Wednesday, June 9, 2021
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Susan, a Jane Austen Prequel
by Alice McVeigh
Publication Date: May 30, 2021
Warleigh Hall Press
Genre: Historical Romance/Austenesque
“She possesses an uncommon union of symmetry, brilliancy, and grace. One is apt to expect that an impudent address will naturally attend an impudent mind – but her countenance is absolutely sweet. I am sorry it is so, for what is this but deceit?” -Lady Susan (by Jane Austen)
Sixteen-year-old Susan Smithson – pretty but poor, clever but capricious – has just been expelled from a school for young ladies in London.
At the home of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, she attracts a raffish young nobleman. But, at the merest whiff of scandal, her guardian dispatches her to Kent, where her sensible cousin Alicia lives, and “where nothing ever happens”.
But what with the unexpected arrival of the exuberant Frank Churchill, Alicia’s falling in love – and Susan’s artfulness – the Kent countryside will never seem so placid again.
“McVeigh’s prose and plotting are pitch-perfect. Emma mingles with Pride and Prejudice in a delightful confrontation between the two books’ worlds… This Austen-inspired novel echoes the master herself.” -Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize
“The reader is introduced to Susan, who relies on the good social standing and charity of her aunt and uncle. It is her sole duty, according to her relatives, to pursue economic security through marriage. Extremely beautiful and charming, yet openly rebellious against the expectations of her social status, she causes quite the headache for her relatives…The writing style is witty, fun and has all the hallmarks of an Austen novel. It will likely appeal to those who seek a modern continuation of British gentry romance and intrigue.” -RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books
“I found the characters colorful and thoroughly entertaining, the dialogue witty and laced with humor… Alice McVeigh writes with a flow and eloquence that makes the narrative as smooth as melted butter, and she perfectly captures the era.” -Pikasho Deka, Reader’s Favorite
“Fans of Jane Austen are in for an indulgent treat with the brilliantly crafted novel, Susan. Alice McVeigh has truly mastered the period parlance, immersing readers fully in this charming historical romance.” -Indies Today
About the Author
Alice McVeigh – who also writes in action/adventures as the Kirkus-star-awarded Spaulding Taylor – was born in South Korea, of American diplomatic parents, and lived in Asia until she was 13, when the family returned to the suburbs of Washington D.C. She then began to play the cello.
Alice achieved a B.Mus with distinction in performance at Jacobs Indiana University School of Music, and spent three years studying cello privately with William Pleeth, Jacqueline du Pre’s “cello daddy”. Since then she has freelanced with orchestras including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic and Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique all over the UK, the EU, America and Asia.
Alice has written fiction all her life, but never attempted publication until the late 1990s when her first two novels (While the Music Lasts and Ghost Music) were published by Orion/Hachette to wonderful reviews. (“Characters rise and fall to McVeigh’s superbly controlled conductor’s baton” – The Sunday Telegraph. “McVeigh succeeds in harmonising a supremely comic tone with much darker notes.” – The Sunday Times.)
Her only non-fiction work (All Risks Musical, Pocket Press, cartoons by Noel Ford) was published in 2001, and her first play (Beating Time) in 2003 by New Theatre Productions.
Alice started professional editing by editing her professor husband’s first book, Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn, published by Cambridge University Press.
Her most recent, speculative, novel (Last Star Standing) was published in February 2021 by UK publishers Unbound, under her middle names, Spaulding Taylor. It has had universally five-starred editorial reviews, including winning a Kirkus Star.
Her newest novel, Susan, A Jane Austen Prequel, will be published in June.
The McVeighs have one daughter, Rachel, who has just achieved a prize-winning First in Chinese Literature at the University of Oxford.
When not writing or editing, Alice is most likely to be smiting tennis balls at the Bromley Tennis Centre – very often out. As Rachel remarked, aged 4 or 5: ‘My mum hits the ball farther than anybody!’
She is a “big-five” published author, with seriously great reviews from the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph, a Londoner who sold the film rights to her first, contemporary, novel to Channel 4.