Accepting a marriage proposal is merely the beginning . . .

 

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are betrothed! How did Lady Catherine restore Mr. Darcy’s hope to prompt his second proposal? Did Caroline Bingley yield gracefully? Were the Bennets and Meryton citizens approving?

Readers of The Darcy Saga have shared in the romance, life, and marital escapades of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Now the “prequel to the sequel” recounts the weeks in between as two new lovers prepare for happily ever after. Embark on the journey as Darcy and Elizabeth overcome the rocky past and discover the depth of their love. Delight in budding passion and sweet romance. Enjoy the wedding planning and adventures during the initial weeks of their engagement.

A Season of Courtship promises Hope of the Future.

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Synopsis:

Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship is Volume One of “The Darcy Saga Prequel Duo” recounting the two-month betrothal period of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

This novel begins with their chance encounter on a misty moor in Hertfordshire when Mr. Darcy proposed for the second time, and Elizabeth said, “Yes!” and covers the first month. Amongst the moments detailed in depth, we learn exactly what transpired with Lady Catherine de Bourgh told Mr. Darcy about her confrontation with Elizabeth. We join Lizzy as she discusses her choice of man with her father, and how the remaining members of her family take the news. We revisit scenes touched upon briefly in The Darcy Saga novels, such as the surprise meeting at Willow Bench, in greater depth. We dig inside the mind of Caroline Bingley, and how she plots to steal Darcy away.

Told from the point of view of both characters, discover how they grow to truly love and understand one another. Feel the awakening of new love and desire as they tentatively explore those feelings.

And, of course, we must not forget Mr. Bingley and Jane! The courtship period is not a boring one, to be sure, this novel ending on a dramatic note with a passionate exchange between our main two lovers while in London.

Published March 2014
ISBN 0991610601

Independently Published by Sharon Lathan

Random Excerpt #1
Their trot became a sedate walk, Darcy leading Parsifal directly toward Elizabeth. Without preamble, he leaned in, cradled her face with his right hand, and kissed her—just a tender press of closed lips, yet enough to ignite a fire inside his veins.

“Miss Elizabeth, what a delightful surprise. Come here often, do you?”

Caressing her cheek with gloved fingertips, Darcy bestowed a second kiss before she could answer. The feel of her hand pressing his tighter against her cheek and the slight parting of her lips nearly sent him over the edge. Literally. Maybe Parsifal sensed his master about to topple out of the saddle, or maybe he was bored of standing still. Whatever the instigation, his sudden shift and loud snort broke the spell.

Elizabeth jerked backward, and Darcy grabbed her arm before she tumbled off the fence. “Hold up there!” he shouted, the exclamation for Elizabeth and Parsifal. Yanking on the reins, Darcy squeezed his legs around the horse and leaned back while steadying Elizabeth at the same time, causing an odd dance to ensue. Both laughed at the absurdity, which only served to increase the shakiness.

Once assured of her stability, Darcy let go and walked his restless horse in a series of prancing circles. He was still laughing, but stopped when he saw her face.

“My apologies, Elizabeth. Did Parsifal frighten you?”

“A little, yes. All my attention was focused on you”—she flushed and glanced down for a second—“and I almost forgot you were on a horse. His commentary on the situation took me by surprise.”

“He is quite opinionated, I fear. Especially when his purpose has been interrupted.” Darcy pointed to the wandering cattle when Elizabeth cocked her head in question. “I do believe he was anticipating scattering the herd when I changed our course. In that case, his pique is directed at me, not you.”

“Well, I do apologize to Parsifal for spoiling his fun, although I imagine yonder cows would thank me. I pray my interruption did not spoil your fun, Mr. Darcy?”

“Indeed not, Miss Elizabeth,” he teased. “While stampeding cattle is tremendously satisfying, the pleasure of meeting you transcends. I cannot fathom a better way to end my ride than with you.”

“What a pity, then, that you are on that side of the fence. We are doomed to be parted unless I climb over the fence. I have done it before—”

“Yes, I imagine you have,” Darcy interjected, laughing.

“If you imagine it, then I suspect you know what I mean when I say it is not the most ladylike of ventures.”

“Probably not, by some standards. I tend to think I would enjoy the spectacle, not the least because of the possibility of seeing a bit of your legs.” He grinned at the rosiness that infused her face, and loved it even more when she tossed her head and made as if to climb higher, her expression arch. Gods but she is a minx! “Save your dignity, Elizabeth. My solution to the dilemma is expeditious and does not involve either of us resorting to improper behavior.”

Wheeling Parsifal about, Darcy left her with mouth agape and eyes wide. Galloping full tilt a good clip, he whirled around, and with a shout and added jab with his heels, launched into a barreling rush straight at the fence. A glimpse at Elizabeth’s pale face, as he and Parsifal leapt cleanly over the top rung, did send a sharp stab of regret into his heart. By the time they slowed and came about, exhilaration from their acrobatic feat and the sheer delight of seeing her standing feet away under the trees usurped any regret.

Until, that is, he dismounted.

“How could you do that without warning me? My heart stopped, I swear it did! You could have hit the rail or fallen off when he landed! Or what if he decided the fence was too tall and stopped? Off you would go, flying through the air and—You think this is funny?”

“Yes—that is, no, of course not, but, well, you are overreacting, Elizabeth. None of those things were likely to happen.”

“How can you be so sure?”

He dropped Parsifal’s reins, the stallion immediately wandering off to graze without a backward glance, and crossed to where Elizabeth stood. She was pale and trembling, but she had also fisted her hands at her hips and glared at him furiously. Her anxiety for his safety was rather touching, a warm glow spreading through his chest, and he tried not to grin. Obviously he was not showing an adequate amount of contrition because her scowl deepened.

Grasping her fists and pulling them up to his lips, he answered, “I am sure because Parsifal and I have jumped all sorts of obstacles, including fences, and many were taller than this one. In fact, we have jumped this fence before, a bit further south. My mistake for not giving due warning or elucidating my expertise as a horseman. Your concern warms my heart, but there is no need to fret over my safety on a horse, trust me.”

“Anyone can have an accident, Mr. Darcy, and I would prefer it not be my fiancé weeks before our wedding,” she scolded. “I shan’t argue your skill as a horseman. That is evident even to my untrained eye. Just try to show a bit of restraint, please? For me?”

“I promise to be cautious. Or at the least not to frighten with my exploits while you are watching.”

“That is not the same thing, sir!”

