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Posts Tagged ‘pride and prejudice’

I’m thrilled to welcome Victoria Kincaid back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate her latest release, Darcy in Hollywood. I’ve enjoyed editing all of Victoria’s books thus far, but her modern-day Pride and Prejudice variations are especially fun. I hope you enjoy our interview, as well as the excerpt from Darcy in Hollywood. Please give Victoria a warm welcome.

What inspired you to bring Darcy and Elizabeth to Hollywood?

That’s a good question which is always hard to answer since usually the idea for a book has been gestating in my brain for at least a year before I start writing it.  There are a lot of contemporary romances with movie stars as protagonists as well as a number of movies (like Notting Hill).  I really enjoy that subgenre; I think it’s particularly interesting to see the clash between the Hollywood lifestyle and the lives of ordinary people.  I also wanted to write another modern after President Darcy since that one was so much fun, and I thought Hollywood would make a good setting for the P&P story.

How difficult was it to adapt P&P to this setting? Did you find it difficult to insert timely themes, of which there are many throughout the book?

Writing a modern P&P variation is definitely harder than writing one set in the Regency time period because I need to find modern equivalents for the events, places, occupations, etc. that happen in P&P.  I didn’t set out to insert any modern themes in the story—any more than I did with President Darcy.  But they do have a way of creeping in.  The storyline about drug addiction was a natural fit with Hollywood, where so many people struggle with addiction issues, and it helped motivate a lot of character behavior.

Other themes came about in different ways.  I wanted Elizabeth to be committed to a charitable cause so that she would see a contrast between her beliefs and Darcy’s.  Originally I planned to have her become a worker in a nonprofit, but then decided it would be better if she was becoming a doctor.  One of the reasons I had her pick LGBTQ issues as a cause was personal.  My daughter has a friend whose parents disowned them when they came out as nonbinary.  This person is just a sweet, loving human being and that kind of rejection just struck me as so wrong.  That sense of injustice wouldn’t leave me alone, so it ended up as a subplot in the story.

You have a way with humor in your modern variations, from the Bennet family’s business in President Darcy to my favorite in Darcy in Hollywood: Bill Collins and Catherine de Bourgh. I don’t want to spoil it for readers, but oh how I laughed whenever Collins came into the picture…and Catherine’s advice to Darcy…priceless! That being said, what was your favorite scene to write? Do you have a favorite secondary character in your variation?

I always enjoy writing humor in my variations.  I actually think it’s an important part of Pride and Prejudice since Austen herself made humor an integral part of her stories.  With Collins and de Bourgh, in particular, it’s almost impossible to go too far with their characters—which makes them very fun to write.  I can make Collins can be as sycophantic and as stupid as possible, and it still works with the character Austen wrote.  Similarly, Catherine de Bourgh can never be too imperious or oblivious.

The joy of writing a modern novel is that I can think up new contexts for them to display those same character traits.  For instance, in Darcy in Hollywood, Collins becomes Mrs. de Bourgh’s personal assistant who has literally given up his life so he can devote it to hers.  He doesn’t even see his parents at Christmas (they just exchange cards) because de Bourgh needs him to sing carols to her on Christmas day.

This is your second modern P&P variation. Do you have plans to write another? (I sure hope so!) Do you find the moderns more difficult to write? To me, the moderns seem to give more freedom in the plot and characterization. But does that freedom make it harder since you lose the confines of Regency social rules?

Right now I don’t have an idea for another modern variation, but I’m sure another one will occur to me at some point.  Before I wrote President Darcy, I would have said that moderns should be easier to write since the writer doesn’t have to do as much research or worry about period details and period language.  But I would have been wrong.  In fact, Darcy in Hollywood took me longer to write than any book since my first one—and I deleted sixty pages from my drafts of the novel.

Regency-set P&P variations are easier in part because I can start partway through the story and the reader will know what has happened before.  For instance, I could open the book with the proposal at Hunsford, and readers wouldn’t bat an eye.  But in a modern, I’d have to explain how Darcy and Elizabeth met and got to the point where he was making some kind of offer (probably not an offer of marriage so early in their acquaintance). So modern variations end up being longer because I need to include more of the original P&P narrative.

The other thing that makes moderns hard is trying to remain true to Austen’s characters while having their behavior make sense in a modern setting.  A modern mother isn’t likely to want to marry her daughters off like the original Mrs. Bennet.  So I made her into a stage mother instead—someone who’s convinced that Lydia will be a big movie star.  Likewise, Mr. Bennet went from being a fairly well-to-do landowner, to a producer of B-movies.

But I ran into major problems with Darcy in this respect.  I discovered he really didn’t want to be a movie star!  With his personality, he didn’t fit with the Hollywood culture of self-promotion, screaming fans, and glitzy parties. I’d originally seen him as someone who was so proud of his work that he believed he deserved the adulation, but Darcy is too private for that.  So I had rewrite the early parts to make him into a kind of Masterpiece Theatre, classical actor who starred in one movie that made him a heartthrob to teenage girls—much to his embarrassment.  That worked much better for Darcy’s character.

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Here is an excerpt from the beginning of Darcy in Hollywood—right after Darcy nearly hits Elizabeth with his car. Enjoy!

Darcy stomped on the momentary flare of irritation.  “Is the sarcasm really necessary?”

She regarded him through narrowed eyes.  “Yeah, I think it is.  What’s the alternative?  That I should be honored to be knocked over by your car?  Because I don’t think your identity would have been much comfort to my parents.  ‘We don’t have a daughter anymore, but at least she was killed by a celebrity.  Maybe he can autograph her coffin.’”

Why did she have to be so difficult?  He was already putting up with so much doing an indie film.  “That’s not what I meant.  You don’t have to put it that way—”

“I almost got hit by a car.  I can put it however the fuck I want to!”

Darcy was so over this woman. She wasn’t nearly as pretty as he had initially thought. If only he could leave.  But he needed to make sure she wouldn’t talk to the media; another car-related incident would be a disaster for his career.  From now on, I only travel by train or boat.  Pity about her personality; she had fine eyes.

Darcy helped the woman limp to a nearby bench and gently lowered her to the seat.  “Maybe I should call for an ambulance,” he suggested.  He would have preferred to discuss having her sign a nondisclosure agreement, but it seemed a little insensitive.

“Let me sit for a minute.”  Leaning forward, she cradled her head in her hands, providing a good view of the blood matting the hair on the back of her head.  Huh, maybe she wasn’t wrong about the possible concussion.

Darcy settled on the bench beside her despite a desperate desire to cross the street and slip into Building 4, where they were holding the table read.  They won’t start without me, he reminded himself.  But being late wouldn’t impress them with his professionalism.

