Thursday, May 9, 2019

Dear Jane Blog Tour ~ Guest Post & Giveaway!

Hello, my friends! I'm delighted to be part of the Dear Jane Blog Tour! Allie Cresswell has stopped by with a guest post and a giveaway! I hope you enjoy! 

Why I chose to write about Jane Fairfax

‘Emma’ has always been my favourite Jane Austen novel. I studied it in detail at school and then again at University. Imagine if ‘Persuasion’ has been on the syllabus? My Highbury Trilogy would never have been written! In it I have explored the more minor characters who have always intrigued me; Mrs Bates, her two daughters and the enigmatic Miss Fairfax. 

Jane Austen predicted that nobody but herself would much like Emma Woodhouse and in my case she predicted quite accurately. I don’t like her and even given her mortification at the end of the book, I can’t quite forgive her. I find Jane Fairfax to be a more attractive and interesting character, perhaps because Miss Austen necessarily veils her in a shroud of reserve and mystery.  Jane, truly accomplished, well-travelled and sophisticated, glitters far more brightly for me than Emma, who is the brightest star in a very small firmament; to my mind she is gauche, narcissistic and small-minded. 

Given Jane’s superior qualities, though, I struggled to understand her attraction, let alone her secret engagement to Frank Churchill. Not only could I not understand it, I couldn’t square it with the sensible girl Jane seems to be. What might have driven her to embark on such a dangerous course? What alternatives did she have? How might her upbringing with the Campbells have contributed to her reckless decision? These questions plagued me. I couldn’t believe her capable of the kind of silly, infatuated and materialistic manoeuvrings of Lucy Steele in Sense and Sensibility but what was her motivation? I had to know. I didn’t understand her but I did admire her. At least she knows her own mind, her own heart. For some reason I had to discover, she chooses Frank from, presumably, a wide selection of eligible young men to whom she has been exposed in London and Weymouth. That in itself is so much more interesting that the young lady of Hartfield who selects her husband from a catalogue of one.

Emma makes mistakes but they are errors of judgement, social gaffes, rather than moral failings. Jane’s sin - if we can call it that - is far more serious and so much more interesting. Her secret engagement contravenes every rule in the book of social behaviour; even a covert correspondence, if discovered, could have tainted her reputation for life. To be secretly meeting a man - as Jane must have met Frank on many occasions - endangered not only herself but her guardians and her friend Miss Campbell. Why would she take such a risk?

Emma suffers, but not much. She only has to endure the sweaty pawings of Mr Elton, the embarrassment of telling Harriet that she has got things wrong and the shame of realising that she has been far too indiscreet in her dealings with Frank Churchill. These things have passing - and deserved - discomfort but they are not devastating. Jane, on the other hand, suffers terribly. We know from her conversation with Mrs Weston that she has known no tranquil hour from the moment she agreed to the secret engagement. She is wretchedly unhappy, morally compromised, helplessly mired in deceit. The profound seriousness of Jane’s situation is far more moving and raised far more questions than the little ripples of Emma’s faux pas.

The Jane Fairfax we meet in Highbury is reserved - and no wonder! She has much she must conceal. But there is nothing like an enigma to get a writer’s creative juices flowing. I was desperate to see the madly flailing, emotionally broken, morally torn girl beneath that aloof exterior. I wanted to understand it, to identify the causes of it, and I suppose, in that regard, I am no better than Miss Woodhouse.

Dear Jane
by Allie Cresswell

Book Synopsis: 

The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma. 

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day. 

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it. 

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks! 

About the Author

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College,

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique
holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to
lifelong learners. Most recently she has been working on her Highbury trilogy, books inspired by
Jane Austen’s Emma.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and
lives in Cumbria, NW England.

You can contact her via her website at or find her on Facebook.

Blog Tour Schedule:

May 1: Celtic Lady’s Reviews (Spotlight/Excerpt)
May 6: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)
May 7: My Jane Austen Book Club (Spotlight/Excerpt)
May 9: So Little Time (Guest Post)
May 14: More Agreeably Engaged (Excerpt)
May 15: Austenesque Reviews (Review)
May 20: Babblings of a Bookworm (Interview)
May 28: A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
May 30: A Convent Garden: Gilflurt’s Guide to Life (Guest Post)
May 31: True Book Addict (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #DearJane #AllieCresswell

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! To celebrate her blog tour, Allie Cresswell is giving away one e-copy of her new book, Dear Jane! To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter below. This is a group giveaway. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Allie for visiting us here today! I really enjoyed her thoughts about Jane Fairfax. Now I am questioning Jane's reasons for entering into a secret engagement! It looks like I'm going to have to read Dear Jane to find out! 

Also, thank you to Serena M. Agusto-Cox @ Poetic Book Tours for inviting me on this tour! 

So, friends, what are your thought on Jane Fairfax? Have you read any of the books from the Highbury trilogy? 


  1. Thanks for being on the blog tour. I love when authors choose to explore the lives of secondary characters.

    1. You're welcome, Serena! Thanks for including me! Yes, it is nice to see more of a secondary character!

  2. Ths sounds like it will be an interesting read. Thank you so much for the give away.


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