“No, I suppose not,” Darcy agreed, grinning.
Random Excerpt #2
“I have a radical idea that women should be educated as men are. Should I scandalize William and tell him?” Laughing, Lizzy pulled her legs up and rested her chin atop her knees. “If not for seeing animals mate, none of us would have the vaguest idea what married people do. Frankly, I presumed the act was similar, in the sense of being a deed to be done not greatly different than breathing or eating.”

“That may be a slight exaggeration, Lizzy.”

“Yes, of course it is. But not by too much, you have to admit, Jane. If not for the random whisper or offhand comment or rare affectionate couple, like our uncle and aunt Gardiner, there would be no evidence to point to human intimacy being particularly enjoyable.”

“Unless one is male,” Jane whispered.

Lizzy nodded, knowing what she meant. Females boldly discussing matters of sensuality and intimacy were expressly forbidden. This mandate was ignored, of course, but circumspectly, with hesitant whispers and the barest knowledge gleaned from questionable sources. At the same time, it was an accepted fact, loudly proclaimed, that men were highly sexual beings. Females were constantly warned against the male species with their “uncontainable lusts” and similar cautionary phrases. So much so that even if clueless what an “uncontainable lust” entailed, you were on the lookout for it.

“In retrospect,” Lizzy said slowly, the idea newly forming in her mind, “it is not that the knowledge is unspoken, rather that it is mixed with innuendo and false facts.”

“And guilt or shame for daring to let your thoughts drift in that direction.”

Lizzy nodded in agreement with her sister’s assertion. “Quite so. Are you…afraid, Jane?”

The sharp rap at Jane’s bedroom door, followed by it swinging open abruptly, jolted a squeak from each of them.

“Oh! Girls! I heard your voices and decided it was time. Indeed, past time!”

Mrs. Bennet rushed inside, ruffled nightdress and robe fluttering, her tone on the edge of berserk and movements jittery. Even for her it was extreme. Jane and Lizzy exchanged a worried glance and half expected a calamity to hit the house any second.

“Past time for what, Mama?”

“Why, to discuss your wedding nights, of course! So much to say. Yes. Well, we cannot voice such matters where your sisters may overhear. They will need to know in due course, but I am sure my nerves are unable to withstand all four of you staring at me and asking questions! Lydia found out on her own, I daresay, and appeared none the worse for it, so I thought to do the same until Mr. Bennet told me to—”

“Papa told you to talk to us?” Lizzy wanted to drop into a hole and shot a horrified look toward Jane. Surprisingly, aside from high color to her cheeks, Jane calmly watched Mrs. Bennet pace and wore an expression of curiosity, not the embarrassment Lizzy expected and was feeling. Wondering why she was mortified, instead of relieved at the prospect of finally getting answers from someone experienced on the topic, occupied her mind long enough that Lizzy missed part of her mother’s speech.

“…be prepared for your husband’s demands and expectations. It is safe to presume that all men are not the same in…their urges or how they…pursue relations, but be assured that for most, as I understand it, the need to be with a woman is strong. Animalistic in that respect. Now, what you two can expect on your wedding nights, and as often as your husbands can manage it thereafter, is…”

Neither Lizzy nor Jane said much, only breaking in a handful of times with pointed questions or clarification. By the time Mrs. Bennet exhausted herself—an hour later—Lizzy’s head was spinning. Then, as quickly as she had arrived, she was out the door with her good-nights tossed over a shoulder.

For easily fifteen minutes, Jane and Lizzy sat in silence staring at their hands, the carpet, the wall—anything but each other. Finally Lizzy murmured, “I cannot decide between ‘amorous congress’ or ‘convivial society’ as my favored euphemism. Either is better than hearing Mama use a clinical word like ‘coitus’ or ‘copulation.’”

Jane stared at Lizzy for all of two seconds. Then they fell back on the bed, giggling hysterically. Breathless and wiping tears, Jane gasped, “This is all your fault, you know.”

“My fault?”

“You brought up the subject, remember?”

“Oh my! I suppose I did! I had actually quite forgotten.”

“You asked if I was afraid and I was about to answer that I was, a little anyway. Now, thanks to Mama, it all seems too amusing to be fearful of.”

“Yes, I suppose it is to a degree.” Lizzy turned her head to look at her sister, but Jane was staring up at the ceiling. “What were you afraid of?”

Still staring upward and smiling with the recent attack of laughter visible on her countenance, Jane explained, “Nothing for myself. Mainly my fears arose from the desire to please Mr. Bingley as a wife aught while unsure how I could do that when knowing so little. Yet even before Mama’s information, I was realizing I had no need to fret over that either. It is God’s design, Lizzy, and every woman since Eve has been exactly where we are now. Every man too, for that matter. Whether the first time or the hundredth, sensual intercourse—another intriguing euphemism—is a part of the marriage relationship as God intended.”

“So, logically it cannot be a frightening, unwanted activity,” Lizzy added when Jane said no more.

“Exactly.”

“Even though Mama gravely declared otherwise?” Jane turned her head and looked at Lizzy—just looked at her, no words passing her lips and her expression bland, yet Lizzy knew the message being conveyed. “Right. How silly of me.”

“I trust Mr. Bingley and how I feel when with him. I cannot share specifically, Lizzy. It would be too uncomfortable. I can say that I feel wonderful with him, enough so that I am convinced the…rest will be equally as wonderful.”

“Of course you are right. Like you, I want to ensure William’s happiness and…satisfaction, I suppose is the most apt term.” Suddenly hit with embarrassment from she knew not where, Lizzy sensed the heat washing across her cheeks and giggles tickling her throat. “Speaking of William’s happiness, you must help me, Jane. I learned from Miss Darcy that his birthday is in November. I would like to plan something special.”

Jane was thrilled with the idea, and soon the two were plotting various ways to surprise Mr. Darcy, the diversion perfect to relinquish apprehensions surrounding amorous congress.
Random Excerpt #3
“Ah! Here is your copy of Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach.” He drew the slim volume off the shelf, silently thanking the fates for drawing his eyes in a providential direction. “I named my stallion after this poem and confess to being quite startled when Miss Elizabeth instantly recognized where it came from. I greatly appreciate that your daughter is an extensive reader, Mr. Bennet, and clearly have you to thank for instilling that passion within her.”

Mr. Bennet turned toward his desk, circling and relaxing into the chair as he replied. “Lizzy was always precocious in that way. No offense intended toward my dear Jane, Mr. Bingley, but none of my daughters have shown the intense interest in reading as Lizzy has.”

“Not to worry, sir,” Bingley assured, smiling dreamily. “I am not the rabid absorber of literature as Darcy is, so it matters little to me that Miss Bennet does not read to the extent of Miss Elizabeth. Darcy, on the other hand, would have a difficult way of it with a wife who was not the bookworm he is!”

