Autumn, Pumpkin Spice, and a little JAFF story, by Zoe Burton

Autumn, Pumpkin Spice, and a little JAFF story, by Zoe Burton

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with an interesting topic for my posts that’s not been done a dozen times before. People tell me it’s okay to add my own spin on things, but I confess I do like to be different. This month, I wanted to tie into the season we are coming into … autumn.

I did a Google search for both Austen in Autumn and Autumn in Regency England. I could clearly see that both are topics that have been done to death, so I ended up turning away from it in frustration. Instead, I came up with hobbies. Some of those articles made me roll my eyes so hard I almost hurt myself, but they did almost give me fodder for a decent post. 🙂 I ended up writing a post about hobbies, but scrapped it. I freely admit I’m a whale reader and not an academic and the whole premise of my post would have been disagreed with by most JAFF readers, so out it went.

I eventually decided to share with you my contribution to autumn and the Pumpkin Spice craze.

Those who know me well, know I adore summer. I like autumn well enough, but it leads to winter and I abhor winter like Darcy abhors deceit of any kind. It never fails that come mid-August, I have friends coming out of the woodwork, wishing time to speed up so they can get a Pumpkin Spice whatever … latte or muffin or what-have-you. I never fail to remind them they cannot legally begin that nonsense until September 22nd. 😉

This year, I decided to honor those PS-loving friends with a sale. I have three bundles of books on sale the entire month of September. Each bundle is priced at $2.99, which is $5.00 off the regular price. It’s honestly a steal, because each bundle is worth between $13.00 and $20.00 if you bought each book individually. On top of that, if you buy all three bundles on sale, you’re paying less than $10.00!


The three bundles that are on sale and a link to each are at the bottom of my post. I want to share a little scene I wrote for you before I do that. I would not classify it as a short story, though it may be, because it is so short, only about 940 words.

Pumpkin spice is an American concoction, according to Wikipedia, so I substituted that with pumpkin carving, which was an activity many enjoyed during the Regency, according to my research, which was admittedly swiftly done.  


Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy gathered their four children in the dining room of their palatial estate, Pemberley. They assisted each child into a seat with strict instructions to keep their hands to themselves and wait quietly.

“Papa?” Eight-year-old Bennet Darcy ventured to draw his father’s attention.

“Yes, Son?” Darcy’s deep voice was kind and stern at the same time, and he knew when Bennet swallowed that the boy was uncertain if his impertinence would be censured or not.

“May I please carve my own pumpkin?”

“What did I tell you this morning about that?” Darcy settled young Charles on top of a stack of thick books the staff had placed on a chair for his use.

Bennet glanced at his mother, who stood with her arms crossed, staring at him. He sighed and looked down at his lap, where his little hands were clasped tightly together. “You said no.”

Darcy had seen his eldest son’s eyes dart toward Elizabeth, and his own involuntarily followed. He could see her irritation, a state she was often in when she was increasing, as she currently was. He could tell by the way her gown moved that her foot was tapping, and he smiled. One of the things Darcy loved the most about his wife was how easily she was roused to passion. An angry Elizabeth was a joy to soothe, in his opinion. He hid his grin, though, because it would not do for his son to think he was getting off lightly. He smoothed his features and looked back at Bennet. “What reason did I give you?”

Bennet sighed, the corners of his mouth drooping. “You said I am too young to handle such a sharp knife.” He looked as though he wished to say more, but another glance at his father’s forbidding countenance was enough to disabuse him of the notion.

“I did, and you remain too young, despite the passage of time since breakfast.” Darcy examined his clearly-disappointed heir for a moment, then looked at his other children. “Jane, Charles, MaryAnne, are you ready to begin?”

The three children, ranging in age from two to six, nodded. MaryAnne stuck her fist in her mouth as she stared, wide-eyed, at her father.

Darcy nodded, then gestured to the footman at the side of the room. Within seconds, four maids entered, each with a tray carrying a small, orange pumpkin. The footman brought up the rear, a long and wicked-looking knife in his hand. The servants placed their burdens on the table in front of the family, bowed, and then retreated.

Darcy removed his coat, folding it and placing it over the back of a chair. He rolled up his sleeves and looked at his wife. “I think, my love, that I should begin with the youngest. I do not know if she is capable of sitting still long enough to wait while I carve all four.”