He took the opportunity to check her for other injuries.  She had a scrape on her right arm and favored her left ankle.  Of course, her clothes were disheveled—and a fashion disaster.  The sleeve of her t-shirt was ripped where she had fallen.

“I can get you a new t-shirt.”

“Huh?”

He gestured to the rip.

Her mouth hung open.  “I don’t give a shit about the t-shirt!”

“I don’t think that kind of language is called for.”

“That kind of language?” she echoed and then squinted at him.  “Are you drunk?”

“It’s 7 a.m.”

“Yes, it is.  Are you drunk?  Or high?”

Damn, you have one scandal…

“No,” he said sharply.

“The car was moving rather erratically.”

“I was…trying to work the stereo.  It’s complicated.”

“You almost killed me because you couldn’t work the radio?”

“To be fair, it’s satellite radio.  And I didn’t almost kill you!”

“To-may-to, to-mah-to.”

His jaw clenched so tightly he could grind glass.   “This isn’t a matter of opinion!  You would have been fine if you hadn’t fallen.”

“I also would have been fine if your Ferrari hadn’t come hurtling toward me.”

Darcy didn’t respond; arguing was futile.  After a moment she gave him a sidelong glance.  “You don’t need to babysit me; I can call myself an ambulance if I need one.”

“I shouldn’t leave you alone.”

“Oh!  You don’t want me talking to the press.  Don’t worry.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about,” he lied.  “My primary concern is your well-being.”

“I bet you say that to all the girls you almost run over.”

Darcy stifled a smile.  Under other circumstances, he’d think she was funny.  “I assure you that you’re the first.”

The woman examined the scrape on her arm.  “I accept your apology, by the way.”

“I didn’t apologize.”

Now she turned her blue-green gaze on him.  “I noticed that.  Why didn’t you?  Do you think this is my fault?  That your car had the right of way on the sidewalk?”

Darcy would have apologized—if he had thought of it—but now he couldn’t without losing face.  “I didn’t hit you.  You agreed I didn’t hit you!”  I sound like an idiot insisting on that point.  

“You. Are. Unbelievable.”

Darcy had heard that before but usually in a more complimentary tone.

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About Darcy in Hollywood

A modern Pride and Prejudice variation.

Rich and arrogant movie star, William Darcy, was a Hollywood heartthrob until a scandalous incident derailed his career. Now he can only hope that Tom Bennet’s prestigious but low budget indie film will restore his reputation. However, on the first day of filming, he nearly hits Bennet’s daughter, Elizabeth, with his Ferrari, and life will never be the same. Okay, she’s a little sarcastic, but he’s certain she’s concealing a massive crush on him—and it’s growing harder to fight his own attraction….

Elizabeth Bennet has a lot on her plate. She’s applying to medical school and running the studio’s charity project—while hoping her family won’t embarrass her too much. Being Darcy’s on-set personal assistant is infuriating; he’s rude, proud, and difficult. If there’s one thing she dislikes, it’s people who only think about themselves. But then Elizabeth discovers Darcy has been doing a lot of thinking about her.

She might be willing to concede a mutual attraction, but events are conspiring against them and Darcy subject to constant public scrutiny. Can Darcy and Elizabeth have any hope for a happy ending to their Hollywood romance?

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Victoria is generously offering an ebook copy of Darcy in Hollywood to one lucky reader. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Wednesday, July 17, 2019. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you, Victoria, for being my guest today, and congratulations on your new book!

 

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Hello, dear readers! My guest today is Mirta Ines Trupp, author of The Meyersons of Meryton.  She is here to share an excerpt of her new book, and she has a giveaway for you as well. Please give her a warm welcome!

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I am delighted to be here today and greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak about my latest novel, The Meyersons of Meryton.  More than two hundred years after Pride and Prejudice was published, we are witnessing the genre of Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) grow at a remarkable rate. I believe that our beloved author would be flattered by this outpour of admiration and astonished at the level of creativity in the reimagining of her work. As I am a fan of period dramas, an author of historical fiction and an ardent student of Judaica, it wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to come up with this storyline of a Jewish family mingling with Miss Austen’s treasured characters.

In truth, the concept of fan fiction is quite an accepted practice in Judaism. Sages and students alike re-interpret writings in order to explore biblical text and make them more accessible; discover new insights; or even come up with different conclusions or “what-ifs.” These reimagined works are called Midrash. This process invites us to insert ourselves in the canon. It allows us to personalize the story with our own viewpoints, or fantasies, and may even help deliver the moral of the story in a more meaningful manner.

Parodies are also popular in the Jewish community. We see this year in, year out when we celebrate the holidays of Purim and Chanukah. The Internet is flooded with clever and creative spoofs of Top 40 hits that change out the lyrics to teach something about the season, to say something enlightening or inspiring, or to validate our existence as a minority community. These pop culture references, coupled with the headier lessons found in Midrash, were the impetus for writing The Meyersons of Meryton.

There are few noteworthy Jewish characters in the classics. We are inundated with negative stereotypes thanks, in part, to the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Heyer. I wanted to tell another story, one that—hopefully— will entertain and delight the diverse audience of Jane Austen fans.

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An excerpt from The Meyersons of Meryton, courtesy of Mirta Ines Trupp

“Do you suppose the Meyersons are much like the Romani gypsies in the woods?”

Mr. Bennet chuckled as he smoothed out his paper. “I dare say you will find them to be much like others of our acquaintance.”

As the grand clock struck four, a carriage was heard making its way along the gravel drive. Kitty jumped from her seat and was for the window, only to be stayed by a stern reprimand from her mother. Mary turned from the pianoforte, indignant at her younger sibling’s lack of propriety.

“Continue to act in such a manner, Kitty, and you will forever be treated as a frivolous and irksome child. It would behoove you to look to your elders and attempt to emulate the proper etiquette so becoming in a young lady of quality.”

“Mary, dear, do try to be sociable,” Mrs. Bennet petitioned. “One does not know what sort of people these Meyersons are. Jews or not, I would not have anyone say that they were ill received at Longbourn.”

Kitty, hiding behind an embroidered silk pillow, proceeded to stick her tongue out toward her sister as Hill opened the door and announced the awaited visitors.

“Mr. and Mrs. Meyerson, madam.”

A family of three entered the room. The gentleman bowed and the lady curtsied. A child clung closely to her mama, so much so that she nearly was concealed by the lady’s skirt. The little miss peeked from behind, her large hazel eyes taking in a room full of strangers, and she proceeded to place her thumb into the safe confines of her cherubic mouth.