Thanks for feeding into my plan, Charles. Darcy smothered his smile and nodded. “Indeed, Bingley is correct. It might surprise you, Mr. Bennet, but as lovely as Miss Elizabeth is, it honestly was not physical attraction that first drew me to her.”

“I am not surprised, Mr. Darcy. After all, the people of Hertfordshire are aware that Lizzy was deemed ‘not handsome enough’ to tempt you into even a simple dance. I can only imagine the amazed speculation that will flitter throughout the countryside when your betrothal is announced.”

Darcy stiffened and almost dropped the book from suddenly nerveless fingers. The citizens of Meryton thinking negatively about him was not a mystery, but he had no idea his rude dismissal of Elizabeth during that first Assembly over a year ago was common knowledge. Before the full impact of just how steep the hill he had to climb in order to improve popular opinion toward him—and clearly that of his future father-in-law as well—Bingley jumped in.

“Please do not judge Darcy harshly, Mr. Bennet! He is renowned for his gentlemanly behavior, most especially to the ladies of Society!” Darcy winced, not sure how that statement would be interpreted by Elizabeth’s father. Bingley was not done, unfortunately. “His manners are normally of the highest caliber, I promise you that. So much so that he is sought by all as the perfect companion for dancing and the like.”

Darcy fervently prayed the ground would open and swallow him.

“It is entirely my fault,” Bingley rushed on. “I bullied him into coming to Hertfordshire last autumn. His heart’s desire was to return to Pemberley and Miss Darcy. Then, I compounded the matter by insisting he attend the Assembly. His foul mood on that occasion was an anomaly, and his words were directed at me, not meant as a personal insult to Miss Elizabeth.”

“Charles.” Darcy halted his friend with a raised hand. “Your gracious rise to my defense is appreciated but unnecessary.” He turned to Mr. Bennet, whose expression was unreadable. “There is some truth to Bingley’s claims, insofar as my desire to be at Pemberley rather than here. Nevertheless, only I am responsible for my actions and words.”

He paused to inhale, keeping his gaze level with Mr. Bennet’s. “I am the master of my choices and my moods. Indeed, I was in a temper that night and confess with shame that I did scant to hide it. I also confess that my former prejudices blinded me—in many ways. I hope I can prove to you, sir, that my attitudes have severely changed since then, in large part due to your fine daughter. Yet, at that time and on that night, foul mood or not, when I said that I did not warrant Miss Elizabeth as a temptation to me, or as particularly handsome, I meant it.”

“I see.” Mr. Bennet nodded once. Then his serious expression faltered, a small smile playing about his lips. “Your honesty is refreshing, Mr. Darcy. And you need not worry at my displeasure in your confession. As I said, we already know the truth of your initial thoughts toward Lizzy. Others were appalled, such as Mrs. Bennet. Mothers tend to consider physical appearance and the ability to flirt with skill as the two most important attributes to ensnare a husband. Many fathers do as well, I suppose, so if one of those abilities fail it is a devastating blow!”

Darcy remained standing with Parzival and the glass of brandy clutched forgotten in his hands. Unsure whether he had salvaged matters or muddled them worse, he kept silent.

“In the case of Jane,” Mr. Bennet resumed with a smile toward Bingley, “she was blessed with beauty outwardly and of the soul. Her fault, as seen from the standpoint of attracting a suitor easily, is her reserve.”

Bingley diverted his eyes from Mr. Bennet. How true those words were! As admirable as Bingley considered Jane’s modesty and gentleness, and as fully as he blamed himself for allowing others to persuade him rather than following his heart, if Jane had shown her favor toward him from the beginning, they might well be married long since.

“Lizzy is quite another matter.” Mr. Bennet went on, studying Darcy’s face as he talked, “She is clever, witty, and intelligent. She is also well aware of this. Some would and have argued that she is too aware and prideful of her cleverness.” He shrugged, the gesture apparent to Darcy as a disagreement with this assessment of his favored daughter. “Her gaiety, humor, and frequent laughter is genuine, yet not as a means to entice or mask a dull mind.” He chuckled. “You are not the first man, Mr. Darcy, to be mistaken about and surprised by Lizzy.”

Abrupt, blinding jealousy surged through Darcy’s body. Not the first man? What in blazes did that mean? Luckily, Mr. Bennet answered the questions Darcy was in no condition to voice without growling.

“Lizzy’s handsomeness is often overlooked when compared to Jane, and because she rarely primps to feed her vanity, as most girls do. I have no problem with this, so long as my daughter’s numerous internal attributes are recognized and appreciated. This appears to be the case with you, Mr. Darcy, as it certainly was not with Collins, thus I am pleased—”

“Collins?” Darcy blurted. “My aunt’s rector, Mr. Collins?”

Mr. Bennet’s brows lifted as he nodded. “The same, yes.” Then he laughed. “I see Lizzy has not shared that information with you. Interesting. I suspect you may discover that rejected proposal rivals yours.”

A multitude of emotions swirled through Darcy’s head. Collins? Elizabeth married to that imbecile was a vision he could not begin to fathom. Of course, a woman as confident and wise as Elizabeth Bennet would never agree to marry a man like that! Still, the fact was Collins had asked, and she could have said yes.

Darcy shuddered. How many other proposals has she received? What a fool to presume I am the first to be bewitched by her myriad charms!
Random Excerpt #4
Huffing loudly, Caroline flipped her arms in the air and flounced away from the table. “I have never hated Jane Bennet, Charles. She is…pretty and sweet, if not too bright, and her manners are…acceptable. I suppose you do love her, as you assert, and with time and proper guidance, she may improve in her elegance and—”

“Is this supposed to be an endorsement? Do compliments choke your throat, Caroline? Never mind,” he bellowed when she sputtered an interjection. “All I want are your congratulations, even if false, and then your silence on the subject forever. I am under no illusions that Louisa’s pompousness is less than yours, but at least she possessed enough civility, respect, and affection to write with her congratulations. Do you think you can manage that much?”

Hands balled on his hips, Bingley fought the urge to berate further. Willing his vexation to abate, he waited for her to reply, and as the time ticked by, curiosity dampened his frustration. Caroline stood near the dartboard some six feet away, staring vaguely toward one of the far windows. As typical, her chin was lifted haughtily and lips puckered as if a sour taste lay on her tongue. Unusual were the rapidly blinking eyes, the twitching leg fluttering her skirt, and the nervous twisting of the ring on her left hand. Bingley was frequently flummoxed by his younger sister’s attitude and opinions, but he was eminently familiar with her mannerisms and expressions. Everything Caroline did was practiced, controlled, and purposeful. A restless, distressed Caroline was an anomaly.

