Longbourn Press was launched in December 2011 with the publication of Stuart Bennett’s novel The Perfect Visit, which tells the story of two bibliophiles who go back in time to rescue lost books and manuscripts. Vanessa Horwood decides on Regency England; Ned Marston goes to Shakespeare’s.
But Vanessa wants to rewrite history. And Ned wants to meet the Bard himself.
The novel takes its title from Jane Austen’s Emma: “it was a delightful visit – perfect, in being much too short.” Vanessa and Ned both plan such perfect visits. And both reach their destinations. Then things go wrong and their sojourns become longer and more dangerous than either had ever imagined.
Vanessa falls foul of the law, transported from Jane Austen’s genteel world to the dark underbelly of a Regency prison. 1607 London shows an equally black side to Ned when he antagonises one of Shakespeare’s rivals, escaping with his life only to find that an accident of time takes him only halfway home.
Copies are available in large format paperback ($14.95) and as a Kindle download ($2.99) via the following link:
An illustration from Miss Horwood’s The Lily, or, Little William and his Mamma, published by Dean and Munday circa 1825-1830.
Praise for The Perfect Visit:
“Stuart Bennett’s remarkable visit to Regency England is compulsive reading, a treasure house of observation, perceptiveness and detail. Admirers of Jane Austen’s novels will feel that they have truly come home.” – Stephen Orgel, General Editor, The Pelican Shakespeare.
“If you enjoy novels with bookish characters and antiquarian themes, have I got a recommendation for you! . . . Ned and Vanessa’s experiences among famous authors and book collectors make for a perfectly delightful read. . . . . It brings to mind the PBS slogan, ‘entertainment without the guilt.’” – Rebecca Rego Barry, Fine Books & Collections.
The Perfect Visit is, no way to say it otherwise, a perfect treat – who of us would not want to spend a few days [or pull an all-nighter!] in the company of a time-travelling couple who are each in turn lovers of books, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and just possibly each other?” – Deb Barnum, Jane Austen Society of North America – Vermont Region.
The cover of The Perfect Visit, reproduced above, shows an original print from the author’s collection which appeared in Rudolph Ackermann’s Repository, 1826 with the caption “Evening Dress.”
Deb Barnum of the Jane Austen Society of North America interviewed Stuart Bennett about The Perfect Visit in April 2012. Links to the two-part interview follow: