Er… no. No epilogue to Mistress of Netherfield. Sorry?
Mistress has garnered some great reviews. In just over a week since publication, it has over 90 ratings on Amazon.com alone, and some breathtakingly wonderful reactions that had me smirking a lot. But more than one reader bemoaned the lack of an epilogue that recounted the fate of each character after the curtain dropped.
An epilogue isn’t the end of a story. It’s an add on. Something that comes after the conclusion, after the story is resolved. I get that they’ve been around ever since someone first sat down and actually wrote a story (as opposed to Homer, say, and the oral tradition in Ancient Greece), and maybe they give the reader a feeling of “ooh, happy ever after” warmth after those final words “The End”.
Problem is, I’m not fond of them. I have a very lively memory of that last Harry Potter book and the gawd-awful epilogue Rowling tacked onto it to show everyone married off and sending their kids to Hogwarts 10 or 15 years after Harry defeated Voldemort. How boring it was. How mundane. It told us nothing of great interest. She’d actually ended Deathly Hollows at a great place, a uniquely lively ending. And then she killed it stone dead with that epilogue.
For me, when the story’s over, it’s over. I don’t want to tack on another 3000 words of how many children Darcy and Elizabeth had, or what happened to Matthew Grayson, or how Wickham fared in Australia. I carefully crafted a final line that personally I thought ended the book in a moment of enormous (and very sweet) romance and overwhelming trust between the two characters. When Elizabeth puts her hand into Darcy’s, she’s accepted him, faults and all, and has overcome her doubts and demons.
To me, that’s a high spot. An add-on epilogue that robs the reader of the chance to imagine for themselves the future lives of the ‘happiest couple in the world’ would feel, well, anticlimactic.
So set your imagination free. If you like to know who Mary Bennet married, and whether Lydia ever rode on an elephant in India, then feel absolutely free to imagine how that all will happen. That’s exactly why I ended Mistress where I did. It’s over to you, now!
Mistress of Netherfield is available now from the bookseller of your choice at this link: https://books2read.com/MistressOfNetherfield