“Congratulations!” Her shrill exclamation; abrupt, jerky pivot; and scowl were wholly at odds with the sentiment. Strangely, rather than Bingley’s irritation increasing, ridiculousness struck him.

Snickering, he patted his chest. “Ah, Caroline! How you warm my heart with your well wishes. I pray the effort has not caused you harm?”

After a collected pause and cleansing breath, she repeated, “Congratulations,” in a honeyed, sincere tone. “I wish you and Miss Bennet a lifetime of happiness. I mean it,” she insisted when Bingley’s brows arched, “truly. Jane is…” She sighed and brushed at something on her cheek. “…a lovely woman. Provincial and not what I wished for you, Charles, but…I cannot argue that you two are suited. She makes you happy,” she concluded with a shrug.

“Indeed she does. Immensely so. Thank you.”

Nodding once, Caroline turned away and resumed her dreamlike stare out the window. Bingley frowned, more confused than relieved. She spoke sincerely—he felt certain of that—and it was nice to hear the admission. Suddenly parched, Bingley walked to the sidebar and poured a glass of water and then another, drinking each in one long gulp. Caroline remained slump shouldered and immobile other than intermittent swipes at her face and a quivering tic along her jaw.

Bingley’s eyes flew wide. Good God! Is she crying? The idea was preposterous! He searched his memories and honestly could not remember his sister ever crying—not even when lashed by their nanny while in the nursery. If he had ever given the topic any thought, he might have speculated her tear glands were dysfunctional. It was so inconceivable he experienced none of the standard male guilt or discomfiture at a woman crying. Rather, his inclination was to exploit her rare emotional state.

“Accepting my future with Jane is an important step, Caroline, and I sincerely appreciate your congratulations. Now you must accept Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth.”

“That I cannot do.”

Leaving the glass on the sidebar, Bingley circled the billiard table at a moderate pace and stopped in front of the window she dazedly faced. Indeed, her eyes were red rimmed and moist, and an unattractive blotchiness covered her cheeks.

Damn it all! Now I feel sorry for her.

“I did not realize your feelings for Mr. Darcy were this strong. Having lost Jane for a time, I can empathize with your heartache over losing the man you love, and I am sorry—”

“Love? What are you driveling now? Really, Charles! Just because you are ruled by maudlin emotions does not mean I am.”

“Then…what?” Truly baffled, a coherent sentence would not form. Gesturing at his eyes and then toward her face worked to get his message across.

“You become lachrymose at romantic poetry, tragic opera, and fluffy kittens frolicking. I weep when a drab inferior with an impertinent tongue destroys my future. I cry at injustice, Charles.”

During her rant, the pooling tears disappeared and she wiped the residual wetness off her cheeks. Her motley complexion and reddened eyes tipped the scale toward anger rather then sadness. Bingley believed her claims were how she honestly felt. That did not make it sensible or right, however.

“I shan’t belittle the intensity of your emotions, Sister. I disagree with your perceptions of Miss Elizabeth but doubt my ability to convince you otherwise. Where you are seriously wrong is blaming her for destroying your future because you never had a future with Darcy.”

Unfazed, she smiled coolly and shook her head. “You are the one who is wrong. Mr. Darcy and I are alike. I am his equal, not Eliza Bennet. They are a drastic mistake.”

“This line of thinking is dangerous. You must see reason!” Bingley rapidly strode until directly in front of her. “Darcy and Miss Elizabeth are perfectly suited, and their love is real. Surely you can see that!”

Staring straight into his eyes, face emotionless, she countered, “I see a man who has been enchanted. Mr. Darcy is not the same, and I would think, as his friend, you would fear for him.”

A shiver raced up his spine. “I fear for you, Caroline. Give up these delusions of Mr. Darcy before you cause irreparable damage. Fighting the inevitable serves no one, least of all you.”

“I refuse to see that union as inevitable. Until the vows are recited before God, they are not married.”

“Listen to yourself!” Cinching her wrist penetrated her maddeningly aloof demeanor and placid tone—not much though. Caroline merely turned her head to peer at him through hard-set eyes. Fighting against the panic choking his airway, Bingley chastened, “Stubborn you are but not stupid. A betrothal is as binding as marriage, or near to. Honor is everything to a man like Darcy. If you know him an iota, then you know that. A gentleman never disgraces a lady or compromises her reputation.” Gripping her chin hard between thumb and fingers, he glared sternly into her eyes, his words clipped and hard. “Breaking his vow to Elizabeth is never going to happen, Caroline. Accept that and accept it now, or God help me, there will be consequences.”

Bingley ripped the leather straps off his knuckles, spun on his heels, and stormed out of the room. He burned to pound the sand bag, but Caroline was too close for him to trust his resistance—especially with her frighteningly calculating, smug expression.
READER REVIEWS

Sharing here a sampling of positive feedback received for Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship over the years since it was published in 2014. These words of praise are from a variety of sources, including but not limited to: 4 & 5 Star reviews posted to online marketplaces (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Powells, BAM, etc.), letters and emails sent directly to me, and comments left on my blog or other blogs where I was a guest.

On my Guestbook are eight pages with approximately 300 entries of positive praise for The Darcy Saga dating back to 2007 when I was still posting my story online.

Much more about this couple's period of engagement. 5-Stars!  This story deals only with the courtship... it does not even get to the marriage ceremony. Although that rite is only a few weeks away when the book ends at 98%.
We begin with a scene unwritten in canon when Lady Catherine comes to London after confronting Elizabeth in the small wilderness to one side at Longbourn. So we know how this is going to play out. After they finally become engaged we have many scenes of encounter. Many also tell of how Darcy struggles to control the passions he feels physically (and emotionally) for Elizabeth while Elizabeth is experiencing feelings and sensations new to her, as a woman, also passionately in love.
Is the courtship smooth? No. There are times when others (You can guess who.) attempt to place barriers to this relationship in the way. Although this book draws out the courtship phase over many days and weeks it is not a dull and repetitive telling. I found myself drawn in even though there was less angst than I enjoy reading about in most books. There is even an almost amusing scene of jealousy on Darcy's part and when Elizabeth becomes angry at his reaction (because she knows the innocence of the "other man") it is a time when she has to put herself in his place. What if she witnessed William allowing Caroline to put her hands on his leg or teasing banter between the two? Would she react calmly or with affront?
Although a long tale this story never bored me nor was the telling such that I felt I could just skip to the end as we all know what the future holds for this favorite couple. This book is part of a series. I have 6 other stories by Ms. Lathan in paperback, read before I began posting reviews. I do intend to some day reread those in order to post reviews. Obviously I enjoy this author's storytelling. (S. L. Majczan)

