Hi all! I have a number of sound bits to report.
Been too busy to post each one individually! Life!
First up, this weekend I am heading to Southern California, specifically Santa Ana just below Anaheim to hang with my writer pals and attend the SoCalRWA Writers Conference. Very much looking forward to that! As part of the fun, I will partake in their BIG book signing event. If you are in the area, stop in to see me!
Here are the details:
Date: Sunday, March 17
Time: 1:00 to 2:30 PM
Where: Doubletree Hilton in Santa Ana, CA at 201 MacArthur Blvd.
Sponsor: Barnes & Noble
Books Signing: Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Darcy Falls in Love
*Unfortunately, outside books are not allowed into the signing area. However, I will be bringing my new bookmarks to sign!
The Passions of Dr. Darcy will be released in LESS THAN 3 WEEKS!! Right around the corner! The official release date is April 2. I am very excited! Are you? I sure hope so! I am not conducting an extensive blog tour this time around. That is far too time consuming. I am trusting that my fans will be anxious to by this book. *fingers crossed* I will be celebrating, of course, here and at Austen Authors, as well as a few other places, so be on the lookout for that.
Today I am sharing an excerpt at Austen Authors. A never read wee bit for your reading pleasure! Pop over to read and comment.
The Passions of Dr. Darcy can be pre-ordered, print or eBook editions, so that your copy will arrive right on schedule.
My giveaway for an advanced reader copy has ended. Thank you to ALL who entered! Your entry helped me tremendously with Twitter messages, reviews, Pinterest and Facebook postings, and so much more! I wish I had more ARCs to hand out, but alas I am at the end. Congratulations to the lucky winners. I hope you enjoyed the early peek and would love to see your thoughts shared here.
The Pride and Prejudice Readers Choice project at Austen Authors is going strong. If you haven’t read the story so far, it isn’t too late to catch up! The previous 4 scenes can be read on The Writers Block. Yesterday it was my turn to take the reins! Following the scene written by C. Allyn Pierson, a bandit attack on the way to Pemberley left Mr. Darcy shot. Oh My!! How did I deal with the aftermath, while also weaving in the “readers choice” winning plot option which was that Lizzy found a pocket watch dropped by the bandit who shot Mr. Darcy? Come to the blog and see! I had a blast writing my part. Voting is over, and next up is Marilyn Brant.
This week’s winner of an advanced reader copy of
The Passions of Dr. Darcy
signed by me!
Lori joins June and Cherri in the winner’s circle! Three winners down, FIVE more to go! Lots more chances to grab an early copy of my upcoming novel. Visit the Giveaway page to enter the Rafflecopter form. Any of the possible point options not only increase your chances, but also help me to spread the word about George’s story. I can’t thank you all enough for that.
And now, since we are amid the season of love, here is a short excerpt from The Passions of Dr. Darcy where we see George experiencing an enchanted moment. Enjoy!
* * *
“Losing my temper is counterproductive, no matter how good it might feel to bash Dr. White’s teeth loose or knock him onto his fat, useless ass—”
The double S morphed into a sound resembling a hissing snake as they rounded the corner to be drawn to a halt in words and momentum.
Standing not two feet away from George was Miss Chambers. She was leaning against the flat railing at the corner of the veranda, one hand wrapped around a curved post and the other toying with a diamond pendant hanging from the velvet ribbon encircling her slender throat. She was staring straight into his eyes, a small smile dancing on her lips, and instantly George knew that she had not only heard his diatribe but agreed with his vision of Dr. White sprawled onto his backside.
Later Dr. McIntyre would compliment George on his lack of embarrassment and swift recovery. In all honesty, George was not one to easily embarrass, and rapid reflexes—mental and physical—were a gift he possessed. Therefore, he did not flush, nor did he bow as would be proper, the latter sure to break the eye contact he had craved from the moment he had noticed her in the hallway above. Instead, he flashed her a cocky grin and winked, the combination widening her smile and adding a shine to her eyes. Beautiful eyes a grayish-green with flecks of amber around the iris.