Elizabeth had relaxed after Darcy had dealt with Bennet. She now laughed. “I believe you are correct in that assessment.” She sat in the chair placed beside MaryAnne’s and helped her youngest daughter keep her hands to herself while Darcy carved.

It did not take long for the Master of Pemberley to carve pumpkins for his three youngest children. Each smiled prettily and thanked their father with a hug and a kiss as he finished.

Elizabeth stepped into the hallway to call for the children’s nurse. Mrs. Roman gathered the trio of little ones and led them toward the nursery, listening as they chattered to her about “punkins” and Papa. Elizabeth watched their progress, smiling with pride. She returned to Darcy’s side to find her husband on their eldest’s seat, Bennet in his lap.

Darcy had allowed his eldest to lay his hand on Darcy’s, making it seem as though the boy played a part in carving the gourd. Bennet concentrated mightily, his tongue between his teeth, as his father guided the knife. When the pumpkin was carved, he grinned, his expression lighting his entire face.

“Thank you, Papa! It was wonderful!” Bennet turned in his father’s embrace to throw his arms around Darcy’s neck.

2005 Darcy and Lizzy dancing

Darcy wrapped his arms around his son, holding him close for a moment. “You are welcome,” he said as he set the boy back a bit. “It will be a few years before I allow you to cut your own, but if we follow a similar pattern every year until then, you will have learned the motions and process needed.” He kissed Bennet’s cheek and lifted him off his lap. When the child was standing on the floor, he patted the boy’s head. “I am proud of you for behaving so well while your sisters and brother had their turns. Go on out in the hall now and ask Mr. Baker to walk you to the nursery. Mama and I will be up soon to read you a story.”

“Yes, sir.” Bennet made a bow, not quite perfect, but good for one of his age, and ran out of the room.

Darcy turned to his wife. “That went very well. I was angry at him when he first asked to carve by himself, but persistence can be a good quality, and I do not wish for my children to be too timid.”

Elizabeth giggled as she slid her hands around Darcy’s waist. “Oh, I have no fear of any of our children being timid.”

Darcy pulled Elizabeth close and lowered his head toward her lips. “Not with such a one as a mother,” he murmured, winking at her. When she opened her mouth to protest, he silenced her with a long and tender kiss.

Before you run away to buy the books, are you a pumpkin spice fanatic? Do you think Jane Austen would have liked it? Drop me a line in the comments to tell what you think.

Darcy’s Adventures  

Forced to Wed  

Mr. Darcy, My Hero  



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10 Responses to Autumn, Pumpkin Spice, and a little JAFF story, by Zoe Burton

  1. I like Pumpkin spice but wouldn’t say I’m a fanatic as I do get tired of it really quickly. I do like this time of year though as I’m always interested in seeing all the pumpkin flavored items that start to appear in the stores for this brief of time and my husband who enjoys pumpkin much more than me usually ends up buying them all.

  2. Sweet! And I just bought some pumpkin spice bread yesterday and there are only 2 slices left. We made French Toast. Yummy!

  3. Thanks for the cute snippet, and yes, I like anything pumpkin. When mine were little rather than getting three pumpkins I let them each pick or draw a feature. I made a page each of eyes noese and mouths for the pumpkins. They could pick one of the designs or draw a feature of their own. We would not let them see what the others chose until the pumpkin was carved. We used to have some very unusual jack-o-lanterns at our house!

  4. Thank you for this great and very generous sale. I have several of these books on my TBR List and my library only has a few of them so I am planning on buying at least one of these bundles if not more. Personally I am not mush of a pumpkin fan (and neither is my Mum, she finds the pumpkin mania as a bit annoying actually). I do usually get a small pumpkin like gourd to paint for Halloween for the last several years and used to carve one when I was little with my older brother (who is 20 years older and the artist in the family) but otherwise I am content with a bite of pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving and alright if I skip that some years and only have a bite of pumpkin every several years.

  5. I like certain things pumpkin spice but not everyrhing. Sometimes I do think people go a bit crazy with it. Loved the short story!

  6. PS… Not a fan. I can take it or leave it… mostly leave it. I am always amazed every year at the new items added to the list of things that are PS. Some people are completely fanatical where PS is concerned. It is amazing. Thank you for the discount books. That is very generous.

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