“You are most welcome,” Mr. Bennet said as he eagerly extended his hand. “Allow me to introduce Mrs. Bennet and my daughters, Jane, the eldest, followed by Elizabeth, Mary and Catherine, or Kitty, as we call her—she is rather too silly yet to be called her proper name.”

Mrs. Bennet, ashamed for her daughter and how the girl’s silliness could reflect on her own maternal talents, silently performed a welcoming curtsey.

“We are grateful for your hospitality, Mrs. Bennet,” said the gentleman as he bowed over her hand. “It is a blessing to be received with such amiability and on such short notice, too! I do hope you will accept our apologies for any inconvenience…”

“Ahem…” the elegant lady murmured.

“Ah, but I am forgetting my manners—Jacob Meyerson, your servant, ma’am.” He extended his hand to his side, before continuing, “My wife, Mrs. Meyerson, and our daughter, Rachel.”

“We are delighted you have arrived safely,” said Mrs. Bennet, and she was surprisingly sincere. Her guests, although quite unknown to her in every conceivable manner, were fashionable and appeared to be exemplary specimens of London society.

“Are you the rabbi? You do not look at all as I expected,” Kitty exclaimed.

“You were expecting a rather exotic fellow with a flowing kaftan and an impressive growth of a beard,” Mr. Meyerson responded amicably with a great bellow of a laugh. “The great Maimonides once said there is no commandment requiring Jews to seek out clothing which would make them stand out as different from what is worn by Gentiles. Therefore, Miss Catherine, as you find my appearance in keeping with Hertfordshire society, it would seem I am in good standing with the great philosopher.”

Mortified, Kitty blushed and retreated to the corner. Mrs. Bennet rolled her eyes at her daughter’s unrefined comportment, although, if she were to be truthful, at least with herself, she would have admitted to sharing the very same thoughts. However, not wanting to appear ignorant or worse yet, unsociable, Mrs. Bennet quickly attempted to make amends.

“May I offer you some refreshment? You must be tired after so long a journey. Ring the bell for tea, Kitty.”

“Tea would be most welcome,” Mrs. Meyerson said with a gentle smile as she took the proffered seat. “Your kind housekeeper showed my maid and the child’s nurse to their rooms, but I would have Rachel stay by my side, at least until she is a bit more acclimated to her surroundings. May I beg your indulgence madam?”

The child had already made herself quite at home, having found a comfortable spot at her father’s feet. Elizabeth stole a glance and observed her mother’s reaction. La! The child had a bit of Lydia’s tenacity. Certainly her mama would recognize the similarities and not request the child be removed. Having spared any discipline towards her youngest daughter, Elizabeth could not think that the mistress of the house would do any less for her guest.

But then her thoughts turned to Mr. Darcy. Had he been in attendance, what would he have decreed? Would he be of the opinion that children were to be seen and not heard?

Her own upbringing differed greatly from what Mr. Darcy had experienced at Pemberley House. Five daughters brought up at home without a governess—Lady Catherine had been scandalized at the notion and, indeed, compared to other families, she and her sisters had been quite at liberty to run amok. It seemed that today would be no different.

Mrs. Bennet gazed uncomfortably at her good rug before smiling at her guest. “But of course little Rachel should stay, Mrs. Meyerson.”

The lady nodded her gratitude to her hostess and then, turning to her husband, she chastised, “Mr. Meyerson! You, sir, have caused Miss Catherine to feel uncomfortable in her own home. How is the young miss expected to know of rabbis and medieval philosophers? If you are going to preach, at least let there be a lesson so that others may benefit from the experience.”

Mr. Meyerson laughed once more and joined his wife on the settee. “I do beg your pardon, Miss Catherine. My wife is quite right.”

“Please do not worry on my account,” Kitty stated. Thinking better of her comments, she added, “It was idle curiosity, nothing more.”

Mrs. Bennet, unaccustomed to such easy behavior between man and wife, had become quite undone. Within moments of making their acquaintance, Mrs. Meyerson chastised and teased her husband and he accepted her admonishments with good humor and grace. Her mouth suddenly dry, Mrs. Bennet found she lacked sufficient conversation and began waving her delicate handkerchief towards her daughter.

 “The bell, Kitty,” was her fervent plea.

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About The Meyersons of Meryton

When a new family, thought to be associated with the House of Rothschild arrives in Meryton, a chain of events are set in place that threaten the betrothal of Miss Elizabeth Bennet to her beloved Mr. Darcy.

Rabbi Meyerson and family are received at Longbourn. This inconvenience leads to misfortune, for when the rabbi disappears from the quiet market town, Mr. Bennet follows dutifully in his path.

Her father’s sudden departure shadowed by the Wickhams’ unannounced arrival has Elizabeth judging not only her reactions to these tumultuous proceedings but her suitability as the future Mistress of Pemberley. A sensible woman would give her hand in marriage without a second thought. Can Elizabeth say goodbye forever to the one man who has captured her heart?

The Meyersons of Meryton is a Pride and Prejudice variation. The narrative introduces Jewish characters and history to the beloved novel and, although there are some adult themes, this is an inspirational and clean read.

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Mirta Ines Trupp

Mirta is a second generation Argentine; she was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 and immigrated to the United States that same year. Because of the unique fringe benefits provided by her father’s employer- Pan American Airlines- she returned to her native country frequently- growing up with ‘un pie acá, y un pie allá’ (with one foot here and one foot there).

Mirta’s fascination with Jewish history and genealogy, coupled with an obsession for historical period drama, has inspired her to create these unique and enlightening novels. She has been a guest speaker for book clubs, sisterhood events, genealogy societies and philanthropic organizations.

Connect with Mirta on Facebook | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Mirta is generously offering 5 ebooks to my readers, no geographic restrictions. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, June 30, 2019. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

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

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Hi dear readers! Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kelly Miller to Diary of an Eccentric for the first time to celebrate the release of Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley. Please give her a warm welcome, and stay tuned for a very generous giveaway from Meryton Press!

Movie versions of Death Takes a Holiday

My first notion of writing a story in which Fitzwilliam Darcy is visited by an angel came to me when I noted that The Bishop’s Wife, 1947, Starring Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven, was to play on television. I set the movie up to be recorded but did not watch it right away. As I contemplated what I recalled of the plot, I decided that I would fuse ideas from a number of my best-loved movies from that genre, including Death takes a Holiday, 1934, from which I borrowed my title, and Warren Beatty’s Heaven can Wait, 1978. The end result is a love story that features Jane Austen’s two best-loved characters, and their great and abiding love while it reflects the author’s affection for movies with an element of fantasy.