Courtship, love and passion… a wonderful season it is! 5-Stars!   This is definitely a five star read!!! This Darcy and Elizabeth are intelligent, articulate, teasing, loving, humorous, kind and very, very passionate!!!!! I have read this book several times… once I start reading it, I couldn’t put it down!!!! Darcy and Lizzy become engaged at the beginning of the book… and we are given a peek into their hearts, minds and love for each other during their early engagement period. The author’s words brings the characters to life with vivid clarity… I can picture them in my mind and feel their lively dialogue. I can’t wait for the sequel… to see how Lizzy celebrates Darcy’s birthday, and the experience their happiness and joy on their wedding day! GREAT book… EXTREMELY well written!!! I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book!!!! (Lisa Hatfield)

Welcome back Love, Courtship and Manners. 5-Stars!   I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is very well written. There are some who may think it was a bit too descriptive. They may be what they feel are purists or true Janeites. I am a Jane fan for over 60 years now. I have a 25 year old granddaughter that has just become a fan. She runs into a room and says G what do they mean by many times while reading a book. She has found that romance and courtship is not what it used to be. It is creating a desire in her for more than what the average male in our lives today offer. She wants that sense of courtship and love that most 20+ year old males do not offer today, It is creating a craving for a world in which women are to be respected and manners placed upon a higher plane. So I say WELL DONE Sharon. Give us more. (LouAnn LaJeunesse)

Pride & Prejudice, a Grand Romantic Tour in London. 5-Stars!  Love the courtship saga of this story. It is unraveling beautifully and keeps me turning pages with anticipation. And I love that there aren't too many traps but just enough to keep you guessing how Lizzie and Darcy will react and overcome these speed bumps. The sensuality between Darcy & Elizabeth is done in taste and certainly leaves you hungering for the marital union finale. I don't know if this kind of love exists but if it does, and I rather hope it does, then maybe my next life will have unexpected benefits. In the interim, I read to my heart's content, sometimes personifying Lizzie. Oh my...

Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet’s Relationship to a “T!” 5-Stars!   Sharon Lathan is by-far my most favorite author in all things Pride & Prejudice! Her take on the relationship between Lizzy and Darcy are exactly as I’d imagine it would be and with every book she writes, she nails it! (Shannonrose)

Very Good. 5-Stars!   I have been a fan of Sharon Lathan's books, and having read her other books I found myself as frustrated as our couple as their intimacy grew. Fleshing out the morning walk in the midst was quite nicely written. (Lee)

You will want to read it again and again. 5-Stars!   I have read this series through so many times I know most of it by heart. Its my go-to when sad, stuck in house, feeling bored and many other times, these books draw you into their world as if you are a dear friend experiencing everything as Darcy and Elizabeth do. (Wendy)

My heart is complete! 5-Stars!   I love this series and the author. It fills every painful hole left by the end of Pride and Prejudice with the story we all dreamed of. Every page brings joy. Thank you Sharon! (Erin Mohr)

If you enjoy Sharon Lathan’s saga on the continuance of Pride and Prejudice then you will want to read this. 5-Stars!   Lathan does a wonderful job of letting us know what happened right after Lady Catherine leaves from her rapturous, contentious, twisted promise me you won’t consent to an engagement tyrannical spill with my nephew. You get more insight into what the characters are thinking prior to their engagements and leading up to their wedding. It just does a great job of answering any what if questions one might have to the story.

I love this series and this book is just the start. 5-Stars!  I love this series and have just read it again. Sharon Lathan takes the time to develop our characters and not rush the story. It will take all five books to go through Elizabeth and Darcy’s first 10 years of marriage. This is not a quick novel that covers all things in one book. I admire the fact that Sharon takes the time to walk through the life of this lively, loving couple at a pace that doesn’t feel rushed. This series really takes the reader into the personal lives of Elizabeth, Darcy and their extended family. I enjoyed them very much. (ArkansasAustenFan)

Sharon Lathan’s done it again!!! THANK YOU SHARON!!! 5-Stars!   Mrs. Lathan has the ‘market’ cornered with her sequels of Pride and Prejudice! Book 1 of this 2 book prequel lets the fans know what Darcy and Elizabeth endured between “Will you…” and “I do!” I will never tire of reading Sharon’s stories; she has made this story a real story to me. I encourage anyone who loves Pride and Prejudice to read these books! (Cyn Hatmaker)

Incredible Series! 5-Stars!   I own every one of Sharon Lathan’s Novels and I am in love with the series! I read the book in 2 days and was captured by every word. I love love love The Darcys as Sharon has portrayed them, and I reread the books incredibly often! The passion, love and detailed anecdotes told by the characters give you a sense of characters beyond what was given to you in the original Jane Austen book. She has taken these characters and given them a breath of fresh air! I can’t wait for her next venture. Way to go Sharon!!! (Lizette Solomon)

Loved every minute of this. 5-Stars!   I loved this book, the style in which it was written, the portrayal of the characters, the believability and likability of the characters and their feelings and the way they expressed them. I so enjoyed feeling like I was right there and although there was day by day detail, it never felt like it was dragging on, just wanted more and more. I understand why it seemed to end abruptly, largely because the second part was coming – Hope of the Future. (Alana Mercedes)

I devoured this book in two days. 5-Stars!  It is a wonderful addition to her sequels. I absolutely adore these books… both prequel and sequel. It is wonderful to read about their courtship and get a glimpse into that time period and all the things that were not appropriate in public that we take for granted now. Such a romantic love story. Every woman needs a Mr. Darcy…. her own William.

Sweet, sensual, can’t wait for the follow-up. 5-Stars!   Ms. Lathan is the master of Darcy everyday life as drama. In this shorter part 1 prequel to her lengthy novels about the Darcys after they are married, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam become engaged and she begins to realize the strong passion that she feels for him. It’s a wonderful read to see how they grow and bond as a couple.

