn’t tell him Helen spoke to me in dreams, or that I despised the shallow life I was leading, or that I missed my two unborn children and felt a miserable failure for losing them.

Edward demanded an answer. “Jane?”

I responded in a way I imagined would be easier to explain and forgive. “I would like more children.”

His jaw tightened. “Well, at least one more child,” I added. 

He sighed. “Jane, it may not be part of God’s plan. You should be grateful that John is a healthy boy who will honour our legacy.” He squeezed my hand and searched my troubled eyes. “It does not become you to demand more than your share of happiness, and it makes me feel lacking.”

I had no right to wish for more, especially as I knew the hardships most people had to endure. “I’m sorry, Edward. You are right.” Tears swelled up from my troubled soul. “I have been blessed with a sturdy son and the perfect husband. I should not want for more.”

“You are still upset, but you will recover and realise it was for the better.”

I returned his kiss. I wanted to believe him with all my heart, but when I closed my eyes, I saw Helen in her white chemise, her feet bare, holding out her frail hand and asking me to save all of them, and my heart shattered into a million pieces. 

From the Blurb

Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre

Nine years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has everything she ever wished for. She is married to the man she loves and they have a healthy eight-year-old son. They live in a grand, new house, Eyre Hall, built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall.

Jane has the family she longed for and all the comforts money can buy, and yet she is discontented.

Mrs Rochester is dissatisfied with her opulent lifestyle, and she is tormented by cryptic nightmares in which Helen, her deceased best friend from Lowood Institution for Orphans, begs Jane for help.

When another friend from Lowood, Mary Anne Wilson, appears unexpectedly at Eyre Hall with distressing news, Jane realises she will not recover her peace of mind, fortitude, and passion unless she finds a way to keep the promise she made to Helen when she was a penniless orphan.

****

Resurgam is a standalone novella (Twelve chapters and 21,000 words), which can be read as a prequel to The Eyre Hall Series. The events narrated take place between 1853 and 1854, eleven years before Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One of The Eyre Hall Series.

#WordlessWednesday ‘When in Rome, or maybe Munich…’

I just realised the night photo option on my phone is pretty good! (Sitting in my daughter’s balcony last night).

The September full moon is coming up soon, on the 20th, and the publication of Resurgam on the same day! Read all about it here!

Click on the image for purchase options on Amazon and other retailers.

Resurgam:An Eyre Hall Series Novella

Why I wrote #Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series #Novella inspired by Helen Burns’ Death in #Jane Eyre

I am sure I was not the only impressionable teenager who read chapter IX of Jane Eyre and was haunted forever by Charlotte Bronte’s description of Helen Burns’ death in Jane Eyre’s arms, where Helen’s corpse rested, nestled with Jane until the following morning.

Helen Burns was Jane Eyre’s best friend at Lowood Institution for Orphans, where Jane spent seven years as a student and two as a teacher. Helen supported Jane through the public humiliations Mr Brocklehurst imposed on her, and helped a non-conformist Jane to understand and adapt to the teachers and routine at Lowood. In case you don’t remember, you can read a flash fiction summary of chapter VIII, in which their friendship is explained, and chapter IX, which deals with Helen’s death.

Chapter IX ends with a few brief lines about Helen’s burial in an unknown mass grave. Forty girls, half of the pupils at Lowood, died of typhus that summer. As most of the girls were orphans, few of them had families, and those who did could not afford to pay for a headstone.

Resurgam is dedicated to my grandmother, Rafaela Fernandez, whom I never met because she was killed in an air raid in August 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, and buried anonymously in a mass grave. My mother, who was seven at the time, was sitting on her lap. Miraculously, she survived.

No doubt that is why I was especially sensitive to Helen’s death and anonymous mass burial. When I decided to write an Eyre Hall Series Novella, Helen’s death scene, her anonymous mass grave, and the word Resurgam were constantly on my mind.

