Here's the blurb:
What if Mr. Darcy’s proposal was too late?
Darcy has been bewitched by Elizabeth Bennet since he met her in Hertfordshire. He can no longer fight this overwhelming attraction and must admit he is hopelessly in love.
During Elizabeth’s visit to Kent she has been forced to endure the company of the difficult and disapproving Mr. Darcy, but she has enjoyed making the acquaintance of his affable cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.
Finally resolved, Darcy arrives at Hunsford Parsonage prepared to propose—only to discover that Elizabeth has just accepted a proposal from the Colonel, Darcy’s dearest friend in the world.
As he watches the couple prepare for a lifetime together, Darcy vows never to speak of what is in his heart. Elizabeth has reason to dislike Darcy, but finds that he haunts her thoughts and stirs her emotions in strange ways.
Can Darcy and Elizabeth find their happily ever after?
By the author of The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, an Amazon Regency Romance Bestseller.
Read on for Victoria's guest post about how she came to write Austenesque fiction, and details of a giveaway...
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I didn’t set out to become a Jane Austen fan fiction author. I’m sure many writers would say that, but I think my path into the genre is particularly unique (or backward). I have never written for JAFF websites and didn’t start with short stories. I just plunged in with publishing my first novel, The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth.
My background is in playwriting (I’m also a professional writer/editor of marketing materials, but that’s a different blog). I’ve written award-winning plays and I teach playwriting, but playwriting is a discouraging business. There are few theaters with the money or courage to produce new works, so my plays would literally be competing against Shakespeare or Ibsen or Mamet for a slot in some theater’s season. How would you like those odds? Nowadays you can produce a new book by yourself for a couple hundred bucks. A play takes the cooperation of many people, a lot of time, and thousands of dollars.
Several years ago I was a new mom without the time or energy to write new plays let alone do the marketing required to get theaters interested in producing them. While I was nursing my son I would watch movies, including some of my favorite Jane Austen adaptations. I became curious about sequels to Pride and Prejudice, so I took a few out from the library. Loved them and bought some more from Amazon. Loved them. Bought more….
After a while I started having plot ideas for my own Jane Austen variations. It took a long time for me to commit the first one to paper. Although I have tons of writing experience, novel writing required developing some different skills than playwriting. My first drafts were very heavy on dialogue and light on description and narrative since plays require that you provide almost all exposition, plot, character, etc. through dialogue.
After I grew used to it and took classes to hone my fiction skills, I really enjoyed the freedom offered by the description and narrative in novels. Plays are necessarily limited in terms of number of characters, length of time, and what you can show on stage. In novels, just about anything can happen. Someday I might even write Darcy and Elizabeth Go to Mars. :)
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Excerpt - Chapter Three
If someone wished to devise a personal hell specifically for him, Darcy mused, they could not possibly create a better one. He stood at the foot of the stairs to Colonel Fitzwilliam’s new London townhouse.
It was not as grand as Darcy House and the neighborhood was not quite as fashionable, but it was certainly elegant and spacious enough for a second son who, until three weeks ago, had no expectations of aspiring to any accommodations beyond a set of rooms to let.
Darcy regarded the house’s impressive neo-Classical façade. He had been anticipating this day with all the joy most people might give a raging fever. Now that he had arrived, somehow his legs had turned to lead and would not obey his instructions to climb the stairs.
Even a simple glance at the townhouse caused dread to curl into a tight knot in his stomach. How would he survive the evening with his dignity intact? No, that was beyond hope. How would he survive the evening at all?
His eyes closed briefly, blocking the view of the offending structure. Darcy had quit Rosings the morning after Fitzwilliam’s awful announcement. Fortunately, Darcy’s plans had already been fixed, so no one thought his swift departure odd, and Richard apparently perceived no strangeness in Darcy’s manner. Perhaps he should consider a career on the stage.
Richard’s letters had described how he had traveled to Hertfordshire, easily securing Mr. Bennet’s consent to the marriage, and then returned to Hunsford where he escorted Elizabeth to her uncle’s house in London. In the intervening weeks, Richard had sold his commission and visited his estate, attending to all the urgent matters involved in taking immediate possession. Meanwhile, Elizabeth and her aunt made preparations for a wedding scheduled for some three months hence.
Darcy had tortured himself by quite thoroughly perusing each of Richard’s letters, absorbing every detail of his cousin’s felicity with Elizabeth. Bizarrely, he almost preferred to hear news of her—even when it concerned her betrothal to another man—than to know nothing of her life, a true sign of how pathetic his obsession had become.