Marvelous Novel. 5-Stars!   What a great little novel this is. Darcy and Elizabeth are very true to Pride and Prejudice. The book is well written as are all books in the Darcy Saga. This is a quality publication not one of those sloppy self-published books so common among Pride and Prejudice variations. A quality publication all the way through. (Jerry T)

Must Read. Fills in the gaps. 5-Stars!  I have read most of this author's Darcy novels. I must state that I thoroughly enjoy the time that this author takes to develop the characters and their very intricately detailed dialogue. This book, like the others, takes time to make the reader almost believe that s/he is right there in the room.... quietly observing and missing nothing. This novel fills in the gap in time in the original Pride and Prejudice between Mr. Darcy's second proposal and the wedding. Did Darcy and Elizabeth argue? Where they passionate? And if so, was it quelled or did they act upon their desires? This novel develops the sequence of event of the first 3- 4 weeks after the accepted proposal that ultimately lead to the alter. I'm looking forward to reading the next prequel that covers the remaining weeks leading up to the wedding. (Vercha3)

Magnetic connection seals my draw to these books. I love the romantic nature of Sharon’s books. The magnetic connection is what I connect with. I have had that type of love and miss it so reading these books brings me back to that time in my life. (April Pellicer)

Love Sharon’s books! 5-Stars!   For someone who discovered Pride and Prejudice later in life (Sharon), fell in love with it and then embarked on this wonderful journey to bring more to it, I want to say that Sharon is doing an outstanding job. I’m an old Pride and Prejudice fan and I would always end the book and wish there were more. “How did the wedding go?” “What would it be like to become Mrs Darcy?” I must say that Sharon’s book surprised me on the shelf of Target one day. I didn’t know anyone had ever done this, so I hadn’t even thought of checking the idea out. After buying and reading her first book, then seeing she was on Facebook, where I got to “meet” her, I was sold. Since this time I have met Sharon in person and can say she truly loves her characters. This new one “A Season of Courtship” goes back and answers some of the questions I always had as well as bringing all the emotions of these classic characters to life. Take a walk back in time, become Lizzy Bennet, fall in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy… I dare you! (Cindy b)

If you love Pride & Prejudice, you'll love this book! 4-Stars!  Very true to the style of Pride & Prejudice. It was gratifying to get a glimpse into what transpired between Darcy and Elizabeth in those moments that weren’t previously shared. We saw the public and proper interactions between them, but I did often wonder “How would they have talked to each other once they were engaged? Surely not so formally” But Darcy is so proper, it was hard to imagine how he would have addressed his bride-to-be once their love for each other was out in the open. Which is why I enjoyed this book so much. Lathan does a wonderful job of painting in the missing scenes with unhurried, descriptive narrative and dialogue. If you love Pride & Prejudice, you’ll love this book! (psp636)

So well written. 5-Stars!  Love Sharon Lathan’s work, she can tell a beautiful story, I wish this story had been released first, but as I have all her other books I am just going to continue to read them all over again. Ms Lathan is such a talented writer and this story sets the tone for the engagement between Darcy and Elizabeth, with some sizzle and true romantic love thrown in for good measure, love the book, and love Sharon Lathan’s writing we should tie her to the computer and force her to write faster. (Jules)

Beautifully Romantic. 5-Stars!  I am a huge and long time fan of Sharon’s novels. I always get excited when Sharon releases a new book because I know that it will be delightful and this one is no exception. Sharon breathes life into my favourite characters of all time Darcy and Elizabeth. From the moment the book starts I am transported into their world. There are so many stand out moments throughout. Just a few examples of my favourite parts are: the absolute mayhem Lady Catherine causes when she arrives to accost Darcy; ‘Elizabeth Bennet loves me‘ such a simple statement but so wonderfully effective in its use! It is sweet humbling heartwarming and utterly romantic. Sharon’s placement of this line is perfection. Feeling the giddiness along with Darcy, makes me smile every time I read it. Reading through Darcy’s thoughts brings on a feeling of apprehension as though I don’t know the outcome and feeling all of his anxiety even though I have known the outcome of their relationship for a very long time. A brilliant play on emotions and Sharon’s delivery is pure brilliance. That’s why I am so attached to her characters, Sharon gives them heart and soul. Caroline is pitiable but hilarious all at the same time! Thank goodness she will never get her claws into Darcy! I love the revelation of Darcy’s passionate nature. He oozes masculinity, riding Parsifal is just one example. But there are so many to look forward too! Anne’s letter of congratulations was very emotional and had me teary. The passion, the joy, the anxiety and the humour are combined to make a very entertaining read. I highly recommend this wonderful first part of Darcy and Elizabeth’s courtship. If you love Sharon’s books, Pride & Prejudice, Darcy and Elizabeth, or beautiful romance, you will love his book! (Vee)

Another winner by Sharon Lathan! 5-Stars!   I came to Pride & Prejudice late in life… I caught the terrific 2005 movie and have never looked back… consequently, I was given the first of Ms. Lathan’s books as a gift, and loved it so much! I had no idea that a cottage industry of endless sequels and variations existed, so I have been playing catch up the last couple of years… and I mean, I’ve read them all… good, bad, and just plain strange, but my first set of sequels has always been my favorite! All of Sharon Lathan’s books are just beautifully written… her stories of the newlywed Darcys and subsequent years in their marriage are fun, exciting, romantic and to me ring true… her Darcy is the one I want and her Lizzy is the one I want to be! This new prequel is a wonderful edition… there is some rehashing from her earlier books, because she often had flash-backed to their courtship in her sequels, but I didn’t mind… this book is just as fun and romantic… Ms Lathan is a beautiful writer, and I will always treasure her books and what they give to me… a wonderful love story! Thanks! I eagerly await the next one! (CMB)

I love the romantic nature of Sharon’s books. The magnetic connection is what I connect with. I have had that type of love and miss it so reading these books brings me back to that time in my life.

Doesn’t disappoint. 5-Stars!   I have all the Lathan Darcy and Elizabeth books. This edition of her first book on Kindle was an interesting handle on her series. She writes clearly, concisely, and certainly has the ability to bring forth the passion that Darcy has beneath is cool exterior. Lathan did a good job in describing the surprising sexual response that a usually composed Elizabeth exhibited through her entire life. In my opinion, Lathan produces a superior brand of humor and great story line, so anyone who has never read her before, should start now. (Arlene McKeon)

A great bathtub/beach read! I have loved all of Sharon Lathan’s books that take are set after the marriage of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth occurs. This is the first one she has done that comes before the marriage… and there are some lovely twists and turns in the story. The passion that dwells beneath the surface bubbles forth as they learn who they are about to marry. Enjoy!

The writing was excellent and to the point. It shows how Darcy and Lizzy’s courtship progresses and their separations cause their love to blossom. Naturally Jane and Charles are on the same path to romance. As usual Aunt Catherine and Caroline Bingley are there to cause a few bumps in the road. It is all written with class and excellent choice of words. I was glad to read the book and not have to hear about Wickham causing havoc. Also very little mention of Lydia. I liked reading the part where Mary and Kitty were sensible and also Mrs. Bennet. Mr. Bennet was quite himself and I am growing quite fond of this gentleman the more I read about his sense of humor and playfulness. Looking forward to Volume 2 with the marriages of these two young couples and the start of married life for them. Thank you Sharon for another great novel!