“My lady,” he drawled, “I do apologize for the crude language and ungentlemanly references. I am a physician honor bound to heal, not inflict, so I assure you the scenario was pure fantasy.”
“I believe your oath never to harm another binds you only in regard to one who is already a patient, so none shall convict you if your fantasy is acted upon.” She spoke softly, almost as if talking were a foreign occupation, but blurted the sentence with conviction.
George’s left brow rose. “My, and I thought I disliked the man! It seems you and I have something in common, my lady. I am intrigued.”
Sarah’s cheeks flamed, her smile faded, and she stepped back a pace while diverting her eyes. Unconsciously, George leaned closer, the widened gap between their bodies unwelcome.
“What I should say,” he whispered, “is that I am fascinated. I was intrigued when I saw you outside Commander Doyle’s office before.”
She kept her head bowed but stole a glance at his face. It wasn’t much, George able to catch the minutest hint of emotion from the corner of her gray eyes, but it verified what he had sensed in the corridor above. With no wish to frighten her, George straightened and pulled away. McIntyre chose that moment to subtly clear his throat. George had momentarily forgotten they were on a tight time schedule. He did not remove his eyes from Miss Chambers, but nodded for McIntyre’s benefit.
“Perhaps we shall encounter each other at upcoming social events. If my good fortune continues, we may discover other opinions we have in common. I shall pray for the opportunity, my lady. By the way, my name is Dr. George Darcy. This uncharacteristically silent gentlemen is a colleague, Dr. McIntyre.” George paused and indicated the Scotsman, McIntyre tipping his hat toward Miss Chambers, who acknowledged with the faintest of nods. “May I be so bold as to request the honor of your name?”
He watched the rosiness on her cheeks increase. She swallowed, her lips parting a second later as if to speak. George did not move; time suspended as he waited for her response. Another swallow and quick glance upward into his warm eyes and relaxed grin was followed by a barely audible, “Sarah. Sarah Chambers.”
“Sarah Chambers,” he repeated, speaking gently and caressing each syllable. Slowly, she lifted her gaze to again engage his eyes. “It is a pleasure. I can imagine nothing more delightful than passing the afternoon in your company, Sarah Chambers, but alas we are ordered to leave within the hour so I must hasten away. I shall return and will seek you out. After all, I must unveil the mystery of a woman with such exceptional judgment in character.” He was thrilled when she chuckled and nodded her head.
Finally he bowed deeply, wished her a good day, and turned away, McIntyre falling into step. George did not look back until off the terrace and several yards across the open courtyard. The distance was not too great for him to see the serious cast to her face and to note the bewildered expression in the eyes that followed him. He flashed another wide grin and waved his hand, expecting her to flush anew and turn away. To his surprise, her lips curved in a tentative smile and her hand lifted to return his wave.
I hope you enjoyed that wee peak. There are more excerpts located HERE.
One of the options for entering The Passions of Dr. Darcy ARC giveaway is to answer the following question: What George Darcy past event are you most curious to read about? I wish the form allowed the answers to be seen publicly, but I have been looking at what all of you are curious about. I can’t answer everything in depth (or then you wouldn’t need to read the novel!), but I can share a few hints to ease your minds and further pique your interest.
The biggest interest was about his past loves, especially Jharna Ullas. What I will reveal is that during George’s nearly 30 years in India he will love three women who are significant. There are other affairs briefly mentioned – George is not a monk! – but these three women will greatly influence his life and touch his heart the deepest. If you have read of George in my previous novels then you know Jharna is the true love of his life (at least while in India). This relationship will be explored in detail, both their longtime friendship while she is the wife of his mentor and dearest friend Dr. Kshitij Ullas, and then the gradual evolution into love. Jharna and the Ullas family are major players throughout the novel, so you will get to know them all very well.
Along this same line, it was asked what her sons thought of the relationship between George and Jharna. Great question! George’s importance to Nimesh and Sasi Ullas cannot be understated, and vice versa. One of my tremendous joys was to breathe life into these two characters, both of whom were little more than names to me before. I am confident you will love them as much as I, and George, do. How George fits into the extended family of Hindus surrounding Jharna is a huge theme within the story.
Why did he address his journal to her? This question will be answered as well. All I can say now is that George always addresses his journal to a person significant to his life. The whys of how the habit was established, and who gets chosen during the course of his life, is a clue into his soul.
What made George go to India? At one point Dr. Ullas talks about fate and destiny, telling George that the reasons why he came to India may not entirely be what he thinks they are. Kshitij is very Hindu that way! Yet, he ends up being correct in his insight. George does have a reason for leaving England, and I do explore that. But as Dr. Ullas suspects, those reasons are not what keep him there.
His travels and all that he has seen are another frequent anticipation. I wish I could say I covered ALL Dr. Darcy’s travels and recounted ALL he has seen/done, but that would have taken several more thick books! This is a man who spent thirty years journeying from Bombay in the west to Calcutta in the east, Katmandu in the north to Ceylon in the south, and just about every point in between! I hit the highlights as best I could, but alas there are some adventures that must remain a mystery. Or for another book.
Why does he wear Indian garments? Believe it or not, social practicality was originally the reason. I do explain why, and it wasn’t for the comfort or flashy colors. Of course, those reasons became important, especially to the forever flamboyant George Darcy!
His childhood and teen years, and what his life was like before leaving home. Hmmm…. Hate to disappoint. I begin the novel with George as a 22 year old man, already a physician who is set to embark on his maiden voyage halfway around the world. Delving extensively into his life prior to that was never a major goal for me. However, that does not mean there aren’t glimpses of his youth, especially in regards to his relationship with his siblings and twin brother Alex.
His medical practices. Titling the novel the “passions” of Dr. Darcy was primarily to reference his passion for medicine. George is passionate about a number of things – women, food, clothing, family, friends, adventure – but none of those passions trump his obsession with medicine. This is truly the driving force of his life, so indeed the novel does cover his experiences in learning and applying his medical expertise.
How often was there contact with his family in England? George travels home to England three times during his years in India, not counting the fourth “visit” that ends up not being a visit after all. One of the facts I discovered upon deeper research is that a one-way sea voyage from England to Bombay, India took 5-6 months. That means a whole year just on the trip itself! I realized that George would need a very good reason to leave his life in India, and for a man who hates sea travel and loves India, even the draw of missing family wasn’t strong enough to undertake the journey too often. When he did, it was significant and I do cover those trips. Mail would also take 5-6 months to get from one place to another, delivery even longer during those times George was in Calcutta or a remote locale. Nevertheless, while it may be old news by the time a letter from England reached George, and vice versa, regular correspondence was maintained. Letters from James Darcy, the elder Mr. Darcy, Fitzwilliam, and other siblings and friends are referenced frequently.
How did he cope with his parents’ deaths? George’s mother, Emily Darcy, dies before this story begins, as does his twin Alex. Mr. James Darcy, George’s father, dies later, prompting George’s first trip home. How George deals with death and loss during the stages of his life is a major theme of the novel. Be prepared to suffer along with him because over the years he will be parted from a number of significant loved ones.
Why did he return to Pemberley? Ah! The million dollar question! And I can’t answer this without giving too much away! How about a small snippet to partially answer the question? Here is it—
McIntyre chuckled at George’s confused expression, so rarely seen on the confident man’s face. He took over, giving the brief rundown while pouring Raul a glass of wine. George said nothing, his eyes staring at his hands and the letter from William until McIntyre finished.
“I see,” were the first and only words out of Raul’s mouth.
George looked up, one brow arched. “‘I see’? What is that supposed to mean?”
“It means I see. I understand. That is all. It really has nothing to do with me, now does it?” He took a sip of wine, black eyes peering calm and steady at the wide-eyed George over the rim of the wine glass. “Unless, of course, I was to remind you that you do owe me a trip to England.”
“I owe you,” George sputtered, ignoring McIntyre’s snicker. “Who’s fault was it that you stumbled over your own clown feet and broke an arm? Owe you, my ass!”
Raul shrugged, it a regal lift of one shoulder and followed by another sip of wine. “You did promise you would take me on your next trip though.”
“Maybe, although I don’t recall the word ‘promise’ in there anywhere. And nothing about when that would be. Hell, I might have meant twenty years from now.”
