“I have been shaped by the events of over forty years, from when I was but a maiden. The world is a nasty place full of awful persons, Mr. Wickham, and does not get any lighter through complaining or blaming. T’is only if you confront evil with resolution that you have any hopes of prevailing.” – The Dowager Countess of Matlock (11th)
The countess: an enigma? A mystery? Or a young girl, all-grown-up?
Kitty Bennet, the fourth daughter of the Master and Mistress of Longbourn, had spent far too long as the shadow of her younger sister. The all-knowing Meryton chinwaggers suggested that young Miss Bennet needed education – and quickly – especially after the irregular circumstances that forced the wedding of Lydia Bennet and George Wickham.
How right they were…but the type of instruction Kitty Bennet received, and the where/when in which she matriculated, was far beyond their ken. For, they knew nothing of that remarkable piece of furniture that had been part of the lives of clan Bennet for over 120 years: the Bennet wardrobe.
After spending 46 years in the future, the Dowager Countess of Matlock returned to Longbourn’s bookroom at that exact same moment as she left in 1811 to tend to many important pieces of family business. However, she was now a woman of 63 years, some 13 her father’s senior. Time can deal funny cards in the universe created by Jane Austen and the Bennett Wardrobe.
Of course, the Countess is acting to set in motion forces that will shape the future of Britain – and the five families – throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In the process, Kitty Fitzwilliam will help her youngest sister find the love she craved with the unexpected hero who, as the Duke said, “saved us all”.
The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn is the second part and conclusion of the Bennet Wardrobe volume, chronicling the life of Kitty Bennet in the Wardrobe’s universe. This novel takes listeners on a journey that stretches from the early 19th into the mid 20th centuries.