In Death takes a Holiday, the 1934 film based upon the 1924 Italian play, La Morte in Vacanza, by Alberto Casella, Death (Fredric March) takes the form of a handsome prince and appears at the home of Duke Lambert (Sir Guy Standing), an Italian nobleman. Duke Lambert has a house full of guests, including Lambert’s son, Corrado, and the son’s lovely and wistful intended, Grazia (Evelyn Venable). Death, using the name Prince Sirki, demands that the Duke act as his host for three days to indulge his desire to experience life as a mortal and gain an understanding for why humans hold such fear for him.

While Prince Sirki is on his holiday, no deaths occur throughout the world, despite the fact that accidents, disasters, and crimes continue to occur.

Prince Sirki interacts with the Duke’s guests and finds that several of the ladies, though drawn to his attractive form, become afraid of him when they get too close to him and get a sense of his true identity.

Only the beautiful Grazia, a young woman plagued by a mysterious melancholy, seems unafraid to face Prince Sirki’s true identity. When Duke Lambert realizes Prince Sirki has fallen in love with the lady promised to his son, he begs Death to walk away from her and leave her to the world of the living. Will Death selfishly take this beautiful, young lady with him when he leaves, or will he act in a way to serve her own best interests?

The 1998 film, Meet Joe Black, starring Anthony Hopkins, Brad Pitt, and Claire Forlani is a remake of Death takes a Holiday, but it is so different from the 1934 version that to compare the two seems out of place. That said, Meet Joe Black has its own charm and appeal, even beyond that of the talents of the two male stars. I thought it was interesting to note that while many who reviewed the 1934 version as vastly superior in the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), the overall ratings of the 1934 and 1998 movies were equal: 7.2 out of 10.

It was not until I researched for this blog entry that I learned a 1971 version of Death takes a Holiday was made starring Yvette Mimieux, Myrna Loy, and Melvyn Douglas. The casting of Monte Markham as Death seemed odd to me from the start, but IMDB reviewers gave this made-for-television version an impressive 7.6 out of 10. I was thrilled to find it available to watch on Youtube.com and was able to view the entire movie. Unfortunately, I found this version, despite the high-caliber performance of Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas, to be by far the weakest of the three. I would have preferred another actor as Death, someone who might have, at crucial moments in the movie, displayed an expression of fierceness to explain why some in the movie were frightened by him. I did not find the movie to be as compelling as either of the other two versions. I was led to believe that the high ratings on IMDB were from those who remembered seeing the movie long ago, perhaps as young teens, and had a nostalgic affection for it.

Of the three movie versions, I would place the 1934 version of Death takes a Holiday first. I deem it to be the most mysterious and romantic of the three movies. A close second, is Meet Joe Black, which has a lot of appeal in its own right but is not so stylish or compelling as the 1934 movie, and I suspect not so apt to remain on the viewer’s mind after seeing it. I would place the 1971 made-for-television version of Death takes a Holiday at a very distant third place.

Thank you, Kelly, for being my guest today. I always love to read about how novels come to life, and you’ve made me very eager to read yours. Congratulations on your new release!

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About Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley

What will the master of Pemberley do when confronted with the mercurial whims of an all-powerful angel?

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s well-ordered life is about to become a chaotic nightmare. A man of fortune, property, and social prominence, he has everything he could desire. Blissfully married to his wife, Elizabeth, they have a two-year-old son. With so much to live for, Darcy is shaken by a near-fatal riding accident. After a miraculous escape, he is visited by an otherworldly being: an angel of death named Graham. Threatening dire consequences, Graham compels Darcy to guide him on a sojourn in the world of mortals.

Darcy immediately questions the angel’s motives when he demands to be a guest at Pemberley. Can he trust Graham’s assurance that no harm will come to his wife and child? And why does Graham insist on spending time with Elizabeth? How can Darcy possibly protect his family from an angel with power over life and death?

In this romantic fantasy, the beloved couple from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice must contend with both human and unearthly challenges. Are the fates against them? Or will their extraordinary love conquer all?

Buy links:

eBook:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Paperback:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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About the Author

Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller discovered her appreciation for Jane Austen late in life, and her love of writing even later.  It was the 1995 miniseries of Pride and Prejudice that made her take notice and want to read the actual book.  It was many years later that she discovered the world of JAFF.  After reading a slew of wildly inventive stories featuring the beloved characters created by Jane Austen, she was inspired to write one of her own.  Now, writing is one of her favorite pastimes.  When not writing, she spends her free time singing, playing the piano, and working out.  (Yes, like Elizabeth Bennet, she is an excellent walker.)  Kelly Miller lives in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter and their many pets.

Connect with Kelly: Amazon Author PageGoodreads Author Page | Facebook

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley. You must enter through this Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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June 14 From Pemberley to Milton

June 15 More Agreeably Engaged

June 17 Diary of an Eccentric

June 18 So Little Time…

June 19 Austenesque Reviews

June 20 Savvy Verse & Wit

June 21 Babblings of a Bookworm

June22 My Love for Jane Austen

June 24 My Vices and Weaknesses

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Source: Review copy from author

Nicole Clarkston’s latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Nefarious, is a whirlwind of a novel that took me on an emotional rollercoaster, and I loved every second of it. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it simply must be experienced and each layer unfolded on its own, but she writes a Mr. Darcy that you’ve never encountered before.

When the novel opens, Mr. Darcy is an angry widower who has nothing nice to say about his dead wife. Shockingly, the former Mrs. Darcy shares the name and look of a certain lady in Hertfordshire who bewitches him the moment he first sets eyes on her. Despite setting his sights on the angelic Jane Bennet, believing she could be the one who brings him back to life, he is hung up on her sister, Elizabeth, who he sees as a minx, an adversary…and the list of his “complaints” about this “enchantress” go on and on.

Nefarious doesn’t stick to the plot of Austen’s novel and is a breath of fresh air in that regard. When Darcy takes up residence at Netherfield, there has been no incident at Ramsgate, for instance, and Georgiana soon joins him in Hertfordshire. That was one of the things I liked best about the novel: the clever twists and turns and not having any idea what would happen next. Darcy’s first-person viewpoint is both brilliant and infuriating — infuriating because he is such a disagreeable fellow for the first quarter of the book and deserves a good thrashing, and brilliant because you get to see his evolution from angry and bitter to helpless and desperate through to his ultimate redemption.

