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Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Rose Fairbanks back to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife.

I’ve enjoyed reading and editing Rose’s books for the last several years, and Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife really touched me. Having lost my own father when I was around Elizabeth’s age, and just as suddenly as Elizabeth lost Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth’s grief felt real to me. And my husband was my rock during that time, just like Darcy was for Elizabeth. That being said, Rose does a great job keeping that grief from overwhelming readers, balancing it out with plenty of romance.

Rose is here to share two excerpts from Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife, and I do hope you enjoy them (and the entire book) as much as I did. Please give her a warm welcome!

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First, thanks so much for having me back, Anna! I appreciate all the hard work you did on editing this book and the chance to share two excerpts with your readers today.

Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife is a marriage of convenience story. As with many of them, Mr. Bennet dies, placing Elizabeth in a position of choosing marriage to save her family. However, I try to put my twist on it, too. Darcy’s proposal is just after Elizabeth and Jane’s stay at Netherfield and before Elizabeth has met Mr. Wickham. As such, Elizabeth hasn’t totally hardened herself against Darcy. It’s also a marriage of convenience for Darcy. I thought it would be most interesting to share excerpts from both points of view.

Excerpt #1 (Elizabeth) The day after Mr. Collins arrives at Longbourn.

Just as Elizabeth and the others reached the edge of Meryton, a servant from Longbourn came running after them.

“Oh, misses! Come quick! The master has fallen ill, and my mistress is sick with worry.”

Elizabeth felt her knees grow weak. It was unlike Sally to exaggerate, and she was not new to Mrs. Bennet’s antics. This must be serious indeed.

“Do not worry, my dear cousins,” Mr. Collins rushed to say before anyone else could speak. “I shall escort you home, and I will pray for your father’s recovery. If, however, the Lord sees fit not to answer that prayer, you will find I will not be an unkind master.”

He bowed to Elizabeth, and a terrible suspicion filled her. Had Mr. Collins meant for her to be the olive branch between the families? How dare he suggest it so callously! Paying him no heed, she turned to her sisters. Jane’s lip trembled while Kitty and Lydia clutched their eldest sister’s arms.

“Come, let us hurry.” Elizabeth put her arm around one sister, hoping the rest would follow.

“Has the surgeon been sent for?” she asked the maid.

“Aye, Miss Lizzy.”

Once home, Elizabeth spoke with Jane on how to direct the members of the family. Jane and Mary would sit with Mrs. Bennet while Kitty and Lydia were told to keep quiet. Elizabeth waited with her father, who was reclining in his library. Unfortunately, Mr. Collins chose to do so as well.

Elizabeth trembled as she saw how pale her father was. He could not walk or see very well. He could not raise his left hand and complained of a terrible headache.

The surgeon came and examined Mr. Bennet while Elizabeth waited outside the door. She questioned the man as soon as he exited, Mr. Collins hovering just over her shoulder.

“I fear it is the very worst, Miss Bennet. He has had an apoplexy and shall not recover. You must prepare yourselves.”

Elizabeth’s knees buckled, and she clutched the wall for support. “Wh-when?”

“It may be days, certainly not weeks.”

“Is there nothing you can do for him?”

“It is beyond my assistance now. I have left laudanum for the pain, and if you need more, Mr. Jones has a healthy supply. There is no need to measure the dose. He will not live long enough to become addicted.”

With a trembling lip, Elizabeth nodded at the surgeon, who chose to see himself out. Someone would have to tell her mother. Calling for a servant, she had Jane brought down. Elizabeth delivered the news to her eldest sister and asked if she would inform Mrs. Bennet.

“I shall have Hill draw up her salts and all the other things that soothe her. We ought to write to my uncle Gardiner and tell my aunt Phillips.”

Elizabeth agreed. “Send Kitty and Lydia to Aunt Phillips. Mary may write the Gardiners. That leaves you to sit with Mama, and I shall watch over Papa.”

Once Jane had left to see to her duties, Elizabeth turned to Mr. Collins, who had attached himself to her side like a leech. “Perhaps you can walk to Meryton with my sisters?”

“I do not think it would be appropriate for me to do so. My position is here with you.”

With a clammy hand, he reached for hers. Instantly, Elizabeth’s stomach revolted, and she attempted to draw it back.

“Cousin Elizabeth, I had not planned to speak so early, but you must see there is little time to waste. Lady Catherine does not support unwed rectors, and I entirely agree with her. I am conscious, too, of the hurt my now imminent inheritance will cause you and your sisters. I came to Longbourn to find a wife. I will admit you were not the first object of my interest, but I am very pleased with your conduct and attractiveness. I will not hold it against you in the least that you come to me with little money. I know you will honour me all the more for my condescension.”

