It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a family member near death’s door cannot but have an effect on, and change, the members of that family.
Scarlet fever ravages the town of Meryton and changes the fates of the Bennet family. Elizabeth catches it and is sent away to a sanitarium for almost a year to recover. She returns a cautious, more thoughtful creature, one who has suffered from hearing loss. She brings to Longbourn a friend she met at the sanitarium, Catherine Parks, who has is partially blind. Mr. Bennet jokes that between them, they make a whole woman.
Jane finds that the loss of her sister Mary to scarlet fever propels her to be bolder. Kitty breaks away from Lydia’s influence and finds an odd ally in Caroline Bingley. Mr. Bennet is emboldened to attempt to break the entail.
Mr. Bingley moves into the neighborhood and brings his reserved friend, Mr. Darcy, for a brief stay. Because of Elizabeth’s hearing loss, she does not overhear Darcy’s initial insults, and a thunderstorm catches her and Darcy unawares, trapping her at Netherfield (and changing the way that the pair sees each other). But Mr. Bingley and his party still leave the area.
The rest of the Bennet family is entertained when both a militia and a company of regulars move to the area. With such an assortment of men in scarlet coats, Mrs. Bennet is overwhelmed and delighted with the idea that her daughters will marry officers.
But will Mr. Bingley return? And will those handsome and charming officers ever pay attention to the Bennet daughters with threats of the current peace faltering? Can Elizabeth and Darcy find each other again amidst this turmoil as she heals from her physical ailments, overcomes the loss of her sister, and navigates the circumstances and events that continually threaten to separate her and the object of her heart?
© 2019 Anne Morris
Excerpt from Scarlet Fever, Scarlet Coats