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More fun in celebration of my book Willoughby’s Return! To win a copy of Willoughby’s Return simply answer the questions about Colonel Brandon, the true hero of Sense and Sensibility.

1 Where does Colonel Brandon live?

2 What is the name of Colonel Brandon’s ward?

3 Who first decides that the Colonel is in love with Marianne?

4 Which character says the following of Colonel Brandon?

“I have three unanswerable reasons for disliking Colonel Brandon: he has threatened me with rain when I wanted it to be fine; he has found fault with the hanging of my curricle, and I cannot persuade him to buy my brown mare. If it will be any satisfaction to you, however, to be told that I believe his character to be in other respects irreproachable, I am ready to confess it. And in return for an acknowledgment, which must give me some pain, you cannot deny me the privilege of disliking him as much as ever.”

5 Who said of Brandon – “But he talked of flannel waistcoats, and with me a flannel waistcoat is invariably connected with the aches, cramps, rheumatisms, and every species of ailment that can afflict the old and the feeble.”

6 Of all the screen adaptations who is your favourite Colonel Brandon and why?

Click the link to post your answers to be added to the hat to win a copy of Willoughby’s Return. The competition is open worldwide and will close November 14th – winner announced on the 16th.

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Two Colonel Brandons for your delight! The top photo shows David Morrissey playing the part in the recent BBC adaptation – the bottom photo is Alan Rickman starring in the Emma Thompson/Ang Lee version. With these lovely examples of Colonels how did it take Marianne so long to realise where her heart lay?
In Sense and Sensibility Marianne first meets Colonel Brandon at Barton Park – home to the Middletons on whose estate the Dashwoods have kindly been given a cottage. Mrs Jennings, Lady Middleton’s mother takes no time in asserting that the Colonel has fallen in love with Marianne and sets about teasing them both mercilessly. Marianne is less than impressed!

“…Colonel Brandon is certainly younger than Mrs. Jennings, but he is old enough to be my father; and if he were ever animated enough to be in love, must have long outlived every sensation of the kind. It is too ridiculous! When is a man to be safe from such wit, if age and infirmity will not protect him?”

“Infirmity!” said Elinor, “do you call Colonel Brandon infirm? I can easily suppose that his age may appear much greater to you than to my mother; but you can hardly deceive yourself as to his having the use of his limbs?”

“Did not you hear him complain of the rheumatism? and is not that the commonest infirmity of declining life?”

“My dearest child,” said her mother laughing, “at this rate, you must be in continual terror of my decay; and it must seem to you a miracle that my life has been extended to the advanced age of forty.”

“Mama, you are not doing me justice. I know very well that Colonel Brandon is not old enough to make his friends yet apprehensive of losing him in the course of nature. He may live twenty years longer. But thirty-five has nothing to do with matrimony.”

“Perhaps,” said Elinor, “thirty-five and seventeen had better not have anything to do with matrimony together. But if there should by any chance happen to be a woman who is single at seven-and-twenty, I should not think Colonel Brandon’s being thirty-five any objection to his marrying her .”

“A woman of seven-and-twenty,” said Marianne, after pausing a moment, “can never hope to feel or inspire affection again; and if her home be uncomfortable, or her fortune small, I can suppose that she might bring herself to submit to the offices of a nurse, for the sake of the provision and security of a wife. In his marrying such a woman, therefore, there would be nothing unsuitable. It would be a compact of convenience, and the world would be satisfied. In my eyes it would be no marriage at all, but that would be nothing. To me it would seem only a commercial exchange, in which each wished to be benefited at the expense of the other.”

“It would be impossible, I know,” replied Elinor, “to convince you that a woman of seven-and-twenty could feel for a man of thirty-five anything near enough to love to make him a desirable companion to her. But I must object to your dooming Colonel Brandon and his wife to the constant confinement of a sick chamber, merely because he chanced to complain yesterday (a very cold damp day) of a slight rheumatic feel in one of his shoulders.”

“But he talked of flannel waistcoats,” said Marianne; “and with me a flannel waistcoat is invariably connected with the aches, cramps, rheumatisms, and every species of ailment that can afflict the old and the feeble.”

