Kellynch by Kwen D. Griffeth
Genre: Jane Austen Fanfiction / Romance
The landscape of quilts moved as the woman beneath them stretched and a good morning hum accompanied the movement of bed covers. A hand showing manicured nails appeared from under those covers and slowly lowered them to reveal a tousled head of brunette hair and then, brown eyes. The eyes squinted as they glanced at the angle of the sunshine beamed through a nearby window. The sun was bright, sharp, and rude; the eyes closed in self-defense. Even so, the brightness of the intruder triggered a much more intense stretch and the accompanying hum sounded more like a groan.
“Oh, if I do not force myself from this bed this instant, people will begin to mistake me for my sisters.”
A chuckle from the distant corner of the room responded and the woman sat up. Across from her, a rounded woman, in her fifties, sat on a chair. On her chubby face was a smile as she studied her needlepoint from under the ruffle of a white mob cap that sat so low on her head; it could have been made there.
“Anne Elliot Wentworth, if you slept until noon, every day, no one of any importance would ever mistake you for your sisters.”
Anne Elliot Wentworth joined the chuckle and replied, “Charlotte, you have been with me since I was but eight years old.”
“And a better student there was not.”
“Let me finish.”
The older woman lowered her gaze in an act of deference, but kept the smile of familiarity, “Sorry, Milady.”
“As I was saying, you have been with me most of my life and in many ways, my best friend. So, I believe your opinion of me compared to my sisters to be a bit skewed.”
“Yes, Milady, I might plead guilty to such a charge, but I remain convinced of my assertion.”
Anne threw back the covers and rose from her bed. Wearing only her nightshirt, she walked to the aforementioned window. She stood modestly to the side and looked over the lush gardens and closely cropped lawns before her.
The gardens of Kellynch stretched along the east side of the main house and circled around to the south end. The collage of colors that greeted her forced an intake of breath. Though the flowers were at a distance, simply their overpowering beauty triggered the memory of their perfumes. She shook her head slightly and marveled.
“Charlotte, I have lived here most of my life and I am still amazed at the beauty of Kellynch. This has to be the most beautiful spot in all of England, maybe the entire world.”
“This is a beautiful house,” Charlotte nodded, “and I believe with all my heart you are the proper lady for it. I have to admit though; being married to a fine gentleman like the Captain has more benefits than just the acreage before you.”
Anne turned away from the window and watched as her companion warmed water in the fireplace. The older woman had originally been her nanny, then one of the housemaids, and as the years passed, she became her personal maid. Now, due to Anne’s ascension, she had become the maid for the lady of the house.
“I am the wife of Captain Fredrick Wentworth. How I love the sound of that. We have been married almost three years and still I find myself repeating that in my mind. I am the wife of Captain Fredrick Wentworth. Through all the years of wishing it were so, I did not realize how happy I would actually be. If but for one disappointment, I would be living the life of a fairy tale.”
Jane Austen completed “Persuasion” in August 1816. It was to be her last book. She left us with the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth and she left them approaching “happily ever after.” What happens the day following “happily ever after?”
The story of Kellynch picks up three years after the couple married and were able to secure the Kellynch estate from Sir Walter and Cousin William Elliot agreed to waive the entailment.
It would seem all is well with the young couple, but all is not as it seems.
Kellynch is a story of deceit and treachery as well as courage and overcoming the odds. It is a story in which those who were assumed to be friends are not and where support comes from unexpected places. Love again, will, be tested in a story set against the backdrop of historical events.
Throughout the book, I have tried to remain true to the characters as Miss Austen created them. I sought to develop and introduce new characters that would meet with her approval.
When describing my life, I think Douglas Adams said it best, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I have ended up where I needed to be.”
Books have always been a large part of my meandering.
I grew up on a ranch in southeastern Idaho and my friends were a mixed and rowdy bunch. Louis L’Amour told me tales of the west, but Edgar Rice Burroughs took me to the jungles of Africa. Sir Author Conan Doyle walked with me through the fog-covered streets of London, and Jane Austen taught me to be a gentleman.
I read several other authors but I was fourteen when I met the man. Sitting in an English class, I chose a book from a required reading list and I was introduced to Ernest Hemingway. His book, “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” allowed Mister Hemingway, Robert Jordan, and I to fight in the Spanish Civil War and I never left Idaho. When I closed the back cover, I knew that no matter whatever else I did, I would be a writer. Even today, when I think back, I am still in awe of how Hemingway’s words touched the soul of an adolescent boy.
I entered the Army a year after high school and stayed in uniform for the next two decades. The military offered me the opportunity to live my own adventures separate from the ones I lived vicariously in books. While in uniform, I worked in a variety of fields, Infantry, Military Police, and Military Intelligence. I worked on a psychiatric ward and later at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. I took trips to Mexico, Canada, and twice to Germany. I have visited the forty-eight contiguous states and desperately want to see the other two.
Along the way, I met and kept printed friends Allister Maclean, Robert Ludlow, John Grisham, and Tom Clancy. I had flings with several others, Joseph Wambaugh, Clive Cussler, and Stephen King.
I started to write and failed. Repeatedly, I would start a story, only to end it and discard it as it sounded too much like the works of one of my friends. I went through periods when I refused to read, because I was frustrated and angry with those friends. Those friends who were what I wanted to be.
Fifteen years ago, I got sick. I got sick and it was misdiagnosed. I almost died, but then I met the doctor who figured out the riddle and, with his help, I started working my way back. As I got better and my brain got stronger, stories, characters, and plots started to form. I found my voice and I published my first book, a novella called “Dear Emma,” in February 2012.
I used to feel strange telling people, “I got better and now I hear voices,” but the statement is accurate. I feel I am in good company as several authors have made such references. As I said at the beginning, I am exactly where I need to be.