In Jane Eyre, Jane tells her Dear Reader, that she returned to the cemetery fifteen years later, when she was married to Mr Rochester and had a son, to lay a headstone on her friend’s grave with the word, Resurgam.

Why Resurgam? Resurgam is Latin for “I shall rise again.” It is found in the Bible referred to the resurrection of Christ on the third day. Helen was fervently religious, and stoically accepted her death. Helen also influenced Jane’s religious beliefs and faith in God, especially regarding life after death, which Jane firmly believed in. Her faith was the reason why she wanted her friend to have a headstone to remind everyone who saw it that they would rise again after death.

I wrote Resurgam to capture the moment Jane returned to Brocklebridge cemetery and erected Helen’s headstone. The plot explores the reasons Jane did so at that precise moment, and how the event came about. The novella delves into the themes of friendship, honouring our past and our deceased friends and relatives, as well as love, marriage, motherhood and social concerns.

Naturally I reimagined Jane, some years into her marriage, with her young son, John Eyre Rochester, while she was living at Eyre Hall, the house she built on the site of Thornfield Hall, with her uncle John Eyre’s inheritance.

Readers of Resurgam will see how the Rochesters’ marriage developed over the years and the way in which Jane adapted to her new life as the wife of the wealthy owner of the Rochester estate, as well as the reasons and way in which the word Resurgam finds its way to Brocklebridge Church graveyard.

Writing Resurgam was cathartic for me and my Jane Eyre. It was written at a challenging time, which led to a personal reflection about the life we lead, the dreams we achieve, and the people and life we leave behind, because we can’t have it all, or can we?

The events narrated in Resurgam occurred eleven years before Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One of the Eyre Hall Series, so it can be read as a standalone or as a prequel to the series. Some of the main characters of The Eyre Hall Series, such as Michael, Susan, Mrs Leah, John Rochester, Bishop Templar (who is Archdeacon), and Isaac das Junot, appear in this 22,000-word novella. Check out yesterday’s post for the blurb and more information about Resurgam.

If this sounds intriguing, why not preorder here. It’s available on Amazon and other book retailers at a special launch price of one dollar click on the image below.

As always, if you would like a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review, just let me know in the comments or sign up for my newsletter by following the link below:

And if you’d like to find out more about The Eyre Hall Series, visit my homepage

#BookLaunch Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella is available for preorder! To be published on 20th #September

Relive the mystery and magic of Jane Eyre

Nine years after her marriage to Edward Rochester, Jane has everything she ever wished for. She is married to the man she loves and they have a healthy eight-year-old son. They live in a grand new house, Eyre Hall, built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall.

Jane has the family she longed for and all the comforts money can buy, and yet she is discontented.

Mrs Rochester is dissatisfied with her opulent lifestyle, and she is tormented by cryptic nightmares in which Helen, her deceased best friend from Lowood Institution for Orphans, begs Jane for help.

When another friend from Lowood, Mary Anne Wilson, appears unexpectedly at Eyre Hall with distressing news, Jane realises she will not recover her peace of mind, fortitude, and passion unless she finds a way to keep the promise she made to Helen when she was a penniless orphan.

Resurgam is a standalone novella which can be read as a prequel to The Eyre Hall Series. The events narrated take place between 1853 and 1854, eleven years before Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One of The Eyre Hall Series.

If this sounds intriguing, why not preorder here. It’s available on Amazon and other book retailers at a special launch price of one dollar click on the image below.

As always, if you would like a complimentary ARC in exchange for an honest review, just let me know in the comments or sign up for my newsletter by following the link below:

And if you’d like to find out more about The Eyre Hall Series, visit my homepage

Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘Defining Success as a Writer’ #amwriting #September2021 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

The awesome co-hosts for the September 1 posting of the IWSG are Rebecca Douglass, T. Powell Coltrin @Journaling Woman, Natalie Aguirre, Karen Lynn, and C. Lee McKenzie!

September 1 question – How do you define success as a writer? Is it holding your book in your hand? Having a short story published? Making a certain amount of income from your writing?

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Defining Success as a Writer

Success as a writer will be unique to each author.

A writer’s perceived success will depend on the goals they set out to achieve as an author in the first place.

In my case, I wanted to publish a sequel to Jane Eyre that would include the premise of the prequel Wide Sargasso Sea, which gave Bertha Antoinetta Mason, the first Mrs Rochester, a voice.

I imagined a daughter, born in the attic at Thornfiled Hall, Annette Mason, who was rejected by Edward Rochester and taken to Jamaica by her uncle Richard Mason.

In Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Richard Mason returns to the Rochester estate while Mr Rochester is on his death bed. He brings his niece, Annette Mason, who is now twenty-two years old, with him, in order to claim her birthright.

Link to my UK Author page

The Eyre Hall Series (Amazon.com link) is the sequel to Jane Eyre. Especially for readers who love action packed, neo-Victorian romantic thrillers, with gothic mansions, evil villains, unforgettable main characters, lots of drama, and unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Victorian novels.

I imagined I would write one novel, then I realised it would be a trilogy, and now it has become The Eyre Hall Series of six novels (four already available for purchase and two more will be published in 2022).

And Resurgam: An Eyre Hall Series Novella will be available for preorder shortly.

My aim in 2013 was to write and successfully publish one novel, which I did, so mission accomplished. But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with my writing career in 2021.

Goals are not fixed, they are constantly being revised and expanded.

Now I have new goals, which I haven’t yet achieved, namely to complete my series. I’m fairly confident that by the end of 2022, I will have published the entire Eyre Hall Series,.

I also have plenty of other literary projects underway, such as a A contemporary thriller, which is finished and on the waiting list for a second edit and proofread. I have also started work on another series of non-fiction books called, you guessed it: Rereading Jane Eyre! But more about those future projects in the coming months.

I am determined to present readers with a polished novel, which has a professional cover, is well written, edited and proofread. I cannot expect all readers to like my novels; they are not for everyone, no book is.

My ability to market as an independent author is limited, but reaching international fame and fortune is not my primary goal, as I have my retirement pension and I’m quite shy.

I’m happy to write to my heart’s delight and produce a polished product I enjoyed writing and which I can be proud of. So, as far as I’m concerned, I’m a successful writer!

If you click on the image, you will be taken to my newsletter sign up page. Go ahead, make my day and sign up if you want to get news of special offers, new releases and updates on The Eyre Hall Series and all things related to Jane Eyre.  

Thanks for reading! And I hope you’re having a fabulous Friday and weekend!

Happy Reading and Writing!

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One in The Eyre Hall Series. #Excerpt Chapter Three: The Last Testament #BookLaunch

WAIT! Contains spoilers!

Do not read if you haven’t read chapter Two published here yesterday!

Chapter Three also takes place at Eyre Hall in July 1865, twenty-two years after Jane Eyre’s marriage to Edward Rochester. As the title suggests, Mr Rochester is signing his last will and testament. In this case, the narrator is Mr Rochester.

CHAPTER 3 – The Last Testament

Mr Rochester

He held out his hand. “Good morning, Mr Rochester. I trust you are in good health after your accident.”

“I’m still alive, for now,” I replied.

“And for many years to come, I hope.”

I wondered if he had forgotten I had called him to draft my last will and testament, or if he was more of an idiot than I had imagined.

“I am without patience, Mr Briggs. Be seated and let us get down to business.”

He sat, squinted, and looked around the room. “Is Master John not in attendance?”

“He’s not expected until tomorrow, but his presence is not required.”

Briggs coughed and wriggled in his chair. “Mr Rochester, I respectfully suggest Master John should be present.”

“My wife will be present. Master John is too young to take on any responsibility at Eyre Hall yet.”

“But Mrs Rochester…” He fumbled with his gold-rimmed eyeglasses and stared at me as if I had grown tusks. “She… I mean…The tenants and the leaseholders will not respect her.”

