Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes, A WW1 Pride & Prejudice Variation
Escape to the era of Downton Abbey and experience all the drama of World War 1 alongside literature’s iconic Elizabeth Bennet & Fitzwilliam Darcy. You’ll watch their tender love unfold as they learn to work together and reconcile their differences amidst the carnage of war.
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1916. World War I has turned French chateaux into bloody field hospitals, British gentlemen into lice-infested soldiers, and left Elizabeth Bennet’s life in tatters.
Her father is dead and her home destroyed. Never again will Elizabeth depend on a man to secure her future!
But when an opportunity arises to advance her dreams of becoming a doctor, she is elated—until he arrives....
Heartbroken. Devastated. Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy is left rejected by the woman he loved and reeling from the slaughter of his men on the battlefield. “Enough!” Darcy vows. “No more sentimental attachments!”
But arriving at a field hospital to pursue a covert investigation, Darcy discovers his beloved Elizabeth training with a dashing American doctor and embroiled in an espionage conspiracy.
With only a few months to expose the plot, Darcy is forced to grapple with his feelings for Elizabeth while uncovering the truth. Is she indeed innocent? Darcy can only hope….
•Cameo appearance by John Thornton (of Gaskill’s North & South).
•Rated PG. Clean romance, mild language, some war scenes.
• Darcy’s Hope has a happy ending but will continue in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, coming in February 2017. In the sequel, readers will experience the full resolution of the mystery, and our beloved couple’s love will face a new, tragic test.
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A week later Elizabeth quickened her pace to the overlook, anxious to read the letter from Jane. She settled in her favourite spot, leaning against a sprawling oak with a magnificent view of the canal below. Lieutenant Bingley had been back in Boulogne for nearly a week, so surely there would be news.
Scanning the letter Elizabeth squealed in delight. A wedding—next week! And Jane begged that she come. So soon? Oh, but did Charles have to ask Darcy to stand up with him? Elizabeth grunted. Could she not go anywhere and be away from the man? Even the wedding date was chosen to coincide with the captain’s meeting in Boulogne to ensure his presence. Why in the world would Charles, who must have plenty of friends, pick sour-grapes Darcy?
Could The Yank be right? Could the captain’s time in the trenches and his losses at the Somme have profoundly affected him? She often heard horror stories of things soldiers had seen and experienced that left them numb. She huffed under her breath. Certainly that was not the case with Captain Darcy. He was stone cold by nature with an impenetrable heart—no—he told her once he loved her. And that first day she nursed him, he kindly consoled her about her mother and sister. There must be something beating in that broad chest of his. What difference did it make? She shook off the thoughts as she refolded Jane’s letter. Darcy had ruined her family, and she wanted nothing to do with him.
She raised her chin and gazed over the distant meadow. The morning sun shimmering off the water in canal below and the quaint windmill on the adjacent rise beckoned her. She had never ventured down the face of the bluff to the canal, but she had plenty of time today, and the May weather was glorious.
Inching her way down, she steadied herself on rocks and branches protruding here and there, nearly losing her balance on the loose embankment. Finally reaching the bottom, she started towards the waterway. Rounding a knoll, she squinted into the sun at a tall silhouette of a Tommy peering down the canal through field glasses. Whatever he saw must have been intriguing, as he surveyed the horizon for quite some time. Nearing him, she opened her mouth to call out a greeting when a stick snapped under her foot. In one deft motion, the soldier whirled around and levelled his revolver at her.
“Don’t shoot!” Elizabeth cried, pleading her hands in surrender. It was Captain Darcy.
“What are you doing here?” he barked, lowering the firearm and glaring at her with flashing eyes of steel.
Her heart pounding, she bit back, “Perhaps I could ask the same of you.”
“That is not the point.” He reached out and grabbed her arm above the elbow, nearly shaking it in rage. “A lady has no business out here alone. There are men roaming about who have no thought for their future and would be only too happy to ravage an attractive woman such as yourself.”
She jerked her arm away. “I appreciate your concern, but I am quite capable of looking after myself. But it’s nice to know you now consider me attractive as there was a time I wasn’t handsome enough to tempt you.”
His face hardened. “If you were this obstinate towards your father’s authority, it is no wonder he gave up on your sisters and retreated to his stud—”
His eyes widened in shocked contrition, and his manner softened. “Forgive me. That was uncalled for and unkind. Please...trust me in this.”
“Trust you? You are asking me to trust you? After your reprehensible treatment of Lieutenant Wickham and your calculated separation of Charles from Jane, I have no reason to trust you.”
Darcy clenched his fist. “Perhaps had you read my letter explaining myself, you might think differently.”
“Letter? What letter?”
“The one I sent to Longbourn from London after our...encounter at the Hunsford parsonage. It detailed my dealings with Wickham and your sister. I suppose you were too prejudiced against me to even open it.”
She opened her mouth, then shut it, dumbfounded. Was it possible he had an explanation? She stayed an extra two weeks with Charlotte after the captain’s departure, but surely had a letter arrived at Longbourn, it would have been left with her other correspondence. Wouldn’t it?
He released a defeated sigh and broke the silence. “Although I no longer adhere to my principle that my good opinion once lost is lost forever, I suppose I cannot fault you for abiding by it. Good day, Miss Bennet.” He turned on his heel and strode away.
Elizabeth stepped back, wilting as she released a breath. Why did every encounter with him leave her breathless and weak-kneed? The tension that radiated between them was unlike anything she’d experienced before. It was somehow entrancing—both repelling and tantalising at the same time.
She headed towards the chateau and shook off the thoughts, not wanting to think on it any more.
...it is no wonder your father gave up on your sisters and retreated... She winced at the grain of truth. But she wasn’t the obstinate one, her sisters were.
She hastened her pace, but his words crept through to her consciousness again. A lady has no business out here alone....
She huffed at his presumptuousness. What made him such an expert on everything?
She’d never seen anyone out here except the children who played with her stuffed dog, an occasional wagon on the road, or Sapper and his men at the cemetery. Under the captain’s authority, she’d already surrendered the dowager house and the annexe. She had no intention of following his every whim as if he were an omniscient god.
Besides, what was he doing out here gazing down the canal? Didn’t he go to the ward at the school every day?
Ah, our dear couple, always plagued by distrust and misunderstandings. But indeed what was Darcy doing at the canal? And why didn’t Elizabeth receive his letter? You’ll have to read the story to find out!
The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she’s hooked—on writing and World War I.
When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.
Her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s 2015 Picture This grand prize. Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.
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Blog Tour Bonus
If you buy the book during the course of the blog tour you can access ‘Lizzy’s Scrapbook’ for free. See the graphic below for details.
As Darcy’s Hope is set during the era of Downton Abbey and the tour is taking place in the run up to Christmas, Ginger is offering a giveaway along those lines. There are seven Christmas tree decorations to win for those of you in the continental US, and a Downton Abbey mug for UK entrants. To enter, use the Rafflecopter.
Thank you so much to Ginger for stopping by with news of her new book, and offering such a fun giveaway!