Delightful. 5-Stars!   This is another wonderful story from Mrs. Lathan. I’ve enjoyed her sequel immensely and this prequel lives up to my expectations. A great, entertaining read!

Love!  Once again Sharon Lathan has written for her Mr. Darcy story line; which in turn made me want to read the books again. If you are a lover of Darcy and Elizabeth you will enjoy all her books.

Love Pride and Prejudice. 5-Stars!    Sharon Lathan is one of the best writers of Jane Austen prequels, sequels, or vagaries. She has the same love and enjoyment of the Austen characters that her readers have and draws us into the stories with the understanding that the modern reader needs more than the readers of Austen's time. I look forward to her next book in this series. (Heather McLeod)

Recommend! I thoroughly enjoyed Sharon Lathan’s Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Ms Lathan takes her time letting the reader savor the little nuances of their relationship. Well thought out character development.

A CHARMING COURTSHIP I love the Darcy Saga! This delightful look into the time between the “Yes” and “I Do” is fun and romantic.

Lizzy To Perfection. 5-Stars!   Absolutely loved this book. Authentically true to the characters! One of my favorite authors! (Darcy M)

Great book! I have read all of the other books and this one ties them all together. Ever since I saw the movie I have loved reading Sharon’s version.

One of the better Pride & Prejudice sequels/prequels out there. The writing was good and the story very engrossing. It revealed the passionate natures of both parties without getting vulgar or nasty. I had been reading several very good books at once but had to drop the others to concentrate on A Season Of Courtship until I had finished. Very much looking forward to part two of the saga, then I will move on to some of Ms. Lathan’s other books. This one was a very enjoyable read.

Love, when true, is deeper than we can imagine. 5-Stars!  This novel pulls out the depth and breadth of all the emotions, thoughts, and physical feelings that couples faced during their courtship back then. It keeps you in the same turmoil because you start to feel and relate to the struggles and temptations Darcy and Elizabeth face. (Lilsmile)

Great Read. 5-Stars!  This book is a continuation of Pride & Prejudice, and follows canon for the most part. Caroline is more desperate and E/D are more passionate. Lovely book, the conversations are really well done. (RegFF)

Awesome. 5-Stars!   If you love Pride & Prejudice you will love this book. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in two days. (Cammie M. Royce)

The Voice of Austen Comes Through. 5-Stars!   I have read a number of books by a variety of authors about the continued story of Elizabeth and Darcy. Lathan’s prequel is excellent! Yes, the episodes of the escalating physical side of Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s relationship as their engagement days pass were certainly not Austen-like. But, there were times I truly felt Austen’s turns of phrase or expressions jump right off the page. I laughed out loud, wanted to strangle the ever-annoying Caroline Bingley (spoiler alert: Bingley’s spine continues to develop!), and loved the development of Darcy’s personality. I would highly recommend reading this book if you want to go beyond knowing Darcy and Elizabeth are to marry. Its well written, stays quite true to the Austen characterizations, and is just a plain good read! (Janet)

Delightful, 5-Stars!   This is a lighthearted and delightful interpretation of what might have happened in the lives of Elizabeth and Darcy. An easy read that ended too quickly and left me wanting to read more. I will try to be patient about waiting for the next part to become available. (Dona Johnson)

WONDERFUL!!!! 5-Stars!   First, I have to say that I love Sharon Lathan’s Pride & Prejudice sequels. I was excited to see the Pride & Prejudice prequel Darcy & Elizabeth: Season of Courtship. Finally, a story to fill the gap Jane Austen left – the betrothal period – describing the timeframe commencing with Darcy’s successful proposal and concluding with the Bennet/Bingley/Bennet/Darcy double wedding. Ms. Lathan discloses some of the events that occurred during this timeframe as flashback sequences in Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. However, the delightful details are revealed in this novel. (Deb)

Wonderful Again. 5-Stars!  Sharon Lathan has conquered my heart again with her new novel. It’s full of love, fun, tenderness. For those who have already known Sharon’s book, this cannot come as a surprised, it’s as always exciting and “addictive”. Once you begin reading it you must go on until the end almost breathless. Thanks Sharon for a really well done job!!

A Great Read! 5-Stars!   I loved Ms. Lathan’s Darcy and Elizabeth from her Darcy saga series. She picks up the story essentially on what happens after the engagement and how they build a relationship before marriage. If you aren’t familiar she has five books of their first years of marriage: definitely worth the buy. The only negative is now I have to wait for part two but it does end not making you feel like you are left hanging. Looking forward to reading more of her work!

It’s a must read! This was a wonderful complement to Darcy Saga. I’m impressed with the thought and care that Sharon Lathan adds to all her books.

I love Sharon Lathan books. 5-Stars!   I have every book she has written and this book has never disappointed me. It is a must read in the Darcy and Elizabeth stories. (Debra Anthony)

If you love Pride & Prejudice, you’ll love this book! Very true to the style of Pride & Prejudice. It was gratifying to get a glimpse into what transpired between Darcy and Elizabeth in those moments that weren’t previously shared. We saw the public and proper interactions between them, but I did often wonder “How would they have talked to each other once they were engaged? Surely not so formally” But Darcy is so proper, it was hard to imagine how he would have addressed his bride-to-be once their love for each other was out in the open. Which is why I enjoyed this book so much. Lathan does a wonderful job of painting in the missing scenes with unhurried, descriptive narrative and dialogue. If you love Pride & Prejudice, you’ll love this book!

This is a great imagining of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s first moments of their engagement! I have loved all of Sharon Lathan’s books that take are set after the marriage of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth occurs. This is the first one she has done that comes before the marriage… and there are some lovely twists and turns in the story. The passion that dwells beneath the surface bubbles forth as they learn who they are about to marry. It’s really a great bathtub/beach read! Enjoy!

Jane Austen Fan. 5-Stars!   This is the perfect book for those of you who loved the movie! It is written in the same style and characters as Keira and Matthew portrayed as Elizabeth and Darcy. It has been my favorite of all the other stories that have been written off the book. Can't wait for the next one! (Janet M)

Didn't disappoint... 5-Stars!  I have read all of the books written by Sharon Lathan and this book is definitely worth the read. I have enjoyed every word of every book in the Darcy Saga and this book is definitely of the same caliper. She has a style of writhing that draws you in and never disappoints. So looking forward to the next book.