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I’ve been having a bit of fun with portraits. We all have our own images in our heads of what our favourite characters look like and I often see a painting and think -‘Oh, there’s a Bingley, or he’d make a good Mr Darcy. I found these which match my thoughts on Willoughby, Marianne, and Colonel Brandon from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I love the cover on my new book, Willoughby’s Return, but I’d love to see the whole portrait – it only gives a tantalizing glimpse of what can only be a handsome man! I’m not sure about the little inset picture which I think is a lovely Marianne – is it a Greuze? I’m not sure, I shall have to investigate.I love portraits from Jane Austen’s time (as you’ve probably guessed) and when I was browsing through one or two sites of miniature portraits I came across this one and instantly thought of the badboy we love and hate (depending on where we’ve got to whilst reading or watching Sense and Sensibility). Isn’t he Mr Willoughby to a tee? ‘…his person, which was uncommonly handsome, received additional charms from his voice and expression.’ He’s very handsome and gentleman-like with a powdered wig – when Jane Austen wrote her first version of Sense and Sensibility in 1795/6 hair powder would still have been worn though shortly after this time a tax was imposed on it by the government thus ensuring that people stopped using it. I love his dark coat too, he probably keeps this one for best, and not for shooting in the woods around Allenham.
As soon as I’d found Willoughby I wondered if I could find Marianne, and here she is: ‘Her form, though not so correct as her sister’s, in having the advantage of height, was more striking; and her face was so lovely, that when, in the common cant of praise, she was called a beautiful girl, truth was less violently outraged than usually happens. Her skin was very brown, but from its transparency, her complexion was uncommonly brilliant; her features were all good; her smile was sweet and attractive; and in her eyes, which were very dark, there was a life, a spirit, an eagerness which could hardly be seen without delight. From Willoughby their expression was at first held back, by the embarrassment which the remembrance of his assistance created.’ I think she’s rather lovely.
Last, but by no means least is my lovely Colonel – don’t you think he looks just gorgeous, his eyes are so kind. I think he would look after Marianne beautifully, and he looks as if he might have poetry in his soul. ‘Colonel Brandon, the friend of Sir John, seemed no more adapted by resemblance of manner to be his friend, than Lady Middleton was to be his wife, or Mrs. Jennings to be Lady Middleton’s mother. He was silent and grave. His appearance, however, was not unpleasing, in spite of his being in the opinion of Marianne and Margaret an absolute old bachelor, for he was on the wrong side of five-and-thirty; but though his face was not handsome his countenance was sensible, and his address was particularly gentlemanlike.’
To read about the identity of this army officer please click here on the 51stlightinfantry.co.uk website.
Just looking at this love triangle makes me want to read S&S all over again!

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It’s always an exciting moment when an author sees her new ‘baby’ go up on Amazon. The cover isn’t there yet but I know the wonderful designers at Sourcebooks are on the case! Willoughby’s Return is a sequel to Sense and Sensibility which is one of my favourite Austen novels. I’ve always wondered what might have happened to the Dashwood sisters after their marriages, and in particular how Marianne might have fared. In Sense and Sensibility Marianne has her heart broken by Mr Willoughby, her first love, but later finds true and lasting love with Colonel Brandon. Mrs Brandon is a passionate woman who gives her heart freely and I’m sure has found her equal in Colonel Brandon who despite his grave exterior has enough qualities and interests to satisfy his new wife – he is not only rich and gentlemanly, but he has proved his love for Marianne and he loves music and poetry as much as she! Elinor Dashwood, Marianne’s sister, is also at hand having married Edward Ferrars who has become the new rector at Delaford Parsonage on the Brandon’s estate in Dorset.
A happy ending for all concerned then? Of course, if you love to write Jane Austen sequels then a happy ending is guaranteed, there could be no alternative, but I had several questions about the Brandons that I needed to satisfy which is one of the reasons I had such fun writing this book. Although the Brandons have found happiness at last, I think their pasts are bound to catch up with them one way or another. Characters like Mr Willoughby, Marianne’s first love, and Eliza Williams, the daughter of Brandon’s ward are re-introduced into my book, Willoughby’s Return, a tale of almost irresistible temptation. Margaret Dashwood, the youngest daughter is of an age to be going to balls and looking for partners and her story weaves in and out of the others. I really enjoyed writing Mrs Jennings’s character and the Steele sisters. Lucy Steele is of course married now to Robert Ferrars. There is more information on my website as well as an extract from my new book which will be released in November.

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