“True. But here is an opportunity for you to fulfill your promise and not be beholden to me for twenty years.”
George cast a glower at each of them. “Is this some sort of conspiracy?” Neither deigned to reply. “You know Governor Nepean will have a seizure if we all leave at once?”
“He has a strong heart. I know because I assessed his physical health last month. He already has my replacement picked out—Dr. Ertham—so it would just be ye two, and it isn’t like the EIC isn’t used to ye rewriting contracts, George. I wonder why they bother wasting the paper after all this time.”
George couldn’t deny that truth, having often wondered the same, but like all bureaucracies, they weren’t capable of surviving without stacks of documents to prove their worth. Desperate, he tried a different angle. “Anoop will be devastated if I leave him. I can’t do that to him again.”
“Take him along. An adventure will benefit him as well. He has become as stodgy an old man as ye.”
“Nimesh and Sasi are planning a major celebration for my fiftieth birthday. At Pandey’s haveli in Kalyan. Impossible for me to cancel that.”
“Are ye deaf or so old ye canna remember the months? I said I was leaving next month, which is February, and ye birthday is in two weeks. I know ’cause we are invited to the party. Are you done making excuses?”
George gaped at Searc, who was grinning, and then turned to Raul, who continued to sip his wine as if bored by the whole conversation. The gleam in his eye proved otherwise. At a loss for words, George stared from one man to the other. Then, as the panic rose to the point of choking his air supply, George glanced down at the letter still clutched between his fingers.
I now have hope where none existed before that Pemberley shall once again be the joyous home of my youth, and as Father recounted from his childhood. The ancestral Darcy abode filled with laughter, children, and the touch of a devoted mistress who loves the manor as she deserves to be loved. I pray this image warms your heart as it does mine.
It did warm his heart and brought back fond memories. Mostly, however, he wondered who this Elizabeth Bennet, now presumably Elizabeth Darcy, was that she possessed the magical powers not only to transform a house too long mired in grief, but also a man’s entire being. His curiosity was sparked, and if there was one unstoppable force in the world, it was George Darcy when he was curious!
Okay, that gave more than a little bit away. LOL! I hope you enjoyed the snippet, and the answers to your questions. Keep trying to snag an ARC so you can neener-neener everyone else who must wait. The Rafflecopter form is on the post below. But if not so lucky, The Passions of Dr. Darcy will be released on April 2 and can be pre-ordered on Amazon and B&N. Less than 3 months away!
My most sincerest prayer is that everyone have a joyous Christmas replete with family, fine food, presents, Santa filled stockings, and all the rest! As a special treat from me, here is an excerpt from In the Arms of Mr. Darcy. Celebrating their second Christmas as a married couple, new parents William and Elizabeth welcome a multitude of guests to Pemberley. This snippet is a mere sampling of the fun that took place!
Darcy stood beside his wife, hand warm on her shoulder. She glanced upward, eyes sparkling as she clasped his fingers, lifting for a kiss to his knuckles. He smiled, brushing across her cheek before turning to Richard.
“Colonel Fitzwilliam, the gold wrapped box to your right is addressed to Mrs. Darcy. Yes, that one. Bring it here please.”
“For you, my lady,” Richard bowed gallantly, placing the flat box onto her lap.
“Thank you, Richard. William, I thought we were done. You already gifted me three new gowns, the sardonyx cameo brooch of a mother and child that I absolutely adore, the leather bound edition of Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads, two new pairs of gloves, handkerchiefs, and what else… oh yes, the wooden table with drawers to sit beside my chair!”
“Trifles, my dear. The latter essentially because I was weary of seeing your sewing scattered all over the ground.” He grinned and squeezed her shoulder. “This, in addition to the larger box in yonder corner”—he pointed to a now visible package previously buried under the mound of presents—“is your main gift from me.”
“You may as well just open it, Lizzy,” Jane interjected, smiling at her brother-in-law. “It is purchased and wrapped. I doubt if there is any chance it will be returned.”