There is something for everyone in Nefarious, from the mysterious events surrounding Darcy’s marriage to the dastardly plots that threaten to ruin him to the romance and passion that one would expect in a Darcy and Elizabeth tale. I stayed up well past my bedtime several nights in a row because I needed to know what happened, and if work and real life hadn’t interfered, I probably would have read this book straight through because, really, who needs sleep when Darcy’s life and happiness hang in the balance?? Clarkston’s beautiful writing and a fascinating story conceived by the JAFF community’s very own J.W. Garrett come together in what likely will be one of my favorite books of 2019, and among my all-time favorite P&P variations.

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About Nefarious

He hates everything about her.

She despises him even more.

So why is his heart so determined to belong to her?

Once trapped by marriage to a woman he loathed, Fitzwilliam Darcy is finally free again. Resentful, bewildered, and angry, he is eager to begin his life over—preferably with a woman who is the exact opposite of his wife.

He never imagined a short stay in Hertfordshire would bring him face to face with his worst nightmare; a woman similar in face, form, and name. He certainly never expected her to be so impossible to ignore.

Torn between what he believes he wants and what his heart cannot live without, his dignity begins to unravel. Will his desperation to escape his past drive a wedge into his closest friendship and destroy any hope of a future?

Will Miss Elizabeth Bennet prove to be as nefarious as his wife? Or, will the last woman in the world be his only chance at happiness?

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Nicole is offering a very generous giveaway as part of the blog tour. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address, and indicate which option you would prefer:

Option 1: $10 Amazon Gift Card plus eBook or Audiobook of winner’s choice (International)

Option 2: Signed Paperback of winner’s choice (U.S. only)

This giveaway will be open through Sunday, June 23, 2019. Good luck!

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Source: Review copy from Meryton Press

The Mist of Her Memory is another winner from Suzan Lauder, and this being her first romantic suspense variation of Pride and Prejudice, it shows her versatility and growth as a writer. I don’t want to delve too deeply into the plot because it’s best that you just dive in and enjoy the ride for yourself.

When the novel opens, readers quickly learn that some sort of accident happened when Elizabeth was visiting Lambton with the Gardiners and that she has lost her memory. While her aunt and uncle believe Mr. Darcy isn’t to be trusted, Elizabeth struggles to make sense of the bits and pieces she remembers of him and longs to escape from the confines of the Gardiners’ home to speak to him. Meanwhile, Darcy is struggling with his feelings for Elizabeth and that he can never see her again, given the Gardiners’ demands.

I was on the edge of my seat for the entire book, wanting to know why the Gardiners kept avoiding her questions about Lydia, why the Bennets have been treated so harshly by the townspeople, and what happened to Elizabeth in Lambton to cause her memory loss. Lauder does an excellent job with pacing, parceling out the details in such a way that you can’t stop turning the pages to see how it all fits together. It was hard to see Elizabeth so weak in that she can’t remember things and suffers extreme headaches the more she tries to remember, yet she was so strong in that she survived at all. Mr. Darcy’s suffering was hard to read as well, especially as he laments his permanent separation from Elizabeth. The Mist of Her Memory is the perfect blend of suspense and romance, and it’s definitely one I would read again even though I know how it all plays out.

****

About The Mist of Her Memory

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton?

What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries?

Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.

“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”

̶ author L. L. Diamond

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Suzan Lauder

A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, cycling, yoga, blogging, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder is seldom idle.

Her first effort at a suspense novel, The Mist of her Memory is the fifth time Lauder has been published by Meryton Press. Her earlier works include a mature Regency romance with a mystery twist, Alias Thomas Bennet; a modern short romance Delivery Boy in the holiday anthology Then Comes Winter, the dramatic tension-filled Regency romance Letter from Ramsgate, and the Regency romantic comedy, A Most Handsome Gentleman.

She and Mr. Suze and two rescue cats split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150 year old Spanish colonial home near the sea in Mexico.

Suzan’s lively prose is also available to her readers on her blog, road trips with the redhead, on her Facebook author page, on Twitter, and on Instagram as Suzan Lauder. She is a lifetime member of JASNA.

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of The Mist of Her Memory. The giveaway runs until midnight, May 19, 2019. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

****

May 7 / Just Romantic Suspense / Book Excerpt

May 8 /  Austenesque Reviews / Vignette Post

May 9 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Book Excerpt

May 10 / From Pemberley to Milton / Guest Post

May 11 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

May 12 / Half Agony, Half Hope / Book Review

May 13 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Character Interview

May 14 / Just Jane 1813 /  Author Interview

May 15 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt

May 16 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Review

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I am thrilled to have been chosen to reveal the cover of Suzan Lauder’s upcoming Meryton Press release, The Mist of Her Memory. I’ve long been a fan of Suzan’s Pride and Prejudice tales, and I’m looking forward to this romantic suspense variation.

I know you’re all eager to see the gorgeous cover from Janet Taylor, but first, the book blurb!

What happened that fateful morning in Lambton? What brutal attacker caused such grievous, near-fatal injuries? Does she remain in danger? Elizabeth cannot remember!

Sequestered in her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s London home, Elizabeth Bennet tries to recover from a devastating incident that stole her memories during their Derbyshire tour. She continues to suffer from strange, angry voices in her head and to recall events that people tell her never happened. Even those who love her refuse to believe her. Elizabeth can barely endure the confusion!

Fitzwilliam Darcy is desperate for any hint of his beloved’s well-being, yet he lacks the information he seeks as her family forbids him contact with Elizabeth. His frustration mounts when he learns that her mental impairment incited taunting and torment in her home village of Meryton.

Which of Elizabeth’s recollections bear the closest resemblance to the truth? And what is the result of her sister Lydia’s elopement with Mr. Wickham? How is Mr. Darcy to rekindle his romance with Elizabeth when her aunt and uncle strictly shield her from him?

Prepare to grip the edge of your seat during this original romantic tale of suspense and mystery, another Pride and Prejudice variation by bestselling author Suzan Lauder.

“Suzan Lauder skillfully weaves a story that submerges you into the plot and doesn’t let go. The Mist of Her Memory’s twists and turns hold a well-guarded secret that keeps you guessing until the very end.”

– author L. L. Diamond

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!?

And now…here is The Mist of Her Memory:

I think the cover perfectly captures the suspense and mystery in the description, and I love how their eyes seem to say so much.

Here’s the full cover:

I’m hoping you all are as eager to read this book as I am. Get your copy on Amazon (U.S./U.K.) today!

Now, let’s show Suzan and Janet some love in the comments!

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I’m excited to welcome C.P. Odom to Diary of an Eccentric today to share an excerpt from his latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Perilous Siege. I’m intrigued by the idea of Pride and Prejudice in an alternate universe, and I hope you all are as well! Please give him a warm welcome!

