Follow by Email

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Cover: The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes
Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming a visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm, the lovely Joana Starnes, writer of some wonderful Austenesque books. Joana has previously written a sequel to 'Pride & Prejudice' (which I reviewed for Leatherbound Reviews), P&P variations that also featured characters from 'Persuasion' and 'Sense & Sensibility' and taken our dear couple to Cornwall. This time her muse has conjured up a potentially problematic scenario; What if Colonel Fitzwilliam decided to propose to Elizabeth in Hunsford, and was accepted? Eeeep! Joana has brought us an excerpt to enjoy and she's offering a giveaway of a kindle version of 'The Unthinkable Triangle' to an international commenter here. Read on for excerpt and giveaway details.


* * * * *

Thank you, Ceri, for welcoming me today at ‘Babblings of a Bookworm’ to talk about my newest book, ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’. I’m very happy to be back, it’s such a pleasure to be here!

I hope you won’t be very shocked to hear that my latest story is a rather angsty one. It springs from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ at the time of Elizabeth’s visit into Kent. But Mr. Darcy doesn’t get the chance to make his very ungentlemanlike proposal because Colonel Fitzwilliam has just beaten him to the post, offered marriage and has been accepted. We can all imagine Darcy’s feelings on the matter. But I know that angst isn’t your cup of tea, Ceri, so instead of an excerpt full of longing and anguish, I have chosen a happy one – or as happy as Mr. Darcy can be under the circumstances. 

The excerpt is from a further section in the book. Mr. Bingley, now married for some time to the lady of his dreams, goes house-hunting in Staffordshire, living his pregnant wife and her dearest sister to spend a few days in town. At Georgiana’s spur-of-the-moment invitation, they are not to stay at the Bingley townhouse – but at Darcy’s. And Mr. Darcy should be pleased about it, were it not for the fact that the love of his life is still engaged to his closest friend.

Dancing the Quadrille
Over several months, Darcy had sought to come to terms with his predicament, with little success. But now, for a few brief days, he has decided to take the moment as it comes and for once not think about what tomorrow might bring. Instead, he is determined to enjoy a most unusual morning, when Elizabeth offers to assist Georgiana in learning the quadrille in preparation for her coming-out– if he would be so kind to partner her. 

* * * *

They launched with gusto into the sprightly dance and bowed and turned and twirled around each other on strains of lively music as, in their seats behind them, Mrs. Annesley smiled benignly and Jane clapped the time, seemingly well-pleased with the morning’s entertainment. They were not the only ones. Georgiana beamed, clearly enjoying dancing practice more than ever and, with the warm glow of Elizabeth’s smiling countenance before him, Darcy abandoned himself wholeheartedly to the surreal experience.

It was equally surreal to find himself going against his very nature and simply take the moment as it came. Delight in the joy of it, the glory. Carpe Diem. No overburdening reflections, no efforts and no schemes.

She was delightful. Rosy-cheeked, eyes sparkling, she skipped and twirled and reached for his hands, to clasp them in her own as they promenaded to change places with the other couple. No gloves and no formality, just the sheer delight of music and light movement – the ‘now’ more precious than all the whys and wherefores.

“I am enjoying this a great deal better than our dance at Netherfield, if I may say so,” she observed, and not even that reference to the past had the power to distress him.

He smiled and replied truthfully, “So am I,” then he released her hand, to receive Georgiana’s for another set of figures.

“This reminds me of a pact I have made with myself,” Elizabeth resumed, as soon as she was returned to him.

“Which pact would that be?”

“To tell you something – as soon as I dared.”

“Now that is novel. As soon as you dared? I do not remember you having any qualms about speaking your mind.”

Elizabeth laughed.

“That was at the time when I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not.”

“Was there such a time?”

“You know very well there was!”

He did not, in truth, and the intelligence was rather unsettling. But it was unwise to pursue that thought, so he merely asked, “What did you wish to tell me?”

“That you should smile more often. It suits you,” she cast over her shoulder then, finishing her pirouette, she clasped his hand again for yet another promenade.

It was just as well that they were separated by the next figure, for there was no answer he could make to that, but when she returned her glance was almost wistful.

“Or have I overstepped the mark again and spoke too freely?” she asked ever so sweetly, and thus put paid to all his caution, so much so that his reply was frank and prompt.

“No – never. I hope you know you can tell me anything.”

The closing bars rang out and they bowed to each other and to the other couple, then turned to the musicians to clap in a well-deserved show of appreciation. The wisest choice by now might have been to withdraw, but Darcy could not bring himself to do so. Georgiana was enjoying this and the practice seemed eminently useful and– 

The deuce! Could he not be truthful, at least for once, at least to himself? He was enjoying this. A morning, a few dances. Where was the harm in something as innocent as that?