“Absolutely none. Thank you, Mrs. Bingley, for your support. My wife has yet to comprehend the realities of being spoiled by her husband. I pray you do not torment Bingley with useless arguments and quibbling.”
“I fear she does,” Charles said with a laugh. “However, I do believe we should be thankful, Darcy. After all it was the modesty, virtue, and economy of spirit which partially drew us to the Bennet sisters, along with other stellar attributes I hasten to add.”
“Lord have mercy! We will be here until next Christmas at this rate! Open it, Elizabeth, before these two begin reciting poetry and destroy all our appetites!” George declared, Mr. Bennet laughing and nodding in agreement.
Jane blushed, Lizzy laughing as she began untying the ribbons. Lizzy was quite familiar with her husband’s need to shower her with gifts. It was a habit borne of his deep love for all those dearest to him; an expression established long before she entered his life. The logical conclusion was simply to accept it, but her nature would not allow her to ever be mercenary or greedy and, therefore, it was mildly uncomfortable. She glanced upon his glowing visage, much like a child with a secret, and could only say a silent prayer of thankfulness.
The box contained a book bound with fine calf leather dyed a deep blue with gold leaf etching along the spine. The pages inside were blank, the intent of which was unmistakably indicated by the gold emblazoned Alexander William George Bennet Darcy scrolled across the front cover. Before Lizzy could find her voice, Darcy was kneeling with hands caressing over the exquisite binding.
“It is a memory book. I saw something similar in Derby. I had this made by a bookbinding establishment in London that has restored numerous antique volumes I have purchased over the years. You can write your thoughts, facts as he grows, ink prints of his feet, memories of first words, when he walks, and anything else that comes to mind. Is it not a fabulous idea?”
“Darcy, this is marvelous!” It was Charles, face suffused with enthusiasm. “Where did you get it?” The new father and father-to-be launched into a discussion, Jane and Lizzy exchanging amused glances.
“William, thank you so much! It is a marvelous concept, keeping an itemized log, so to speak, of his transitions and growth. Will you write in it as well?”
“If you wish. My mother kept a similar journal for Georgie and me. I ran across them in the attic, having not thought on it for years.” His voice grew quiet, eyes far away for a spell as he stroked the embossed name of their son. “Such memories are priceless.” He cleared his throat gruffly with a slight shrug, voice firmer as he resumed. “The other gift accompanies and is the last, I promise. Merry Christmas, my love.”
It was a trunk of cedar, approximately three feet cubed with short legs, sturdily if plainly constructed with no embellishment other than Alexander carved in rough block letters across the lid. The sweet aroma of cedar pervaded the air, every eye lifting from individual unwrapping to observe the scene.
“Mother kept particular artifacts in a series of boxes, some that I discovered damaged. I did not want that to happen to Alexander’s favorite toy, first shoes, blanket, or anything else we deem worthy of keeping. So I built this…”
“You built it?” Caroline interrupted in astonishment, Darcy glancing to her face with a smile.
“I am quite skillful with my hands, Miss Bingley. Unfortunately, I do not have the talent for whittling or engraving as did my grandfather, so it is unadorned, but it will withstand the test of time and any pounding by a rowdy son! I thought it would fit nicely below the window in the nursery.”
“Absolutely! It is fantastic.” Lizzy raised one hand to lightly brush his cheek. “Thank you, William, again.”
Lizzy turned to Richard, “Colonel, now that my husband has finally exhausted the gift giving, it would be an appropriate time to retrieve the package you assured me was in your safekeeping. If you please?”
Richard bowed formally. “As you wish, Mrs. Darcy. Pardon me a moment.” And with a brisk clap of his military boot heels, he pivoted and exited the room.
“Secrets, Mrs. Darcy?” Darcy asked with a raised brow.
“It is Christmas, my dear.”
“While we are waiting, Lizzy, this is from all of us Bennets. We pooled our resources.” Kitty placed a smallish, but heavy gift on her lap, stooping to kiss her cheek. “Merry Christmas.”