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Good day, Anna. It’s a pleasure to be here at Diary of an Eccentric to share this excerpt from Perilous Siege with your readers. I hope your readers enjoy this scene between Jane and Elizabeth.

Thursday, November 28, 1811
Hertfordshire

Mrs. Bennet’s joy had begun to decline by the next day since she had already dragged Mary to see most of their friends. Since her two youngest daughters were more than desperate to escape from her presence, they expressed their inclination to walk to Meryton as they so often did in the mornings. Elizabeth was reluctant to go with them, despite her usual zest for exercise and sunshine, but Jane was most urgent in wishing her to come, and Elizabeth reluctantly relented.

Upon reaching the town, the group almost immediately met with Lieutenants Denny and Wickham, who greeted them warmly—or mostly so since Elizabeth noted his greeting to her was terser and less cordial than on previous occasions. However, since she was far more concerned with recovering from her encounter with Darcy, she paid his coolness little attention, especially since she knew he never could have had any intentions toward her because of her lack of money.

At her younger sisters’ insistence, Wickham joined their party when they went to their aunt’s house. When they arrived, Mrs. Philips was most enthusiastic about Mary’s good fortune. She was also cognizant of the events at the ball and slyly complimented both Jane and Elizabeth on their good fortune, even going so far as to wonder whether additional good news might not be forthcoming.

This latter statement was not received well by Wickham, who now carefully looked all about the room at everyone except Elizabeth. He realized why she had been so unresponsive on the first evening they met when he tried to spin his tale of Darcy’s malefactions toward himself. However, as a seasoned campaigner in the pursuit of the opposite sex, he put the topic from his mind. There were far more fish in the sea than Miss Elizabeth Bennet, even if she was one of the more delectable ones.

As Wickham and Denny walked back with them to Longbourn, the Netherfield ball remained the prime topic of conversation. Elizabeth noticed that Wickham continued to ignore her, seeming to pay more attention to her youngest sister, who was so flattered by the attention that she invited the two officers inside to introduce them to her father and mother.

Soon after their return, a letter arrived from Netherfield for Jane, who opened it immediately. Elizabeth saw her sister’s expression change as she read the sheet of paper covered on both sides with a fair, elegant hand. Though Jane collected herself and tried to join the conversation with her usual cheerfulness, Elizabeth knew her sister too well. She guessed the note came from Caroline Bingley, and her sisterly eye told her it contained news less than pleasant in nature. As soon as possible, even though Wickham and Denny had not yet departed, Elizabeth gave a nod of her head toward the stairs and both sisters went to Jane’s room.

There, Jane confirmed her suspicions. “This letter is from Caroline Bingley, and its contents have surprised me a good deal. It was written yesterday, and it says she and her sister have decided to follow their brother to London with none of them intending to return to Netherfield. Caroline does declare her only regret was being thus deprived of the society of me, her dearest friend.”

Despite the worries afflicting her, Elizabeth heard these high-flown expressions with her usual distrust of the writer’s sincerity. Yet, what she had heard so far did not explain the unhappiness she could see in her sister.

“While it is unlucky you did not have an opportunity to see your friends before they left the neighborhood, their leaving will not prevent Mr. Bingley from returning to Netherfield. In that case, the absence of your friends will be offset later by the greater happiness you will have as sisters.”

To this, Jane shook her head. “Caroline decidedly says none of their party will return into Hertfordshire this winter. She says her brother’s business in London will take more than the three or four days he imagined, and since he does not plan to return, she and her sister decided to follow him immediately so he would not be left alone without the company of family. She goes on to wish my Christmas in Hertfordshire would be joyous, and I would have so many beaux I would not feel the loss of their presence.”

Jane choked back a sob. “Do you not see, Lizzy? Caroline means Mr. Bingley will not come back this winter.”

“It is only evident Miss Bingley does not mean he should.”

“Why do you think so? It must be his decision since he is his own master. But there is more. Let me read you the most painful parts for me. I will keep nothing from you.”

Elizabeth could hear the pain in Jane’s voice as she read Caroline’s words singing the praises of Miss Georgiana Darcy and their hope that the affection she and Louisa held for Georgiana would soon be heightened by the three of them being sisters. She went on to talk of her brother’s great admiration for Georgiana, which she expected to deepen into a more serious association.

“Listen to what Caroline says: ‘With all these circumstances to favor an attachment, and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?’

“What think you of this sentence, my dear Lizzy?” Jane said as she finished it. “Is it not clear enough? Does it not expressly declare Caroline neither expects nor wishes me to be her sister? That she is perfectly convinced of her brother’s indifference and, suspecting the nature of my feelings for him, means to most kindly put me on my guard? Can there be any other opinion on the subject?”

“Yes, there can, for mine is totally different. Dearest Jane, Miss Bingley knows her brother is in love with you while she and her sister wish him to marry Miss Darcy. As a result, the two of them followed their brother to town in the hope of keeping him there. Then she wrote you this despicable note to persuade you that he does not care about you.”

Jane shook her head.

“Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me,” Elizabeth said urgently. “No one who has ever seen you and Mr. Bingley together can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. She is not such a simpleton. Could she have seen half as much love from Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have already ordered her wedding clothes.”

Jane looked doubtful since she had not seen Miss Bingley’s attentions to Darcy through the same eyes as Elizabeth.

“We are not rich enough or grand enough for her and her sister’s aspirations to rise in society, so Miss Bingley is anxious to attach Miss Darcy to her brother because it will aid in her goal of achieving a similar attachment for herself with Mr. Darcy. There is certainly some ingenuity in her plan since one marriage might well engender another.

“But you must not believe Miss Bingley when she tells you her brother greatly admires Miss Darcy since he never would have shown you the attentions I witnessed on Tuesday were it true. Miss Bingley is possibly mistaken in everything she writes, but it is far more likely she wrote with the object of deceiving you.”

“If we thought alike of Miss Bingley,” Jane replied, “what you say would make me feel quite easy. But your charges are not just. Caroline is incapable of willfully deceiving anyone. I simply hope she is deceived herself.”

“Believe that if you will not believe me. Believe her to be deceived, by all means. Now you have cleared your friend of my suspicions and must fret no longer.”

“But, my dear sister, can I be happy in accepting a man whose sisters and friends all wish him to marry elsewhere?”

“You must decide for yourself. If you find the misery of disobliging his two sisters too distressing in comparison to the happiness of being his wife, then I advise you to refuse him.”

Jane had to smile slightly at this comment. “You know better, Lizzy. I would be grieved at their disapprobation, but I could not hesitate.”

“I did not think you would.”

