Advance readers often mention that
The Jane Austen Society
goes perfectly with a cup of tea so, along those lines, I would suggest an afternoon tea menu to accompany my book.
Of course, the best part of any tea is the cake, and for this I would suggest the two different ones served in Chapter 17. This is the chapter where reclusive heiress Frances Knight is being visited by two Hollywood insiders who want to acquire the former Austen cottage as a summer home. Showcasing the very real fruits of the centuries-old estate where she lives, Frances has two cakes put out for her guests: a classic Victoria sponge (see recipe), and a coffee walnut cake.
I would add to the menu small triangles of cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, made with crustless white bread. Since my book takes place at the tail-end of World War II when rations were scarce, villagers like the Knights would be using homegrown preserves, honey, and other ingredients whenever possible, and I too have tried to select simple recipes that can be found in many pantries.
Finally, I would recommend a traditional black tea, such as Earl Grey, or a roasted, nutty green tea. The coffee and walnut cake would also pair well with sweet sherry —the nightcap indulged in by two characters, Adeline and Mimi, after a particularly momentous society meeting. And if you are lucky to have any inexpensive Cava or Prosecco on hand, a little touch of bubbly always kicks afternoon tea up a notch.