The wrapping hid a roughly cigar box–sized, highly glossed, cherry wood musical box! The glass panel in the ornately carved lid displayed the copper cylinder and shiny mechanical devices required to turn the cylinder and elicit the sounds. Lizzy gasped, hand instantly over her heart in awe and delighted expressions of thanks pouring forth. It was a stunning piece of workmanship, instantly drawing the attention of most in the room, especially the ever invention-fascinated Darcy.
“Incredible! Where did you acquire one so large and sporting a cylinder rather than disk, Mr. Bennet?” He was already lightly touching the internal springs and motor.
Lizzy playfully batted his hands away with a laugh. “Get your own musical box to dissect, Mr. Darcy! This one is mine.”
He straightened with a faint blush. “Of course, dearest. I was merely looking.” Several snickers erupted, Colonel Fitzwilliam returning to a room of polite twitters and flushed cousin.
“What have you done now, Darcy?”
Darcy, however, had no response forthcoming. Rather, his gaze was riveted to the wooden case Richard held in both arms. It was well over five feet in length yet only a foot wide, which would have strongly hinted to Darcy what it contained even if it was not branded with the label Knopf Bros. of Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. His mouth fell open and immobility gripped all four extremities.
“How did you…?” He stopped, speechless.
Lizzy was grinning broadly, face rosy with delight as she jumped up to stand beside her paralyzed spouse. Placing one hand tenderly on his arm, she explained, “I know you have coveted one for your collection. Richard was able to acquire an original, dated 1786. I have yet to see it myself, not that I would know what I was inspecting, so I pray it meets your expectations. Open it!”
Richard laid the case onto the table, stepping back as Darcy approached with reverence. “This is unbelievable. I cannot thank you both enough.”
“I should have thought of it myself and claimed all the glory,” Richard said. “After all, years of immersing yourself in the journals of William Bartram and Jonathan Carver, as well as other American frontiersmen, and the undoubtedly embellished tales of Daniel Boone, should have enlightened me.”
Darcy had opened the case, nearly the entire room’s occupants now clustered about to watch, revealing a pristine condition rifle. But not just any rifle. A uniquely American invention of the 18th century frontiersman: a long rifle. This one sported a stock of beautifully grained wood, lacquered and decorated with silver and brass inlays fancily scrolled, the stamped and dated emblem of its makers, and a barrel easily four feet in length. Every surface, both wooden and metal, gleamed. It was exquisite. Collectively, the men in the room, even Mr. Hurst who had left his vigil by the liquor cabinet, whistled in appreciative awe. The women, unschooled in the artistry of firearms, nonetheless could readily grasp the fine quality and sheer beauty of the displayed specimen.
Darcy grasped the weapon, lifting with steady and competent hands, as Richard continued his narrative. “This one reputedly has a range of nearly four hundred yards in the hands of an experienced marksman. You should be able to achieve that, Cousin, with practice.”
“Four hundred yards!” Mr. Bennet gasped. “I would love to see that!”
Colonel Fitzwilliam turned to the skeptical Mr. Bennet. “A general I know has a long rifle and has reached four hundred seventy yards. Of course, he is our regiment’s finest marksman, actually trained as a sharpshooter, but Darcy here is quite an excellent shot. An English Baker rifle can nearly attain that distance, but not as reliably. Nor are they as imposing in appearance or as beautifully designed. I daresay these American rifles are the most elaborate I have ever seen, as painful as that is to admit.”
Darcy’s eyes were glittering as he sighted down the barrel, stock end nestled flawlessly against his shoulder. “I do not know about four hundred yards, but I certainly will attempt it. The balance is excellent, weight perfect, and you are correct Richard, no English or German firearm compares. Damned Americans!”
“Do you like it then?” Lizzy asked teasingly. “I am sure Richard could get my money back.”
He lowered the weapon to his side, encircled his surprised wife’s waist, and drew her in for a firm kiss. “I love it almost as much as I love you. You keep your paws off my rifle and I shall leave your musical box unmolested. Agreed?”
Lizzy nodded, several eruptions of laughter ensuing around the massed observers.
The celebrating with Jane Austen continues! Yesterday was her birthday, and the Soiree hosted by Maria Grazia at My Jane Austen Book Club is ongoing. Scroll down to the post below this one for my contribution. *Excerpts!! *Giveaway!!
