Monday, 17 September 2018

Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon - Excerpt and Giveaway

Book Cover: Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon Today I'm welcoming Lizzy Brandon to the blog for the first time. Lizzy is the author of Folly and Forgiveness, and has come here with her latest Pride & Prejudice variation, Recognizing Love. Let me share the blurb with you first, and then we'll hand over to Lizzy for an excerpt from the book. Lizzy has also brought an international giveaway with her!

Book Description

Secrets will surface...

Accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal and allowing him to assume a love she does not yet feel pains Miss Elizabeth Bennet but she is certain she can love him…in time. After all of the miseries he endured to salvage her youngest sister’s reputation, how could she not come to love such a man?

Unfortunately, Lady Catherine arrives, bringing even thornier complications. With the many objections Darcy’s family will have regarding his marriage to the daughter of an unremarkable country squire, what more trouble can Lady Catherine stir up should she learn Elizabeth’s secret?

In this Pride and Prejudice romance variation, what will Mr. Darcy do when he learns his beloved has accepted him although her heart is not engaged?

Guest Post from Lizzy Brandon

Late last spring, I had just finished reading a series of books where Mr. Bennet died and realized I had never seen one where Mrs. Bennet died (unless most of the family was killed off with her). Mr. Bennet's death would cause immediate problems for the family but how would their lives change if Mrs. Bennet died? 

Book Cover: Folly and Forgiveness by Lizzy Brandon
My first book, Folly and Forgiveness, was an angst fest as I killed off Mrs. Bennet early, after she argues with Elizabeth about accepting Mr. Collins's proposal. Blaming herself, Elizabeth is guilt ridden and mourning as she learns how wrong she was about Mr. Darcy. I didn't have a planned destination when I started, I just wanted to see how events and characters would change if Mrs. Bennet was no longer there. I liked exploring Elizabeth's emotional growth through the book, but it was heavy.

For Recognizing Love, I started the story with the meeting at Pemberley after Elizabeth has already learned most of her lessons.  I enjoyed writing a lighter story this time where Elizabeth is still conflicted about her feelings but already views Mr. Darcy favorably and really wants to love him.  I most enjoyed writing a Mr. Darcy not only in love, but so confident he is living his own happily-ever-after that he feels free to say what is in his heart. 

Today’s excerpt takes place after Darcy and Elizabeth are engaged.  He and Bingley have just arrived in Hertfordshire and are joining the Bennets for dinner at Longbourn.

Excerpt from Recognizing Love

Book Cover: Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon
Darcy had not partaken of a meal at Longbourn before but he suspected Mrs. Bennet had set her best table for him. While he would have rather sat next to Elizabeth, he was content to have her directly across from him where he could look upon her face. He could only be grateful they sat next to Mr. Bennet instead of his wife, leaving that pleasure to Bingley and Miss Bennet.

As Mrs. Bennet and Miss Kitty discussed a recent call upon Lady Lucas, taking great care to describe her gown, Mr. Bennet shook his head before turned to Darcy and muttering, “Welcome to the family.” The gentlemen shared a look as Elizabeth covered a laugh with her napkin. Darcy had been largely ignoring them, a skill he imagined Mr. Bennet had mastered long ago.

Elizabeth rejoined the ladies’ conversation, laughing at some comment, and Darcy marveled at the complete change in expression that came over her whenever she did so. This picture was how he envisioned her when they were apart, face glowing with diversion, and her eyes a bit saucy. The dining room of Pemberley would be a lively place from the day he brought her home. Far too often it was a quiet room where he and Georgiana might discuss events of the day. In the future he expected laughter to become commonplace.

“Mr. Darcy? Are you woolgathering?” she asked and finally broke his reverie.

“My apologies. I suppose I was. Forgive my inattention.”

“And what weighty thoughts consume you so?”

“You are mistaken. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.” The eyes in question glowed in response.

Mr. Bennet chuckled, reminding Darcy they were not without an audience. He wished, not for the first time since they sat down, that she was beside him so he could speak words only she might hear. Soon enough.

Talk turned to Pemberley and Bingley described his latest visit with his sisters.

“I cannot say that I was surprised when I received Darcy’s letter informing me of his engagement and intention to come to Hertfordshire. We had all noticed a change in him after Miss Elizabeth’s visit.”

Mrs. Bennet sighed dramatically. “And never did any of us have an idea of his attachment while he was here.”

“How did Miss Bingley respond?” Miss Kitty asked with a wicked grin, and her sisters all sent her quelling glares.

“They do enjoy being the first to have any on dit,” Bingley said quickly as he fidgeted with his napkin.

“We are advised to accept God’s will for our lives and not covet what is outside our reach,” Miss Mary said with her usual solemnity. “Disappointment may be inevitable, but one can find comfort by adhering to one’s duty.”

“Thank you, Mary,” Mr. Bennet said with a sigh as an awkward silence descended upon the group. Mrs. Bennet was not one to allow silence to reign at her table for long.