Good reading. 5-Stars!   There are so many books on the Darcy & Elizabeth romance. Sometimes one wonders what Jane Austen would have thought about this. This particular one is very enjoyable and picks up many themes from her book and carries them on. (E. Moody)

Sharon Lathan does it again! 5-Stars!  A great prelude to the five book series which begins with Two Shall Become One. (Shirley Gardner)

Pride and Prejudice never quits. 5-Stars!  This Pride & Prejudice "sequel" is a very enjoyable read, a little sexier than Jane would have written, but not bothersome. The language is very Austen, the characters likable, and it gets you ready for book two which will take you to the wedding day. I'm glad I bought this one and will buy number two when it's out. (Scotty)

I love Pride and Prejudice and the many different continuations and variations of ... 5-Stars!   All I can say is that I cannot wait for the second part of this duo prequel series. I love Pride & Prejudice and the many different continuations and variations of it, including Sharon Lathan's books. (MoniLuv)

5-Stars!  5-Stars!  5-Stars! 

A period not covered in the original novel. Blends in nicely to original story. (Robert House)
My wife loves this author! (Rich Carson)
Gave some imagined insight to what happened after Darcy and Elizabeth get engaged. Waiting for the next installment!! (Cubbie's Mom)
The book is a great read from cover to cover. I would highly recommend it for Jane Austen fans. I can hardly will for the sequel. (Dolores Mauch)
All of Lathan's books are enjoyable! (Arland)
What an enjoyable read and well written. It took me back in that time. Can't wait to have more Darcy and Elizabeth. (Lizzie Richards)
  Great book! I have read all of the other books and this one ties them all together. Ever since I saw the movie I have loved reading Sharon's version. (Chavez)
Looking forward to your next book of Elizabeth & Darcy!! Thank you Sharon for sharing yourself with us, you are so talented! (Ruby Jewells)
I have read all the other books by Sharon Lathan and loved them all, and this one did not disappoint. It was wonderful and I am looking forward to the next one. (Carol Crary)
LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS SERIES! (Missouri)
Love this Saga! (Kristen Flowers)
Being a Pride & Prejudice junkie, I always wanted to know what happened between the proposal, the wedding and Elizabeth arriving at Pemberley. (Karen Martini)
Love it! I continue to be a huge fan of Sharon Lathan. Thank you for bringing one of my favorite classics to life again! (Keanna Paquian)
Having written lush continuations to Pride and Prejudice, Lathan now goes back and in the first of two prequels relates the thoughts and feelings behind Darcy and Elizabeth's courtship. (Maine Marmee)
Cannot wait for the second book to come out..........Loved it! (Margaret Talany)
Great prequel, can't wait for the next one. Well written, sensual and it is like a behind seeks look at what the life was like. (LilBud13)
LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!! (Jewelannie)
Can't wait for part two! Filled in some gaps and expanded on a well-loved story. The story made the period come alive. (Anna Bartels)
Sharon Lathan is wonderful. It was very very good. Can't wait for her new book. She makes it so real. Do get this book! (Eileen Garguilo)
I really enjoyed this variation of Pride & Prejudice a lot and cant wait for the second part to come out. The book is a little racier with Caroline's scheming to come between Darcy and Lizzy, and the couple's attraction and stolen kisses when they're relatively alone. Its well written and hard to put down. (Nicole)
Sharon Lathan writes very well. It is an interesting introspection into these two character's courtship. (LK Wuellner)
A very enjoyable read! I love this book! Well written and kept to my impression of Elisabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy personalities. I am looking forward to the next book. (Samantha) 
Couldn't put it down and can't wait for the second one! (Ashley Jones)
Lovely! I enjoyed learning how their courtship went... and how in love Mr. Darcy and Lizzy are with each other! (Holly)
Loved it , couldn't put my iPad down. I'm now going to have sleepless nights until the next book comes out. (Mel)
Loved it and will be continuing to the next book. Couldn't put it down! (Debbie Fisher)
EDITORIAL REVIEW ~ Kelli Crowe Reviews
On a particularly melancholy afternoon, I picked up Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. I drew myself a warm bath and poured a glass of campaign. It was 2 in the afternoon... While imbibing at that hour is hard to promote, it turned out there is "no enjoyment like reading" a Sharon Lathan novel and drinking champagne to turn the day right.

Language: B+
Without too many words of description, I always feel as if I can picture Sharon Lathan's chapters as if they were scenes from a movie. I am far too lazy to do all the figuring it out myself and far to easily bored to have every nuance of a room explained to me. I used to judge the language of books by the Austen like vocabulary. I have since learned to have an even greater appreciation for the Austen like scenes in this series.

Characterization: A
While I generally feel like I know how Darcy and Elizabeth should act, Jane Austen leaves a lot of room for development of most of the supporting characters. I really enjoyed the relationships explored between Lizzy and Jane, Bingley and Darcy, Mr. Bennet and Darcy, and Caroline and everyone else.

I greatly appreciate that shyness does not mean a lack of personality in the quieter characters such as Jane or Georgianna. And congeniality does not mean less intelligent with respect to Bingley.

Also, Lathan alludes to several new characters who are featured later in the series, like Dr. Darcy. They are so well crafted and woven into the story that you will find yourself positive that Jane Austen herself included them in her original work. (Much like the famous Darcy in the pond scene at Pemberley is now inseparable from Pride and Prejudice text in my mind.)

Plot: A
For a plot where only so many things can happen based on Austen and Lathan's own Darcy and Elizabeth storyline, it is quite satisfying. I have read other accounts of their betrothal that swung wildly about in dramatic fashion. (Think "I love John! I hate John" which works for Emma adaptations but not quite for our Lizzy). In a much more believable way, there are little moments, misunderstandings and great conversations where they learn more about the person they are going to marry.

It is hard to talk about any of the books in the series independently. So I will say, I love a well told saga: Star Wars, Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who, The Darcy Saga. This is definitely my favorite series because it is as if this is the way it really happened and Sharon Lathan is telling us interesting bits over coffee. Or campaign.

Rehash vs. Revisit: A+
A brief revisit of the proposal moment. Everything else felt new and not at all a rehashing of things we already knew.

Wonderful Little Moments: A
Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bennet's conversations, "If he had given it any thought, he might have suspected her tear ducts were dysfunctional," Georgianna and Darcy awaiting their guests in the dinning room, "Maybe there is a merchant selling character and decency."

Originality: A
I am sure there are many books that cover the betrothal days of Darcy and Elizabeth. This story with all the boxes it had to check to comply with what we know will happen still felt new and fresh.

The Moment I was Hooked: A
I became hooked on the series long ago. However, the moment my brow raised and my reading picked up pace was on page 3 when Lady Catherine de Bourgh came bustling into Darcy House upon leaving Elizabeth in Hertfordshire.

I went to put this book on the shelf and then pulled it back down and thought, "Well, just one more read through...."