“But what if he returns no more this winter? If he does not return until summer? A thousand things may arise in six months!”

Elizabeth heaped scorn on the very idea of his returning no more. It appeared to be yet another of Caroline’s wishes. And how could such wishes influence a young man so independent and master of his own house and fortune?

She made this point as forcibly as possible and soon had the pleasure of seeing the growth of hope for Bingley’s return to Netherfield, which would answer every wish of Jane’s heart.

They were undecided on how much to tell their mother since they knew learning of the departure from Netherfield would alarm her. Since they could reach no decision, they decided simply to wait for further developments if they were to occur.

***

At twilight, Jane and Elizabeth’s worries about what to tell their mother were put to rest by the arrival of Mr. Darcy at Longbourn. Elizabeth easily recognized his figure as he turned his horse up the drive, and she quietly left the room and climbed the stairs to her chamber.

Darcy found all the ladies save Elizabeth in the parlor and greeted them in his usual, reserved fashion.

Turning to Jane, he said, “Mr. Bingley sent me a note today, asking me to inform you of his planned return to Netherfield in four or five days, which is longer than he had anticipated. My own party, including my sister and Major McDunn, will be returning to town before then since McDunn and I have business associated with our several enterprises.”

Mrs. Bennet received the news with a frown. She had not realized Bingley would be gone so long, but what concerned her more was Darcy’s sudden and unexpected departure. How would he make his declarations to Elizabeth if he did not return?

But Darcy saw the relief on Miss Bennet’s face, and he knew she had likely received some kind of distressing news, probably from Caroline Bingley.

I was right, Darcy thought to himself. Bingley’s note did not mention it, but it would be just like Caroline to try to throw Miss Bennet into despair by sending a nice, little, vicious note of some kind.

He was not surprised at Elizabeth’s absence. In light of their encounter, he had anticipated she would remove herself rather than meet him. From the intensity of her reaction and the totally unexpected passion she had revealed, there had been a remote possibility she might not truly comprehend the impossibility of a connection between them and could thus engage in a hopeless pursuit embarrassing to all parties.

He turned to Jane. “Please convey to your sister my most sincere felicitations and all hope she will have a joyous Christmas season—as I hope for all of your family. Farewell to you all, ladies.”

And so he departed, suddenly and precipitously, leaving Mrs. Bennet with an open mouth. She had been so involved with worrying about Elizabeth, she had not even had time to tell him of Mary’s impending marriage.

From the window of her room, Elizabeth watched the tall, handsome man mount his horse, and both her eyes and her heart followed his every movement. The grace and muscular power inherent in his performance of such a familiar action spoke to those parts of her that vainly loved and desired this unattainable man.

She was completely aware she might never see Darcy again, and she tried to memorize his every aspect as though it had to last her a lifetime. As he turned down the drive, she felt a stab of pain at how his head made not even the slightest movement to glance up at her window. It was apparent he was determined to abide by her parting words—that they should not meet again.

Her fingertips went to her cheek, only to find fresh tears there. At the moment, she was only cognizant of the desperate yearning in her heart for what could never be, and her tears became rasping sobs as her shoulders heaved with the grief derived from losing something incredibly dear.

Elizabeth felt a sudden impulse to dispel all propriety, to run down the stairs of Longbourn, and chase Darcy down the drive. Her words echoed in her mind as she called out to him, desperately begging him to pull her up behind him on his horse and carry her away to an unknown future with no regard for consequences.

But Elizabeth Bennet was a woman of her time, and thus, she did nothing. She could only watch as Darcy turned at the end of the drive and disappeared before she threw herself onto her bed and buried her head in her pillow.

What am I going to do? she wondered, her fist in her mouth to quell the sound of her sobs. How shall I ever get by?

***

Elizabeth was thankful it was almost a half-hour before she heard Jane’s footsteps in the hall, allowing her the time to get her emotions under regulation and to repair the evidence of her tears.

And Jane’s news did much to cheer her when Elizabeth learned the reason for Darcy’s visit.

“Did I not say as much, Jane?” Elizabeth said, forcing a laugh she believed to be unaffected. “I said Mr. Bingley would not be kept from Netherfield by his sisters’ departure! Do you not see his supposed attraction to Miss Darcy was entirely contrived by Caroline Bingley? I sat with Miss Darcy once when you were sick, and I discerned nothing on her part but polite attentiveness to Mr. Bingley.”

“Yes, you must be right. This is very difficult for me to understand, but Caroline must have written her note to deceive me. It is I who was deceived in thinking her a true friend.”

“There you see Miss Bingley’s skill in her polite and sophisticated ability to slip the knife of deceit into the back of another. No matter how attentive she and her sister were to you, I never trusted them—not at all. But let us not dwell on this! When she sees the failure of her efforts, I have no doubt her supposed friendship will make a sudden reappearance!”

“You are likely correct.” Jane was more than a little unhappy at being forced to this admission.

“That is because I love the sweetest and most unaffected sister.”

“And I love you, Lizzy,” Jane said then suddenly stepped forward and clasped Elizabeth’s arms when her sister would have turned away. “But I have to ask why your eyes are so red? Have you been crying on my behalf?”

Elizabeth made no response, and Jane went on. “That is the reason, is it not? You were distressed at the possibility of Bingley not returning to Netherfield, just as you always think of the happiness of others before your own.”

Jane did not get the response she expected since her sister would not meet her eyes and instead cast them downward.

“And why did you slip out of the room when Mr. Darcy arrived?” Jane asked slowly, her eyes on her sister. “I wondered that he did not ask for you. Instead, he sent his good wishes, but the words seemed more like a farewell than the usual pleasantry. And now I find you have been crying, and you never cry!”

Elizabeth hugged herself and turned to the window and the darkness beyond, which seemed to mirror the darkness she felt inside. At length, she said, “It was a farewell, Jane. I shall not see him again.”

“But how can it be?” Jane cried. “I saw the two of you at the ball, and my heart swelled for joy at how at ease both of you seemed, how well you appeared to be getting on. What has happened?”

To this, Elizabeth made no response at first. When she finally turned around, Jane was shocked to see tears flowing down her sister’s face.

“Whatever is the matter, Lizzy? What has distressed you so? Oh, now all my joy at Mr. Darcy’s news is gone!”

Elizabeth met her sister’s eyes. “I love him, Jane.”

At these shattering words, Jane simply collapsed onto the bed. “Mr. Darcy?” she said in shock. “You love Mr. Darcy?”

Elizabeth nodded, and her voice broke. “I do, Jane. I think I love him more than life itself.”

