Friday, January 8, 2021

Sophia Rose Reviews: The Longbourn Quarantine by Don Jacobson, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

 Welcome to Sophia Rose's first review of 2021, today she's reviewing a historical romance on Audible, The Longbourn Quarantine by Don Jacobson narrated by Stevie Zimmerman.
Sophia Will be visiting with thoughts on novels on a regular basis so be sure and stop by to check them out.

The Longbourn Quarantine by Don Jacobson, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman

Historical Romance

Publisher:  Meryton Press

Published:  11.26.20


Time:  3 hours 50 minutes

Rating: 5

Format: Audible

Source: Author

Sellers:  Amazon /Audible /Barnesand Noble

Add To: GoodReads

Good Reads Blurb:

Refugees flood the roads. A feared specter has escaped London’s grimy docklands and now threatens the wealthy districts. Amongst that ragged stream is a single carriage jostling its way toward Meryton. Inside are the Darcy siblings along with Charles and Caroline Bingley. They desperately seek the safety of Netherfield Park.
For all their riches, they could not evade the epidemic’s dark hand. Bingley’s leasehold had been reduced to rubble as roving bands raped, pillaged, and burned. The only sanctuary was Longbourn where, once installed, the Darcys and Bingleys were barred from leaving by a fortnight’s quarantine.
Events converge with disease in The Longbourn Quarantine. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy abandon old prejudices to face grief and mourning. Pride is set aside as Death hovers nearby. The couple forges ahead. knowing that love unexplored is love lost: that words must be said lest they remain unspoken in the time of smallpox.


Sophia Rose's Review:

In a pandemic year, a historical set in the time of plague strikes home.  With thought to historical setting, setting within the world of a classical story, character growth, and relationships, this longer novella was a heartwarming and thoughtful listen narrated by a talented narrator.


The Longbourn Quarantine is a variation on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and takes up the story after the point that Mr. Darcy and the Bingleys leave Hertfordshire for London and stay away until a small pox plague decimates London and people rush to the country for safety.  Some of those are the Darcys and Bingleys who must seek refuge with the very family they ditched and there the story takes off.


As with any variation story, there is an original story in the background and a fresh new one unfolding.  I found the descriptions of the plague's spread, how people acted both nobly or selfishly, and how life carried on during this time was on the nose.  A listener does not have to have a previous acquaintance with Austen's classic because the author explains the circumstances well and describes the whole cast of characters and their interwoven relationships in detail.


Have you ever voiced the opinion when reading/listening to a a romance that the pair just need to be locked in a closet together and forced to actually communicate which would likely take care of all their differences? Ha, me, too.  I felt that this forced quarantine on the Bennet estate makes Elizabeth really look at the man's words and actions that she is convinced is unfeeling, selfish and arrogant just like Darcy must see his friend and Elizabeth's sister's real love and Elizabeth's family behaving generously and like any average family to see he judged them harshly and thought too much of his upper class background to give his own true love a chance.  I enjoyed the way their story and the overall story developed as a result.


One would think having a plague running rabid through a story would be a downer especially now, but the author didn't let it.  Don't get me wrong, the plague brought hardship and even sorrow, but there is great hope, too.  The epilogue is oozing with goodness that might be far-fetched in the way it was lavishly dispensed, but I was in the mood for happily ever after all around.


The narrator, Stevie Zimmerman is one I am long familiar with and really appreciate her way of connecting to her characters and historical settings so that her voice work enhanced the story.


All in all, it was a comfy listen, engaging with my mood perfectly, and a fabulous cast of characters and plot.  Those who enjoy sweet historical romance or Austen-themed stories should give this one a chance.


I rec'd a copy from the author to listen to in exchange for an honest review.


Author Bio:

Don Jacobson has written professionally for forty years. His output has ranged from news and features to advertising, television, and radio. His work has been nominated for Emmys and other awards. He has previously published five books, all non-fiction. In 2016, he began publishing The Bennet Wardrobe Series

The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Journey (2016)

Henry Fitzwilliam’s War (2016)

The Exile: Kitty Bennet and the Belle Époque (2017)

Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess (2017)

The Exile: The Countess Visits Longbourn (2018)

The Avenger: Thomas Bennet and a Father’s Lament (2018)

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion (2019)

Jacobson is also part of the collective effort behind the publication of the upcoming North and South anthology, Falling for Mr. Thornton: Tales of North and South, released in 2019.