“Mr Briggs, you have forgotten your place, and you have also forgotten that Eyre Hall is so called in memory of my wife’s uncle, Mr John Eyre, a wealthy wine merchant from Madeira and her benefactor, whom I did not have the pleasure of meeting. My wife generously and wisely invested part of her inheritance in the construction of Eyre Hall. It is thanks to her insistence and desire that Eyre Hall was built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall.”

“Yes, I do recall the transaction, sir. In fact, as you may remember, Mr Eyre appointed me to locate his beloved niece. But that is not the issue, sir. Think of the land, the tenants; what will become of them? Need I remind you that Mrs Rochester, whom I greatly admire, is a woman? Therefore, she does not have enough knowledge to manage an estate.”

“Neither did I, as you well know. Mr Cooper takes care of the finances and you see to the legal matters. What else could she need? Or are you planning to abandon her?”

“Of course not. We will naturally assist Mrs Rochester in anything she requires; I am simply worried it could be too much for her.”

“Nothing is too much for Jane Eyre Rochester. She will have everything she deserves. Eyre Hall will belong to Jane for life. The Rochester Estate will remain in her hands until my son, John Rochester, is thirty, if he has a wife and legitimate heir, or as soon thereafter as the events should occur.”

“I must advise you that your son may not—”

“Did I ask you for your opinion, Mr Briggs?”

He shook his head, whispered, “No, sir,” and avoided my fierce gaze by opening his black leather case and extracting the documents.

“Then keep it to yourself unless I ask for it, which I guarantee you, I will not.”

He placed his brass fountain pen beside the documents and waited for my instructions. I had met plenty of pretentious London solicitors like him, making great effort to look important when travelling to the provinces, but I knew him too well to be fooled. He would sell his soul to the devil for the right price. 

“It is my wish, and although my body is failing me, I am perfectly sound of mind. Write it all down, now. I do not want to wait another minute, or it may be too late. St Peter is impatient.”

“Sir, you exaggerate.”

“Don’t coddle me. I will not live long enough to lose my mind. Call my wife.”

“At once, sir. And we will need two witnesses, I suggest two trustworthy servants. Mrs Leah and Simon, perhaps?”

“Not Leah; it’s none of her business. She’ll find out soon enough. And Simon is a gossip who can’t even read. The others aren’t much wiser.”

He nodded, pursed his lips, and tapped his fingers on the table. “Who do you suggest, sir?”

“Call the sturdy one with wolf’s eyes and his sister, the glum girl who looks like a nun. Bring them and let us get this over with.”

“You mean Michael and Susan?”

“I’m not interested in their names; just bring them.”

Minutes later, the girl walked in behind her brother and lowered her head as if she would turn to stone if she looked at me, but the brother stood tall, with his hands behind his back, his amber eyes on me. He raised his eyebrows defiantly, wondering why I wanted to speak to him. I rarely spoke to any of the servants, except Simon, who had been my valet for years, but I had heard enough about this bold young man to know he was not an idiot like the rest of them.  

“Simon told me you beat a man to an inch of his life because he made unwanted advances to one of our maids at the Rochester Arms. Is that true?”

His brow furrowed. He looked uncomfortable as if he were not proud of what he had done, or perhaps it was not true; Simon tended to exaggerate. Or perhaps he was just surprised by my question. In any case, he should have answered at once. “Well, is it?”

He nodded, pursing his lips. He was not going to volunteer any information, but I was curious, so I asked, “Why?” He clenched his fists in reply, but I was tired of his insolence. “Answer the question.”

“It was one of Mr Raven’s sons, sir. He was drunk, and Beth had not provoked his attentions. I asked him to respect her wishes, and when he ignored my words and Beth’s protests, I made him stop.”

“You made him stop? Old Raven was livid. His son’s vision was impaired for weeks after your battering, not to mention the limp he still sports.”

“I did what I had to do to protect Beth, sir.”

“She’s your sweetheart, is she?”

The fearless youth answered at once. “No, sir. I am not courting.”

“That’s not what Raven told me.”