The harm, the angel at his right shoulder sternly warned, was in the conversation. In the openness she offered, as warmly and artlessly as Georgiana. To her, it must have been a friendly chat between future cousins. To him, it had all the bitter-sweetness of missed chances at courtship.

And what of it?’ the devil on the left shoulder shrugged. He was still harming no one. No one but himself. And he was a grown man, and could surely weather a fleeting spell of sunshine, as well as all the storms past and yet to come.

So when the dancing master announced the Lancers Quadrille, Darcy squared his shoulders and smiled to his sister then his partner, and offered Elizabeth his hand as the dance began. They practised the quadrille until exertion got the better of them all, and it was time to clamour for rest and lemonade and tea. Refreshment was duly brought and they partook of it still chatting freely in a satisfied review of their achievements. Then afterwards Monsieur Dupont suggested they might try a country dance or two, or perhaps a reel – although Mademoiselle D’Arcy, he added, would not be expected to dance the latter at Almack’s.

“I should have danced a reel with you at Netherfield,” Elizabeth laughed breathlessly, once they had returned to the floor to act upon Monsieur Dupont’s suggestion and were merrily skipping arm in arm to the tune of a very lively Scottish air. “I would have dearly loved to hear Miss Bingley enthuse on such skilful footwork. Though I cannot imagine what praise she could have possibly offered that would rank higher than ‘a man without fault’.”

“Surely you are not attempting to make me lose my footing by provoking me into laughter!”

“Perish the thought! Such an underhanded ploy would be its own punishment, and I should feel duly mortified if my dancing partner goes careering into the other couple.”

“Like some clergyman we know.”

They snickered like two errant children.

“It was very ungenerous of you to laugh at him!”

“I did not.”

“Fiddlesticks! I saw you smirking.”

“And you glowered at me for good measure.”

“If you remember my glowering so clearly, how can you in good conscience claim you did not laugh at him?”

“I did not strictly speaking laugh.”

“I never thought I would see the day when you would resort to sophistries.”

“I never thought I would see the day when you would speak in defence of the good vicar.”

“How is Mr. Collins, by the bye?”

“Truly? Are we to speak of Mr. Collins and his poultry in the middle of a Scottish reel?”

“Perhaps not. I find I have not the breath for such a fulsome conversation. We might return to him a little later.”

“Impossible. During the next dance I plan to speak of the size of the room, or the number of couples.”

Elizabeth smiled at that.

“Or perhaps books?” she willingly played the game.

“No, surely not. You can never talk of books in a ballroom.”

“Not with tight-lipped near-strangers, I cannot. But I am prepared to make exceptions for a close acquaintance.”

* * * *

I hope you enjoyed reading about a dancing scene where Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are not arguing, for a change. If you’d like to find out what happens next, please leave a comment to enter the giveaway of a Kindle copy, available internationally. 

Thanks for visiting and reading and good luck!

* * * * *

Oh my word, so bittersweet! Poor Darcy! Thank you, Joana, for sharing that excerpt with us, it's very compelling.

Giveaway Time!

Book Cover: The Unthinkable Triangle by Joana Starnes
As Joana has said, she is offering a giveaway of an ebook of 'The Unthinkable Triangle' to an international commenter here. Please comment by the end of the day on Tuesday 13 October to enter, and please leave some way for me to contact you should you be the winner.

35 comments:

  1. Darcy is playing with fire, will he be able to stay a gentleman

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by to read the excerpt, Susan! He is playing with fire, isn't he? But he must stay a gentleman, even if I bet he wished he didn't ;)
      Good luck in the giveaway, I hope you'll like the way the story unfolds.

      Delete
    2. That's the big question, isn't it, with all this temptation before him!

      Delete
  2. WOW! What an exciting excerpt!

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, lots of repressed feelings!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Caryl, I'm so glad you liked the excerpt! Thanks for taking part in the giveaway and good luck. I hope you'll like the rest of the story too.

      Delete
  3. I didn't know about this giveaway. The excerpt is great! I hope I am still on time and that I get lucky this time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just opened for entries today. Good luck with the giveaway.

      Delete
    2. I hope you will :) Thanks for visiting and for the kind words, I'm delighted that you liked the excerpt!

      Delete
  4. Loved the excerpt! My heart breaks for poor Mr. Darcy, though. I have every confidence that you'll make it all right in the end, Joana!

    Can't wait to read this one! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Pamela :) It MUST be alright in the end, mustn't it? JAFF wouldn't be JAFF otherwise ;) Good luck in the giveaway and thanks for putting your name in the hat.

