Loving Miss Tilney
A Variation on Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey
Available August 1, 2023
available by Excessively Diverted Press
She’s forbidden to wed a nobody. He’s nothing in society’s eyes. Will their desperate schemes backfire before they find a way to be together?
Northanger Abbey. Eleanor Tilney can’t bear her lonely life any longer. Distraught when her tyrannical father throws her friend out of the house because the girl lacks an inheritance, the long-suffering general’s daughter decides anything is better than a future all alone. So in a frantic bid for freedom, she puts aside her tender feelings for a man of no standing to pursue a wealthy husband.
Philip Brampton understands that fortune is against him. And he tries gallantly to bury his distress and support his lonely beloved, even after she starts pursuing an arrogant buffoon. But when he catches the fellow about to kiss her, their resulting harsh words cause a heartbreaking rift.
Stiffening her spine in a world that refuses to acknowledge her value, Eleanor attempts to navigate the impossible situation without quashing her desires. And though his shy nature abhors a scene, Philip braces himself for a confrontation with her cruel and abusive patriarch.
Do these childhood sweethearts have any hope of achieving lasting happiness?
In this excerpt, Eleanor Tilney is talking with her friend Alice about Eleanor’s intention to marry anyone just to get away from her controlling father. General Tilney will only allow Eleanor to marry wealthy man and, since her friend Catherine Morland has been thrown out, Eleanor has reached her breaking point living at Northanger Abbey.
“So long as he is not a fool or a rake or has a temper like my father’s, I will do what I must to marry the first eligible man I see.”
“You are in earnest? Eleanor, no!” Alice cried. “What about Mr Brampton?”
The mention of Philip’s name brought fresh to her heart the most excruciating and intolerable pang. “He is a friend, and friend enough that he would be happy to see me removed from Northanger.”
Alice gave her a disbelieving stare, and Eleanor looked away in silence, her heart beating fast.
“Mr Brampton is merely the son of your mother’s cousin, then?” Alice’s voice raised sceptically. “A childhood friend, the intimate of Mr Henry Tilney’s? That is all he is to you?”
She could hardly say that he could be everything to her if only he had the courage to speak and if her father would ever agree. If General Tilney disdained Catherine Morland, he would never consider Philip. Philip Brampton had connexions her father could value, but not near to the fortune.
Whatever our feelings are for one another, Philip has enough pride not to ask when he knows the general would never consent to our union.
Eleanor, endeavouring to collect herself and speak with firmness, went on. “Mr Brampton and I are connected by the bonds of common friend‐ ship, no more, and he knows what I suffer at Northanger. Mr Brampton would, of course, wish a happy union for me—”
“With a gentleman my father approved of and whom I respected.”
“He might say that, but he won’t feel it in his heart.” Alice gave her a long look. “How can you marry a man you don’t love?”
She felt a calm resolve settle over her. “I am not interested in captivating a man’s heart. There is some man who needs a wife with a fortune, with good connexions, a wife to keep his house and tend to his children and who requires nothing more than respect and the authority due to any married woman.”
“You might be made so unhappy if you choose poorly.”
Eleanor gave her a sad smile. “How happy do you think I am now? My happiness will come from my freedom from Northanger. It will arise from sharing the peace of a husband who is made happier by my presence in his house.”
Alice was now standing over her with her arms crossed over her chest. Alice had parents who, while comparatively absent, treated her kindly. She could never understand the constant anxiety of living under someone who ruled absolutely, of whom she could never be certain if she were to be shouted at or ignored for days.
Eleanor rose and grasped her friend’s hands. “Alice, I do not expect a happier destiny than choosing a husband who can appreciate my domestic virtues, and to be proud of the homage those virtues receive in public. It is all I can expect, and leaving Northanger will in and of itself grant me happiness.”