His sister shot him a sideways glance; she knew her brother contained a beast who could be unleashed if provoked. She was not pretty, but neither was Jane when I met her, and yet she bloomed when she fell in love with me. The girl had intelligent eyes and a quiet strength about her. She was the type that could be taught to warm a man’s bed with fire. I turned back to her brother. “Have you ever had to defend your sister?”

He stood straighter, letting me know he was proud of defending his sister, but then he thought better of his admission, fidgeted, and looked towards the door. He did not want Jane to know, of course; righteous Jane would not like our servants to get involved in pub brawls. Little did she know he got up to a lot more than that.

“Well done. I can’t fault you for looking after your sister,” I said, because a man should defend the women he loves or the women he’s in charge of protecting.

“When I’m gone, you are to look after Mrs Rochester as if she were your sister; nobody is to take what is hers or molest her, do you hear me?”

His brow furrowed, and he nodded. Briggs was right; it was not easy for a woman to be respected in these parts, and Jane would be on her own. John was too youthful, coddled, and inexperienced to be of help, but this stealthy young man who had felt the pang of hunger and the fury of anger, he would do the job.

“John told me you carried him home, all the way from the Arms, after a problem with an unruly client.” He knitted his eyebrows, but his fierce gaze did not falter. “Yes, I found out, although John did not disclose the event.” The boy opened his mouth to speak but closed it again. He was hot-tempered, but not foolish. He knew it was not his place to question the master of the house. “And then you called Dr Carter, and you made sure his mother never found out about it.”

His sister did not know either. Her eyes widened, and she shot her brother a worried look. He glanced her way and then nodded, looking at me directly in the eyes. He was obedient, fearless, and astute, an excellent combination for a loyal servant.

“Look after John, too. Jane trusts you, and she is an excellent judge of character, so I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, despite your audacious behaviour.” He blushed like a debutante and lowered his head in acknowledgement. “Give me your word that I can count on you to protect them.”

“You have my word, sir.”

“And you better keep it, or I’ll come back from hell and curse you till the day you die.”

“I give you my word that no one will harm Mrs Rochester or Master John while I’m employed at Eyre Hall.”

I lifted my cane towards Briggs. I needed to ensure the boy would stay at Eyre Hall for the foreseeable future.

“Tell Cooper to double his salary and secure it for the next ten years.”

Briggs nodded and made a note in his ledger.

The lad looked older and sturdier than John, too young to have many vices, but old enough to go to war. “How old are you?” I asked him.

“Twenty-five next month, sir.”

“You’re old enough to marry. Have you set your eyes on someone?”

“I’m not planning on marrying, sir. Not until my sister finds a position or marries.”

“Jane tells me your sister is apprenticed to the parish schoolteacher. She is a clever girl, and she’s not unpleasant to look at. Do not let her marry below her station. And keep away from Mrs Rossett, both of you. She’s a troublemaker.”

“Yes, sir.”

His sister turned to leave. “You wait here,” I said, and her face paled, but I was too sick to carry out what she thought I required. I might have desired her tender flesh once upon a time. She reminded me of the plain, meek Jane I had met twenty-three years ago, but my body was too wasted now. “Stay. You are both to be witnesses of my last will and testament.”

Their eyes widened, but they remained as still as two gate posts.   

Mr Rochester is aware that Jane will need help from loyal servants and he has identified Michael as her guardian

 I turned to Briggs. “And where the devil is Jane?”

She walked in and strode to my side, placing her hand on my shoulder and glancing at the two servants in surprise. “Is everything all right, Edward?”

I squeezed her hand. “It is now that you’re here. Let us begin, Mr Briggs. Read out the testament you have written per my instructions.”

“Edward?”

“It is time, Jane. I want everything to be in order as soon as possible.”

 “Edward, shouldn’t we discuss—”

“Do not interrupt me.” The footman’s head jerked towards me, and I realised my words had been too harsh. “Because if you do, my darling, I will lose my nerve and my concentration. I am feeling stronger today, but I know this will not last, and I want everything to be in order before I leave. Do you understand, Jane?”