      Delete
  5. Joana, it now appears you've got Darcy torturing himself! Poor man, he's surely going to suffer some sort of fallout from this dancing practice.

    angmardee (at) hotmail (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Poor Darcy! Let's hope that Joana took pity on him at some point :)

      Delete
    2. He's very good at that, Anji, with very little help from me ;)
      And oh, yes, there will be fallout, of a very unexpected kind. He's about to put his foot in it big time! Hope you'll soon see how, and that you'll enjoy it ;) Best of luck and thanks for the lovely comment.

      Delete
  6. What a fun excerpt! It's definitely bittersweet for Darcy to be able to spend time with Elizabeth but he's only going to be tormenting himself more! Can't wait to read this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the difficulty isn't it, it must be wonderful and awful at the same time to be spending time with her.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Dung Vu, I'm so glad you liked the excerpt. I think that was the greatest attraction in writing this story, the fact that Elizabeth's first engagement gives her full licence to spend a lot of time with Darcy who, miserable as he might be in the process, at least has the advantage that he doesn't have to go back to the Peninsula ;) I hope you'll like the story when you get to read it. Good luck!

      Delete
  7. Sounds good. I enjoyed reading Elizabeth and Darcy getting along with one another. He got a clue from her on what she thought of him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Must've been a bit of a shock to him, because of course, this Darcy would have been spared the Hunsford tongue-lashing!

      Delete
    2. Indeed, Ceri and Patty. No tongue-lashing, which probably was just as well, he's got enough to deal with as it is. But he needed to hear some home truths, one way or another, so that he doesn't stumble into some more ungentlemanlike comments yet again. Thanks for visiting, Patty, and I'm glad you liked seeing them getting on, and Elizabeth having a chance to learn what sort of man he really is, rather than be duped by Wickham. I really enjoyed writing a story where he plays no part, I find all that debacle with Lydia SO boring!

      Delete
  8. Patkf2007 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    I love the how the cover looks with the fan at the bottom!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for that!!!! I could tell you the whole long (and boring) story of the book cover, but I'm especially glad you like the fan. It's meant to suggest secrets being hidden behind it (OK, just Elizabeth's secrets, we can't expect Darcy to hide behind a fan ;) ). Also, it has little hearts in the design. And it has some personal meaning, because the fan was my grandmother's. Thanks so much for the comment, I loved it!

      Delete
  9. Oh poor Darcy. I can't wait to find out how the story unfolds. Thanks for giving us such a great excerpt and an opportunity to win. taneshia (Dot) washington (at)yahoo (dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked the excerpt, Taneshia! Thanks ever so much for the kind words and best of luck in the giveaway!

      Delete
  10. Ah, bittersweet for poor Darcy! But I trust Joana to bring things through to a satisfying conclusion.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huge thanks for the vote of confidence, Sophia, wonderful to hear that! I hope you'll be pleased with the conclusion, it HAS to be a HEA, JAFF wouldn't be JAFF otherwise! Thanks for coming along to read the excerpt and put your name in the hat. Good luck!

      Delete
  11. I read this story already and it is probably the most angst filled of any story I have read. I loved it. READ IT...you have to have time tho' - don't start it late in the day as you will get no sleep not being able to put it down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sheila, It's so kind of you to stop by and leave this lovely comment!! I'm over the moon that you liked the story so much, you really made my day! Big hugs :)

      Delete
  12. This was a heart wrenching story. Had to cry when Darcy finds out she's accepted Colonel Fitzwilliam. A little miffed at the Colonel. I think he had some knowledge about Darcy's feelings for Elizabeth. The angst was horrible. Cried for Darcy. You solved the dilemma nice and neat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your wonderful words, Carol. I hope the angst didn't upset you too much,as I do hope that on some level you knew there HAD to be a HEA for Darcy and Elizabeth, even if at times it seemed unlikely. I don't want to live in a world where they don't have that :) Have a lovely evening and thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Delete
  13. This was a heart wrenching story. Had to cry when Darcy finds out she's accepted Colonel Fitzwilliam. A little miffed at the Colonel. I think he had some knowledge about Darcy's feelings for Elizabeth. The angst was horrible. Cried for Darcy. You solved the dilemma nice and neat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your wonderful words, Carol. I hope the angst didn't upset you too much,as I do hope that on some level you knew there HAD to be a HEA for Darcy and Elizabeth, even if at times it seemed unlikely. I don't want to live in a world where they don't have that :) Have a lovely evening and thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Delete
  14. *Sighs* I must have this book!! :D

    newyorkgirl82(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the lovely comment, Maria, and for taking part in the giveaway! Great to see you here and best of luck :)

      Delete