“How can this be?” Jane said in complete disbelief. “I know he danced with you, and I have heard the whispers our neighbors have made about you, but I never saw any indication of a particular regard!”

Elizabeth came over and sat beside her, taking one of her hands in both of hers and clasping it to her chest. “It just…happened. And I am ashamed to tell you, it did not even seem like love. Not at first. Not from the first night.”

“At the assembly?”

Elizabeth nodded. “From the first time I laid eyes on him. I felt a sudden surge of a most shocking and inexplicable attraction. It spread through my whole body. It was…disturbing.”

“Not love? I do not understand, Lizzy.”

“It was passion, Jane. The passion a woman feels for a man. The passion a wife feels for her wedded husband, which is supposed to be consummated in the marriage bed.

“I did not understand my feelings, at first. They were new and foreign—nothing I ever imagined. I tried to shove them away, pretend they did not exist, but I could not. They went too deep and…and they affected me in ways I could not explain.”

Jane could only stare at her dear sister as Elizabeth searched for words.

“Every time I met Mr. Darcy, every time our fingers touched when we danced, I could feel the attraction he had for me, and I was lost. He invaded my dreams—but I did not realize at first that it was Mr. Darcy who came into my bedroom in my dreams. Only slowly did I connect those dreams with him. And I was equally slow to put a name to what I felt—what had taken possession of me.”

Elizabeth went silent, staring into the night, until Jane asked softly, “And that was…?”

“It was passion, dear sister—physical passion for a man when I had no intimation such an attraction even existed.”

“Nor do I,” Jane said slowly.

“It is more than simple passion now, Jane. Much more. I knew it as soon as we danced together. I felt something I never imagined to feel with this man; I felt as though I belonged in his arms. And I am certain he felt something similar—an acceptance of me as a woman.”

Elizabeth was silent for a moment before going on. “But make no mistake, Jane. My passion for Mr. Darcy was real—is real. Do you remember how our mother warned of the misfortune of the marriage bed? And how we should just lie still since it would soon be over?”

Jane nodded, and Elizabeth continued. “Well, it seems some women—not our mother, I am sure—must take pleasure in the carnal side of marriage. They must desire it. As I desire it.”

Jane’s lack of understanding was clear to see, but she asked no questions, so Elizabeth could only continue. “Imagine how I felt after the assembly with unaccountable longings plaguing me. I could come to no other conclusion than I was wanton—a harlot in fact. A woman who seeks physical intimacy for her own gratification.”

“You cannot be wanton, Lizzy.”

“What other conclusion could I reach? I had no one to advise me. I thought once or twice that Aunt Gardiner might be able to help me since she is so much more levelheaded and sensible than our mother. But we see her so seldom.”

“But you keep talking about feeling passion for Mr. Darcy—”

Elizabeth nodded. “I wanted to feel his touch. And I wanted to touch him. It is shameful, I know, but I wanted it then, and I want it still.”

Elizabeth rose from the bed and went back to look out the window. “But as I said, now there is more. I love Mr. Darcy, as well as desire him, even though we both know I did not like him when I first met him. He had so many disagreeable traits—pride, haughtiness, selfishness, and a disdain for others. He still has those traits. It is the side of himself he shows the world.”

Elizabeth began to pace the room. “And with the realization of my feelings, something inside me changed since I saw the side of him you spoke of—how he is pleasant and amiable with those he knows well. He showed that side to me at the ball, and my joy overflowed when we went into supper with the way he smiled and talked easily with me. He wanted to be with me the way I wanted to be with him. He still has those faults I first saw, but he is more than those faults.”

Elizabeth stopped and looked out the window for a time before she spoke again. “The simple fact is: I love this very complicated man, and I want more than just passion from him. I want to be with him always. I want to love him and make him feel loved. I want him to make love to me, I want to bear his children and raise them. Most of all, I want to be his companion and grow old with him.”

She turned around, and Jane saw her tears had returned. “And it shall never be, Jane. Not ever. I saw everything change in just a few minutes. We were conversing as we never had before, and Mr. Darcy was smiling and laughing with a warmth I had never seen. I am convinced, at that moment, that he was entertaining the possibility I might bring him happiness.

“Then my mother destroyed everything,” she said, with flat, cold finality.

“How?”

“As she usually does—by her words. You were too far away to hear, but she crowed aloud about her good fortune. She would soon have one daughter well settled in Derbyshire and another at Netherfield Park. And the other girls would then be in company with other rich men. She did not say these things quietly, but announced them to all about her with Mr. Darcy and me sitting less than ten feet away!”

Jane closed her eyes in shared pain.

“Everything changed. Suddenly, Mr. Darcy was his haughty, prideful self, and all my dreams were less than mist—gone as though they never existed. Mr. Darcy reverted to the man I first met, a man of his class, a man who will choose a wife who can bring fortune or station to the marriage. I can bring nothing.”

“But Bingley—”

“—is not Darcy. Those things matter little to him. His fortune was earned in trade by his father. While our own father’s fortune may not match his, our family has been part of the gentry for generations. But Darcy is different. That is why he only gave a disguised farewell tonight. We agreed to as much at Netherfield.”

Elizabeth could say no more for she could not hold back her sobs any longer. Jane opened her arms to her, embracing her fiercely and pulling her down to the bed beside her while her brave and independent sister wept uncontrollably for a love that could never be.

Jane said nothing, for there was nothing to say. She just held Elizabeth close until her poor sister finally cried herself to sleep.

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About Perilous Siege

What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice?

When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world.

Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

C.P. Odom

By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the  Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics. I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.

I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing.  One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published:  A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015).  My fourth novel, Perilous Siege, was recently published in the second quarter of 2019.

I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats.  My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).

Connect with C.P. Odom: C.P. Odom’s Facebook Page | C.P. Odom’s Amazon Page | C.P. Odom’s Goodreads Page | C.P. Odom’s Meryton Press Page

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Perilous Siege. The giveaway runs until midnight, April 21, 2019. You must use this Rafflecopter link to enter. Good luck!

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.

One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

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April 8 / My Jane Austen Book Club / Guest Post

April 10 / My Vices and Weaknesses / Book Excerpt

April 12 / Austenesque Reviews / Character Interview

April 13 / Just Jane 1813 / Meet C.P. Odom

April 14 / Margie’s Must Reads / Book Review

April 15 / Babblings of a Bookworm / Book Excerpt

April 16 / From Pemberley to Milton / Vignette

April 17 / Diary of an Eccentric / Book Excerpt

April 18 / More Agreeably Engaged / Guest Post

A big thanks to C.P. Odom for being my guest today. Congratulations on your new book!

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