She nodded and sat beside me, covering her mouth with an embroidered handkerchief. I waved my cane at Briggs. “Read it!”

I watched them listen carefully as Briggs read my will and then presented the siblings with his pen so they could sign.

“Jane, find Susan a husband and her brother a wife.” She nodded, and I turned to them again. “Make sure you marry your equal, as I did. The man or woman who matches your wit and intelligence, who will adapt to your way of life and accept you as you are, with all your faults, because our virtues are easy to tolerate.”

The girl looked at her brother, who bowed and spoke. “Yes, sir. Thank you for your advice, sir.” 

I didn’t like his tone, but I was in no mood to argue, and they had served their purpose. I waved towards the door. “You may return to your chores.”

The girl said, “Thank you, sir,” curtseyed, and spun towards the door, but her brother had the gall to ignore my words and turn to Jane.

“Mrs Rochester, is there anything you require?” I disliked his insolence, but it pleased me that he would be loyal to Jane over anyone else, including the present master of the house.

When she seemed too upset to reply, he insisted, “Shall I bring some tea to the drawing room?”

She composed herself, smiled and spoke at last. “Thank you, Michael.” It was a lovely smile, one that she had not bestowed on me for months, perhaps even years. She was right not to; I did not deserve her kindness. “I’ll be there shortly,” she added, and he followed his sister out.

“Jane, you are to be strong. John needs you, and you will have to run the estate single-handedly; he is not prepared yet. Mr Cooper is trustworthy. You can depend on him, but as with any employee, he must know you are his employer. He will respect you and answer to you. Have you gone through the books with him as I asked you?”

She nodded and glanced at Briggs. “There are some expenses I don’t understand. The payments to Jamaica, and others to…” she paused. I knew she must have seen the sums I had been sending to the convent in Spanish Town and London.

“You heard me tell Cooper yesterday they were to be discontinued, did you not?”

“Yes, I did, but I would like to know the subject and reason for the transactions.”

“They are old debts and burdens which have been amply paid. You are not required to carry any of them; that is all you need to know.”   

The less she knew, the better. There was no point in displeasing her by opening old wounds. The past was dead and gone. I would soon be relegated to her memory, and I did not want her to know all the reasons she should not have loved me. I could at least be a better man in her recollections. 

“Jane, you were too good for me. I never deserved you. I should have treasured you more, but I could not change my nature. You have been the love of my life, and if I did not love you more, it was because I was not capable of it, not because you did not deserve it. You are dearer to me than anyone has ever been, including my son. I have been a fortunate man to have had you by my side all these years. I am not proud of all my deeds; unfortunately, they cannot be undone, but I ask for your forgiveness.”

She was not angry or upset by my words, but she did not smile. Her face was calm, as if she had known a storm was coming and was taking refuge in a house on a cliff, watching the raging waves from afar.

“There is nothing to forgive that I have not already forgiven.

“There may be grievances you are not aware of and yet you must forgive them too.”

“Edward, I cannot forgive that which is unknown to me.”

“You would have me die in torment?”

“Of course not; I have nothing to reproach you.”

I wanted to tell her she was wrong; I needed her pardon, but she withheld her absolution. “Edward, I am tired. Simon will take you to your room and serve your dinner.” She dropped a chaste kiss on my forehead and left without waiting for my response. I never expected Jane to be so cruel, not after offering her my sincere repentance.

Why couldn’t she do as I asked and forgive all my sins, including the ones I had not confessed? If she understood I was trying to avoid the heavy burden she would have to carry if I told her everything, she would not deny me her forgiveness.

If you’d like to know more about Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, check out these three posts:

What Happened after Jane Eyre Married Mr Rochester?

Blood Moon at Eyre Hall Two Days to Launch

The Prequel which Inspired the Sequel to Jane Eyre

Blood Moon will be published on Amazon tomorrow, 22 August. Here’s the International link in case you’d like to check it out.

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