Other Austenesque Variations include the paired books “Of Fortune’s Reversal” (2016) and “The Maid and The Footman” (2016). Lessers and Betters (2018) offers readers the paired novellas in one volume to allow a better appreciation of the “Upstairs-Downstairs” mentality that drives the stories.

Jacobson holds an advanced degree in History with a specialty in American Foreign Relations. As a college instructor, Don teaches United States History, World History, the History of Western Civilization, and Research Writing. He is a member of the Austen Authors Collective and JASNA. He lives in Las Vegas, NV with his wife, Pam.




  1. Yeah, I can relate to the whole locking characters into a closet so they work out their differences. This sounds like it was a great story.

    1. LOL, I always want to shout "Just talk!!!" It was a good one. Hope you get the chance, Nadene.

    2. Hi Nadene...thank your comment. I wanted to find a situation where our characters could move from two int three dimensions...where they would be forced to alter their worldviews because their current natures were unsustainable in the face of new circumstances. Look forward to your review of either the audio or the book itself.

  2. What a timely tale Sophia Rose and of course there's a Darcy involved and it sounds like the characters are behaving just like we are in this pandemic some selfless some selfish. Great review and I'm not familiar with the author. Thanks Sophia Rose

    1. Yes, so timely and still is. History repeating itself. LOL

    2. Hi RF...I am pleased you hosted my good friend Sophia Rose here. Her points are always insightful an author...have helped me become a better writer. "The Longbourn Quarantine" is my 10th #Austenesque book (The seven in the Benet Wardrobe, "Lessers and Betters," and "In Plain Sight." The 11th is the interim Bennet Wardrobe novella "A Thornhill Christmas."). I worked to have the enforced closeness combined with external circumstances force our characters into more fully-formed versions of themselves. I look forward to your thoughts.

  3. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review of one of our genre's treasures. Quarantine carried a lot of weight for me...I used the book and the characters to process what I was feeling. The closeness...the enforced living with other folks (although my wife is more congenial), the stresses placed upon people when confined to a prescribed space. Stevie made Sir William laughable, yet also a clear leader in the community. I also enjoyed making Wickham a "living" Hunsford letter. I hope your followers find much in this and my other #Austenesque stories to enjoy and ponder.

    1. As a reader, it helped me process my feelings about Stay At Home and the pandemic, too.

  4. Anything to do with plagues and quarantines right now would be an interesting time to read because we can all relate to it.

    1. Hi Mary, All of my writing finds me articulating my own truth through the characters...but, hopefully, staying true to the direction for their transformation through the devices of the plot. I also hope to bring readers to new and unexpected places (no...Darcy does not fall for Jane...that is not of what I speak) rather than tried and true destinations. I look forward to your review of either the book or the Audible.

    2. You said it, Mary. It resonated so much more because I was listening while we are all living through our modern version of it.

  5. I love the twist of P&P in a pandemic!

    1. Hi Diana, As I noted in earlier replies I needed to process my own emotions about self-quarantinning as well as to have an overarching device that would force the characters to be in close proximity for a period of time...long enough to change their notional behaviors. I used the idea of the great WWII film "The Lifeboat" which saw six characters confined to the space of a lifeboat. In that there was no possibility of the actors to express themselves through motionj...only their dialogue which revealed behavior. I could not confine Elizabeth to Longbourn House. She would (to steal from Mama B) go all distracted. Thus, Sir William, in his imprecise way (for I think he meant to limit them to the manor's four walls) confines them to Longbourn. That the characters construed to be the estate's land holdings. Thus, I can have Elizabeth flying to Oakham Mount for her peace of mind. Others will not leave the house. And one will never enter the main building. I look forward to your thoughts on the book or the #Audible.

    2. It was an intriguing mesh, Dianna. :)

  6. Thanks for your review of The Longbourn Quarantine. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. It was a timely novella, and one to which most of us can relate. I too liked Don's treatment of all the P&P cast of characters. Thank you, again, for taking the time share this with us.

    1. JT...I want to offer up my own thanks to you and your team for supporting me as I gave birth to this exploration of how stress can lead to change. That chjange allowed the Epilogue's HEA to resonate with truth.

  7. So Happy about that. Note, the book is also available on KindleUnlimited and in paper if you wish to go that route. Look forward to your comments and review.