“‘So Emma,’ said he, ‘you are quite the stranger at home. It must seem odd enough for you to be here. A pretty piece of work your Aunt Turner has made of it! By heaven!… What a blow it must have been upon you! To find yourself, instead of heiress of eight or nine thousand pounds, sent back a weight upon your family, without a sixpence…. After keeping you from your family for such a length of time as must do away all natural affection… you are returned upon their hands without a sixpence.’”
— Jane Austen, The Watsons
The next Pink book, The Mischief of the Mistletoe, opens with the above quote from Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, The Watsons. I took my inspiration for Mistletoe from Austen’s story of a young woman returning to a modest home after being disappointed of her expectations by her great-aunt’s imprudent remarriage.
Guess what happens to my heroine?
The Watsons is not one of Austen’s more popular works. Referring to it as a dark re-run of Pride and Prejudice, critics have speculated about her motives both for writing and for abandoning it.
None of them seems to have considered the possibility that it might have something to do with an old family friend, French spies, Christmas puddings, and an amiable vegetable named Turnip Fitzhugh….
For an advance copy of The Mischief of the Mistletoe, here is this month’s question:
Which is your favorite Austen work? What appeals to you about it?
A winner, chosen at random, will be announced here on the News page next Tuesday.