Today and tomorrow I am thrilled to be spotlighted at Krista’s “Christmas with Jane” event on the Book Review Club. All month long Krista has hosted Austenesque authors – Abigail Reynolds, Maria Grace, Alyssa Goodnight, and Barbara Cole Tiller just to name a few – with interviews, Christmassy blog posts, and giveaways. Now it is my turn! I have been interviewed, written a fun/informative blog post on Regency-style Christmas, and will be giving away 2 copies of my eBook novella, A Darcy Christmas.
Monday, December 17 ~ Interview with Sharon Lathan
Tuesday, December 18 ~ Guest Post: Regency Country Christmas, as told by Washington Irving & Sharon Lathan ~ GIVEAWAY too!
It is December 16 and that means it is Jane Austen’s birthday. Time to celebrate! Can you believe Jane is…..? No, I won’t be the one to reveal a lady’s age. Shall we say she is remarkably well-preserved for a woman of her mature years, and leave it at that?
Austen lovers all over the world – both the “real world” and the cyber/internet one – are celebrating this influential English novelist’s life. There are parties and giveaways galore! I am partaking in one that is hosted by Maria Grazia at My Jane Austen Book Club.
“An Austen Soiree” has now begun and EVERYONE is invited! Austenesque bloggers from all over the globe are participating in the festivities with prizes, sharing thoughts on Jane and her influence, and with quoting our favorite novel passages. To view those who are participating, click the link below or the individual website link on the chart:
Naturally I chose Pride and Prejudice. The following passage from Chapter 58 is my absolute favorite. Why, you ask? Partially it is because after all the drama, angst, miscommunications, yearnings, heartbreak, and so on, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet finally have the heart-to-heart, honest, and open conversation necessary to clear the air and move them forward into Happily Ever After. However, a big reason why I love this passage is because Jane Austen brilliantly broke away from the detailed dialogue between the two central characters, diverting instead into semi-vague commentary that leave LOTS open to interpretation! As an author who is inspired to write “the rest of the story,” this tactic is highly advantageous.
Scene set up (in case you haven’t read the book in a while): Mr. Bingley has finally proposed to Jane. Lizzy is in turmoil over her feelings for Mr. Darcy, the “visit” from Lady Catherine, and the revelation by Lydia and Mrs. Gardiner as to Mr. Darcy’s part in the nasty Wickham affair. Finally he returns to Hertfordshire, and on a walk in the country Lizzy manages (on purpose?) to tarry behind so that she and Mr. Darcy are alone. Bravely, she opens the conversation–
“Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and for the sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how much I may be wounding yours. I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express.”
“I am sorry, exceedingly sorry,” replied Darcy, in a tone of surprise and emotion, “that you have ever been informed of what may, in a mistaken light, have given you uneasiness. I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted.”
“You must not blame my aunt. Lydia’s thoughtlessness first betrayed to me that you had been concerned in the matter; and, of course, I could not rest till I knew the particulars. Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them.”
“If you will thank me,” he replied, “let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.”
Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. After a short pause, her companion added, “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”
Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkwardness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances. The happiness which this reply produced was such as he had probably never felt before, and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eyes, she might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt delight diffused over his face became him; but, though she could not look, she could listen, and he told her of feelings which, in proving of what importance she was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.
They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects. She soon learnt that they were indebted for their present good understanding to the efforts of his aunt, who did call on him in her return through London, and there relate her journey to Longbourn, its motive, and the substance of her conversation with Elizabeth; dwelling emphatically on every expression of the latter which, in her ladyship’s apprehension, peculiarly denoted her perverseness and assurance, in the belief that such a relation must assist her endeavours to obtain that promise from her nephew which she had refused to give. But, unluckily for her ladyship, its effect had been exactly contrariwise.
“It taught me to hope,” said he, “as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of your disposition to be certain, that had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly.”
Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, “Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations.”