“Lizzy has ever been a dutiful child,” she said to Darcy. Unable to think of a response, he looked to Elizabeth who was staring at her mother in abject incredulity.

“Come now Mrs. Bennet, that is hardly true,” Mr. Bennet said with a sardonic chuckle, “and you must be glad she does not heed all your instruction, else she would now be Mrs. Collins.” Elizabeth frowned at her father.

“Never would I have done so had I any idea she had caught the eye of someone better,” Mrs. Bennet cried out in alarm.

“When was this?” Darcy asked.

“She did not tell you?” Miss Kitty asked. “’Twas the day after the Netherfield ball. Lizzy flatly denied him but he persisted until she had to leave the room. Then Mamma demanded she go back and accept him.”

“That is enough, Kitty,” Elizabeth said as her color rose.

Darcy’s horror must have been evident as Elizabeth quickly reassured him, “I tried to make my refusal as plainly and gently as I could, but Mr. Collins is not a man of great comprehension.”

“Nor would I have ever allowed that buffoon to marry you. Let that serve as a lesson for your matchmaking, Mrs. Bennet. At least you need never fear, Mr. Darcy. Lizzy is well able to refuse a proposal she does not desire.”

Elizabeth’s pleading look to her father and the twinkle in Mr. Bennet’s eye told Darcy that her father knew of his first proposal. That he shared company with Mr. Collins in being a recipient of her refusal was mortifying. That she had been kinder in her refusal of Mr. Collins allowed humor to finally break through his horror.

He looked to Elizabeth who appeared mortified by the conversation. “Yes, Elizabeth knows her own mind and would not be persuaded into accepting less than is her due.” He sent her a teasing grin as she met his gaze. “I must be grateful she accepted me.” Elizabeth visibly eased and grinned back.

“As if Lizzy would ever dare refuse an offer from you,” Mrs. Bennet said with a laugh.

Elizabeth smirked at her mother’s words and sent him a challenging look, seeming to dare him to share their tale. He blinked and feigned ignorance, an expression he had seen Elizabeth use often enough. She shook her head playfully as she laughed once more into her napkin.

They did not need words to converse after all.

* * *

About the Author

Author Lizzy Brandon
Lizzy Brandon once attempted to switch sections of a Brit Lit course after seeing Pride and Prejudice on the reading list.  How could a book with such a boring title possibly compete with Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or Frankenstein?  Luckily, her request was denied and she was introduced to Jane Austen’s amazing world of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Years later, Lizzy was thrilled to discover the world of Pride and Prejudice sequels and variations where her favorite characters could live on with countless adventures.  After enjoying reading variations for years, she decided to try writing her own. 

Giveaway Time!

Book Cover: Recognizing Love by Lizzy Brandon
Lizzy is giving away 3 paperback copies of the book and 3 $10 Amazon gift cards, open to international entrants. Winners will need to provide email or physical address to receive prize. Please use the rafflecopter to enter.

But what if such games of chance are not for you, and you need to be assured of having the book ASAP? Well, luckily for you, the book is available to buy now:

Blog Tour Schedule: September 13-28

From Pemberley to Milton:   September 13
Jane Austen Book Club:   September 15
Babblings of a Bookworm:   September 17  - you are here!
So Little Time:   September 20
My Love for Jane Austen:   September 22
Diary of an Eccentric:   September 24
Austenesque Reviews:   September 26
More Agreeably Engaged:   September 28

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  1. I enjoyed Lizzy Brandon's first book, and this new book sounds just as promising. Oh, if only Mrs. Bennet knew that Lizzy refused Mr. Darcy's first proposal! Thank you for the excerpt and giveaways.

    1. I've often thought that myself, Eva, I dread to think of her probable reaction! Lucky for Lizzy that her mother didn't know!

  2. I did enjoy Folly and Forgiveness and look forward to this one. I liked this excerpt and that Darcy shows a sense of humour. Luckily Mrs Bennet doesn't know of Elizabeth's prior refusal or she would be needing her salts!

  3. I recently bought 'Folly and Forgiveness' but haven't had very much time to read lately! I am looking forward to reading it though. I must say that I loved this excerpt and the teasing banter and looks that were going on. I have so much to 'catch up' on but 'winter is coming' so hopefully will have lots of time then!!! Thank you for such a generous giveaway!

  4. Thanks Ceri for hosting today and thanks to our author for the generous give away and the excerpt. I have the first book and am looking forward to reading it. This second one sounds interesting too. That exchange at the table with Mr. Bennet was a hoot. He seemed to be enjoying himself and the interactions between D&E.

  5. I also have a copy of Folly and Forgiveness that is, as yet, unread. From what Lizzy has sais above, it certainly sounds to be a different take on the story.

    Yet another amazing excerpt for us to savour! I love the way Darcy and Elizabeth are learning to communicate without speaking. It's definitely a sign they're meant to be together.

    Many thanks for the giveaway.

  6. Thanks for sharing this delightful scene, Lizzy. I wish Georgiana would come to Longbourn and get to know her new family. It would surely help her to bond with girls of a similar age and get her to be more outgoing and sociable.


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