Today I am really delighted to welcome Rose Servitova with some exciting news. Rose has just published The Watsons, a very special treat for all Jane Austen fans across the globe.
Jane Austen commenced writing The Watsons over two hundred years ago, putting it aside unfinished, never to return and complete it. Now, Rose Servitova, author of acclaimed humour title, The Longbourn Letters: The Correspondence between Mr Collins and Mr Bennet has finished Austen’s manuscript in a manner true to Austen’s style and wit.
As Rose would say ‘Jane Austen made me do it!‘
[ About the Book ]
Can she honour her family and stay true to herself?
Emma Watson returns to her family home after fourteen years with her wealthy and indulgent aunt. Now more refined than her siblings, Emma is shocked by her sisters’ flagrant and desperate attempts to ensnare a husband. To the surprise of the neighbourhood, Emma immediately attracts the attention of eligible suitors – notably the socially awkward Lord Osborne, heir to Osborne Castle – who could provide her with a home and high status if she is left with neither after her father’s death.
Soon Emma finds herself navigating a world of unfamiliar social mores, making missteps that could affect the rest of her life. How can she make amends for the wrongs she is seen to have committed without betraying her own sense of what is right?
[ Guest Post ]
Publication Day – 216 Years after the Book was Started
by Rose Servitova
Publication day for authors often feels like the finish line in a marathon of ups and downs, highs and lows, trips, falls and a victory hard-won. The starting line for most begins with an inspired idea or a memory. Rarely is the starting line 216 years old – the flash of inspiration of an author long deceased.
Such is the case with The Watsons, my second novel, a collaboration between Jane Austen and my good self which is, this week, let loose on the world. Austen has been a silent partner, in many ways, but I have occasionally felt her concurrence or disapproval and changed my words accordingly.
Austen is reputed to have started The Watsons in Bath in 1803, abandoning it in 1804 with only six chapters written. Many experts believe that the subject – the possible financial demise of a group of sisters on the death of their ill clergyman father was too close to her own story. In a case of life imitating art, Austen’s clergyman father died soon after (1805) leaving the three ladies of the household to embark on a series of house moves, their standards sinking with each one they were forced to make, until one of her brothers finally settled them in a cottage on his estate.
It is a great responsibility to take on Austen’s work and one I confess I took rather lightly. The burden, the sense of her legacy rarely bore down upon me. I don’t think she would have approved if it had, nor do I think I’d have been able to keep the novel light of tone and true to Austen’s wit if I had felt the literary world frowning upon me. I jumped into it and as one of its ridiculous characters, Solomon Tomlinson, said “let the world think what it would, it meant nothing to me.”
Was I guided by Austen? I don’t know. Perhaps! I was definitely guided by what felt right and what felt off. An inner piece of twine pulled and yanked, indicating what was appropriate and what was not. Perhaps having read several biographies on Austen’s life and, in particular her personal letters led me to believe myself on intimate terms with their author. I felt at times that I knew what a certain character might say or do. Funnily, when I had finished the novel, the characters felt as though they were true to the ones Austen had drawn up in her first six chapters. I felt an immense sense of satisfaction, that I had helped draw them out, dressed them, observed them as they encountered all sorts of adventures and listened to them as their story drew to its conclusion. Will my completion of The Watsons be viewed as a success – I can trust to the many Austen fans to tell me but I do hope that Jane Austen, wherever she may find herself, approves of it. I believe she just might.
Purchase Link – The Watsons
The Watsons will be launched on November 29th in the Robinson Library (7.30pm) as part of the Armagh Georgian Festival. This is followed by launches at Bishopstown Library, Cork on December 3rd (11am) hosted by the Cork Janeites, Narrative 4, Limerick on December 5th (6pm) and Ballyroan Library, Dublin (7pm)
[ What people are saying ]
“Very satisfying, sometimes moving & often laugh-out-loud hilarious.” – THE JANE AUSTEN REGENCY WORLD MAGAZINE
“A gift for Austen fans everywhere – full of wit, informed imagination and palpable affection for Austen’s characters” – Natalie Jenner, author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY
[ Bio ]
Rose Servitova has published widely and was twice shortlisted for Listowel Writer’s Week Humour Essay Contest. Her humorous novel, The Longbourn Letters – The Correspondence between Mr Collins & Mr Bennet, described as a ‘literary triumph’, has received international acclaim since its publication in 2017.
The Watsons is her second novel.
Twitter – @roseservitova