Aah! You have to love it! I know I sure do! Of course I latched on to Lizzy’s unknown but apparently lengthy explanation of her changed sentiments toward Mr. Darcy. And, I especially delighted in imagining how a man “violently in love” would “warmly and sensibly” express himself! In Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One I touched on the subject in the final chapter. In my current work-in-progress (set during the engagement period) I am covering the scene in greater detail. Very great detail! Here is a small sampling–
Once again Lizzy was breathless and mesmerized, captured by his eyes and the renewed thrills racing through her body at his touch. His eyes and fingertips reached her parted lips, feathering lightly.
“Elizabeth, please, may I kiss you?”
Unable to speak, she nodded faintly. As if in a dream of exquisite beauty, he lowered his head slowly while cupping her face with his strong yet tender hands. Instinctively her eyes slid shut with the first gentle pressure of his mouth brushing against hers.
Are there words adequate to describe what is indescribable?
His kisses were restrained, pure, and delicate; yet the sensations flowing through her body were torrential, dynamic, and astonishing. Simultaneous shivers and sighs of pleasure escaped their lips, Lizzy withdrawing an inch to meet his eyes.
“Is it supposed to feel so … incredible?”
He laughed softly and shook his head. “I would not know, but I believe it should.”
Without another word he claimed her mouth again, his kisses temperate as his hands traveled to her neck for soothing strokes. Of their own volition, her hands tentatively explored the muscular contours of his chest and shoulders, and then moved up to encircle his bare neck with fingers entwined in his hair. Instinctively her lips parted, the delicious pressure of his mouth glorious yet inexplicably increasing her yearning for more. Precisely what the more was that she craved, Lizzy did not consciously imagine, until he too parted his lips and ran the tip of his tongue across her bottom lip. Not sparing a particle of a second to analyze why this simple act felt unfathomably fantastic and spiraled her senses, she gave in to impulse, a faint moan escaping when she opened her mouth farther and hesitantly touched her tongue to his.
Fire ignited! It was sheer ecstasy!
Darcy groaned, the sound and vibration touching something buried inside Lizzy’s body that had never been awoken, and when he followed with a penetrating invasion of his tongue, that unknown something roared to wild life. The warmth and moisture and intimacy of this manner of kissing was beyond anything she had ever imagined or experienced. Yet rather than feeling overwhelmed or fearful, she yearned for even more.
Just a bit to whet your appetite! For the present, join in the birthday celebration with me and the list of bloggers noted at My Jane Austen Book Club. For this event alone I will be giving away ONE signed copy of my first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. Leave a comment, sharing your thoughts on the passages above and/or your favorite Austen passage, or simply why you love the writings of Jane Austen. Or just wish her a happy birthday and continued long life!
Giveaway Deadline: December 18, Tuesday, at 11:59pm PST. Winner announced shortly thereafter.
While you are here visiting, check out my HUGE December giveaway event: DETAILS HERE The prizes are awesome!
Join me at Darcyholic Diversions where I have shared an excerpt from my novella, A Darcy Christmas, AND where I am giving away 2 copies of the eBook! What a deal! The deadline to comment and enter is this Wednesday, December 12 so don’t delay.
If you don’t want to wait and take the chance of not winning a free copy, my novella can be purchased on Amazon and B&N for 99cents. And, of course, the anthology with all three Darcy-holiday-themed stories is available. Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Don’t forget my BIG December giveaway! Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.
~ Prizes Up for Grabs ~
One of my 6 Darcy Saga novels – winner’s choice – signed personally by me to FIVE lucky people!
THREE winners of my novella “A Darcy Christmas” downloaded eBook for Kindle or Nook
Pride & Prejudice 2005 DVD for Blue Ray
Duo DVD set: Pride & Prejudice 1995 and 2005
Georgette Heyer’s Regency World
For the remainder of December, I am popping up here and there with more chances to delight in Darcy Christmas joy and to win prizes~~
Thursday, December 13 - Austen Authors - A Regency Christmas Quiz!
Friday, December 14 – Leatherbound Reviews
Sunday, December 16 – Jane Austen Birthday Soiree here and in conjunction with The Secret Understanding of the Heart
Monday & Tuesday, December 17 & 18 – Christmas With Jane at Krista’s Book Review Blog
Follow me around, enter contests to win, and share the Christmas joy!