Elizabeth could scarcely breathe. She could never ever marry Mr. Collins—or any man she did not love.

Until the unthinkable happened and her father was mortally ill, that is. Without allowing the man to finish, she raced out of the room. In a matter of minutes, she found herself knocking on the door to Lucas Lodge, requesting her friend Charlotte to join her for a walk. Elizabeth needed sensible advice, and she knew Charlotte would be the one to give it.

Excerpt #2 (Darcy) Darcy overhears Elizabeth’s conversation with Charlotte as they discuss Collins’ proposal. He uses the opportunity to speak with her.

“Miss Bennet, do you realise that you are consoling me about long ago hurts while you are in such a mournful position? You have a truly generous heart!” He looked at her intently and gently took her hand in his. “It is this reason as well as your intelligence, your lively wit, playful manners, and perfect loveliness that I find myself captivated by you.”

Darcy searched Elizabeth’s face for a sign of encouragement. Her eyes had widened when he first reached for her hand, and she seemed to be in a state of disbelief as he continued his speech. He supposed that she had felt unworthy of his notice. “It may surprise you to hear that I have decided to end my bachelor’s existence. I determined to do so just before arriving at Netherfield and had planned to devote time in the upcoming season to finding a wife. My estate needs heirs, and I wish to end the schemes of my relations once and for all.”

Elizabeth stared blankly at him. Deciding it was best to illustrate just how much he admired her, he brought her knuckle to his lips before continuing his unexpected proposal. “Why should I wait for London when a pleasing alternative is before me? Instead of offering for a titled miss, I find myself needing to be in your presence, to experience your joy for life.”

Once he had begun, he found he did not wish to stop speaking of his feelings. Indeed, they surprised even him, but he meant every word. “I have a very deep affection and regard for you. I have never felt such admiration for another woman before. Please be my wife. I am convinced you are the only one who can be the perfect mistress for my home and sister for my dear Georgiana. Let me care for you and your family. Please be my companion for life.”

Darcy waited with bated breath. He proposed only a marriage of convenience. He admired Elizabeth but would not call it anything more. Still, his heart raced, and he felt the same anticipation one feels before pushing their horse to jump over a fence for the first time. He was part dread, part elation.

Well, what do you think Elizabeth will say? Will she need any convincing to accept Darcy?

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About Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife

There was only one rule for their marriage. No falling in love.

Elizabeth Bennet thrives on finding the follies in life. The most beloved daughter of her father, she has lived a relatively charmed life with little to cause her pain or regret. That all changes the morning her father collapses. Forced to marry to save her family, Elizabeth’s only choices are men she can never love.

Needing a wife to end his overbearing family’s schemes, Mr. Darcy has settled upon the vivacious Elizabeth. When he overhears she is considering marriage to another man, he is inspired to act quickly, and soon finds himself in a marriage of convenience.

The agreement is supposed to be devoid of sentiment and love, suiting them both at first. However, respect soon blossoms to love for Darcy while Elizabeth remains convinced her heart is permanently broken. Suddenly, a match that was supposed to be convenient becomes painfully inconvenient. Can a marriage overflowing with such differing emotions be maintained, or will there be no other choice for Darcy and Elizabeth but to live separate lives?

Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife is Rose Fairbanks’ latest stand-alone novel. If you like heroes with unwavering devotion, stories that pull on your heartstrings, and romance amidst life’s pains, then you will enjoy this story full of heartache and joy.

Grab your copy today and settle in for an unforgettable read as Darcy and Elizabeth navigate their anything-but-convenient marriage.

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About the Author

Rose Fairbanks

Born in the wrong era, Rose Fairbanks has read nineteenth-century novels since childhood. Although she studied history, her transcript also contains every course in which she could discuss Jane Austen. Never having given up all-nighters for reading, Rose discovered her love for Historical Romance after reading Christi Caldwell’s Heart of a Duke Series.

After a financial downturn and her husband’s unemployment had threatened her ability to stay at home with their special needs child, Rose began writing the kinds of stories she had loved to read for so many years. Now, a best-selling author of Jane Austen-inspired stories, she also writes Regency Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Historical Fantasy.

Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to finish her master’s studies someday. When not reading or writing, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.

You can connect with Rose on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog.

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Jane Austen Re-Imaginings Series

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Giveaway

Rose is giving away 2 (two) ebook copies of Mr. Darcy’s Grieving Wife. You must enter through this Rafflecopter link. Requirements for entry are following Rose on Facebook or commenting on this post. Good luck!

Thanks, Rose, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book!

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