He had tried—oh, how he had tried!—to resume his former indifference toward Elizabeth. However, now he had confessed his feelings to himself, the genie refused to return into the lamp. In a moment of honesty, during one of many nights spent staring at his ceiling, Darcy admitted to himself that he had never been truly indifferent to Elizabeth. When he had thought himself indifferent, he had only been fooling himself.
Darcy could only count one slim success in his favor over the past weeks. Since returning from Hunsford, he had adroitly avoided both Richard and Elizabeth.
Richard was hosting a dinner so his family could be better acquainted with Elizabeth’s. Darcy could not escape the invitation.
He had considered inventing urgent business at Pemberley. Or a sudden illness. Despite Darcy’s abhorrence of disguise, these thoughts held alarming appeal, but finally, he had conceded the necessity of facing the happy couple eventually. Prolonging the inevitable smacked of cowardice—and he had faults enough without adding to them.
Darcy opened his eyes. He might as well be a French nobleman facing the guillotine. Perhaps cowardice had something to recommend it.
His stomach churned sickeningly, and his hands were wet with perspiration inside his gloves. But there was nothing for it. He must go. He willed his feet to climb the steps, one at a time, until he reached the porch, having failed to be struck down by a conveniently timed meteor.
His knock was answered almost immediately by a smartly dressed footman who took Darcy’s coat and ushered him into Richard’s study. Darcy saw no sign of other guests.
Richard glanced up with a smile when Darcy entered. He was seated behind a massive oaken desk, every inch the industrious landowner. “Darcy, good to see you!” He maneuvered around the desk to shake Darcy’s hand and gestured toward to a couple of elegant chairs near the fireplace. “Brandy?” Richard asked. Darcy nodded; spirits could only help him survive the night.
Richard poured two glasses from a crystal decanter and handed one to Darcy before taking his seat. “I am pleased you have the opportunity to see the house,” Richard remarked.
Was that a subtle suggestion that Darcy might have visited sooner? Well, Darcy supposed he would have visited more than once by now were it not for his cousin’s engagement. “It is an elegant residence,” Darcy said. “I hope you are pleased with it.”
“Oh, quite,” Fitzwilliam said. “It is nothing to Darcy House, of course, but far superior to my set of apartments.”
“Indeed.” Darcy admired the room’s large marble fireplace, happy to have a neutral topic of conversation.
“The furnishings are a bit out of fashion, but Elizabeth will have the opportunity to redecorate as she wishes.” Ah, so much for neutrality. Darcy suppressed his flinch at the mention of her name but finished his brandy in one gulp. “Where are the other guests?”
“I invited you here early. I wished to speak with you privately.”
“Oh?” Without waiting for Richard’s assistance, Darcy rose and visited the sideboard to refill his brandy glass.
Darcy froze in place. Could his cousin suspect something? He willed himself to act normally, but his hand shook, and he spilled a small puddle of brandy, cursing under his breath.
Richard peered over. “Never mind. The servants will clean.”
Having poured a generous amount of brandy on his second attempt, Darcy gulped, hoping to calm the coil of anxiety in his stomach. He sank back into his seat, regarding his cousin warily.
Richard was rubbing his hands together, gazing absentmindedly at the window. Darcy believed he had been successful in concealing his feelings for Elizabeth, but Richard knew him better than anyone.
Perhaps he had guessed.
Darcy stared into the fire. He could do nothing but admit the truth. There was nothing he could say in his own defense, even though such an admission might irreparably damage his friendship with Richard irreparably. Damn! How had they come to this pass? He valued Richard’s friendship above all others.
Finally, Richard sighed heavily. “Elizabeth believes you do not like her.”
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Oh poor Mr Darcy! I am assured that there is a happy ending, which is one of my requirements, so I've added it to my to be read list!
If you'd like to find out more about Victoria you can visit her website, Goodreads author page, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
'Pride & Proposals' is already out, and you can buy it in ebook or paperback, on Amazon (US), Barnes & Noble (US), Amazon (UK) and very likely lots of other places too!
Knowing how much we all love a giveaway Victoria has very kindly offered to give away two copies of 'Pride & Proposals', one paperback and one ebook. If you'd like to enter the giveaway, just comment below, making sure you leave a way for me to contact you should you be one of the lucky winners. I will draw the paperback winner first and then the ebook winner. If you'd only like to enter the draw for one format then please say so in your comment. The giveaway is open to international entrants, and entries will be accepted until the closing date of Tuesday 2 June 2015 - Please note this giveaway is now closed.