Friday, 27 November 2020

A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder - Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

Today I’m happy to be welcoming Anngela Schroeder back to the blog with her upcoming Pride & Prejudice variation, A Life Worth Choosing. This book has such a great premise, melding my favourite book, P&P, with one of my favourite Christmas films, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Now, let’s look at the blurb and then hand over to Anngela for a guest post, excerpt and giveaway opportunity.


Book cover: A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder
Book Description

“You could not have made me the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it.” 

Reeling from the unexpected rejection of his proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy prepares to quit Hunsford for London but not before he defends himself against Elizabeth Bennet’s accusations. He cannot forgive her harsh words; her assertion Mr. Wickham would have made a better son has cut him to the core.

Suffering an accident while delivering the fated letter, he wakes to a world he does not know—and to those who do not recognize him. With a new life, a different  name, and a fresh chance at winning the woman he loves, Darcy must decide which is A Life Worth Choosing ––the past he remembers or a future he has created for himself.

* * *

Guest Post from Anngela Schroeder

Hi, Ceri!

Thank you so much for being a part of the blog tour for “A Life Worth Choosing”, my latest Pride and Prejudice variation. This one has been a ‘bumpy ride’ for me since the beginning. Well, not the beginning. The idea for this book happened like all my other ideas: ‘what if.’ However, it wasn’t my ‘what if,’ it was my husband’s.

I had lived over thirty-five years, and had never watched the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Three Christmases ago, my husband sat me down for a private screening with popcorn and red vines to share his love of the movie. Long before George Bailey was sitting in Martini’s bar, I had bought in. I asked my husband if he ever wondered how his life would be without me, which then led to a conversation about choices.

He is a history teacher and his greatest discussions with his students are about choices––had Archduke Ferdinand’s driver not made a wrong turn; had Adolph Hitler not been rejected from art school; had Abraham Lincoln not gone to the theater that night. All those choices were so simple, yet affected others without their control.

At the end of the movie, after the townspeople have poured into the Bailey household to show their love for George, my husband turned to me and said,

“You should write a story about that.”

“About what?”

“About ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ What if Mr. Darcy hadn’t been born? How would things be different for everyone?”

And that’s how it happened. It started as a Christmas short story, and then grew and grew. There were some CRAZY plot lines that had to be discarded because…well…people (including myself) would not have been happy with how some of our beloved characters’ lives turned out. I do want to stress, though that this is inspired by ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ It is not a remake. I didn’t want to just drop Darcy in the life of George Bailey. There are some obvious as well as subtle nods to the movie which I hope my readers pick up, but it is its own story entirely.

And the difficulties were rampant. I had to base character’s circumstances on the point where Darcy would have entered their lives, and not any earlier. For example, Darcy’s absence would not have made Mr. Bennet a wealthier landowner, Mrs. Bennet’s nerves less jittery, or affected if the man who had written Jane some ‘pretty poetry when she was but fifteen’ had proposed. The characters’ lives had to go on as normal until the moment Mr. Darcy would have stepped into their world. That was tricky!

However, with the ongoing help of my editor Christina Boyd of “The Quill Ink,” and many wonderful beta readers, this book took shape. I hope you enjoy this excerpt and look forward to your reviews when “A Life Worth Choosing” is available on Amazon in January of 2021. 


Excerpt from A Life Worth Choosing

Book cover: A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder

Darcy’s head was pounding, and he saw bits of light shooting across his closed eyelids. His limbs felt cumbersome, and his tongue thick. I do not remember drinking into such a stupor, but obviously, I attempted to drown my sorrows last evening. In vain, he slowly attempted to sit up and open his eyes.

“Oh,” he moaned, leaning back.

“He is conscious,” a voice said. “Please tell Mrs. Collins that he is awake.”

Elizabeth? He willed his eyes open, but much like his torpid limbs, they were heavy and refused to obey.

A presence came into the room, and a vaguely familiar voice asked, “Has he opened his eyes?”

“No,” Elizabeth said again. “But, he was moaning and attempting to move.”

“Continue with the cold cloths, Lizzy. I will have a servant fetch the apothecary.”

He heard footsteps retreat and felt a cool, wet cloth trace across his brow. “There you go. Just rest, and we will take care of you.”

What has happened that Elizabeth would be attending to me, and Lady Catherine would allow it? I must be dreaming!

However, he began to force his eyes open and discovered he was not dreaming. As the woman before him came into focus, he could see she was, in fact, Elizabeth Bennet, but he was not in his room. No, he somehow recalled that this furniture had come from Rosings years previous when Lady Catherine had chosen to redecorate her small sitting room. The faded draperies hung limply at the window, and the threadbare cushions rested on the chair by the parlor door.

“Am…am I at the parsonage?” he asked, his voice cracking.

“Oh, you speak! Yes, you are at the parsonage, and I am so grateful you have awoken. Allow me to get you some water.” She stood and retrieved a glass from the pitcher on the sideboard.

He could scarce believe— This was Elizabeth, and her kindness soothed him. This was not the look she gave him last night after so cruelly rejecting his proposal or this morning when taking his letter. And his heart swelled with hope.

With her assistance, he satiated his thirst. “Thank you, Miss Bennet. How have I come to be here?” He allowed his eyes to meet hers and was surprised at her look of confusion. “Miss Bennet?”

“How…how do you know my name?”

“Excuse me?” He reached up and touched his head, which began to throb anew.

“It is only…We have never…”

At that moment, a maid entered. “Miss Bennet, Mrs. Collins has asked if the gentleman is hungry.”

Elizabeth turned back, carefully eyeing him. “Would you care for some nourishment, sir?”

“I thank you, no. But, if you could have both the Colonel and Dr. Wiley summoned?” As the servant left, Darcy grimaced attempting to shift his weight and maintain composure. “Where is my horse?”

“He is at Rosings.

“Excellent.” Although his head throbbed, he was still surprised at Elizabeth’s lack of conversation. “Shall Mrs. Collins join us?”

She still stared at him in wonder, but nodded an affirmation, not making a sound. “Please excuse me. It is just that…”

At that moment, in walked Jane Bennet followed by both a maid and a gentlemanly looking man. “You are awake. I am so pleased you are recovering. This is Mr. Clarence, the apothecary. He has been waiting for you to regain your senses. Elise, inform Cook we will have tea once the examination is concluded. How are you feeling, sir?” she asked, turning in Darcy’s direction.

He looked back and forth between Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. “I…I am well, thank you, Miss Bennet. When did you arrive in Kent?”

Jane gasped slightly, before glancing at Elizabeth, then responding. “I am here with my husband. Pray, excuse me, sir. Have we met?”

Exhausted by their strange behavior, he attempted to sit up and winced, ignoring his pounding head. “Miss Bennet, Miss Elizabeth, I am unwell and should retire to my aunt’s. Please send for the colonel to retrieve me, and I shall not trespass any longer.” He leaned back against the chaise and sighed at the exertion. “While I wait, would you please inform me what transpired to cause my injury? I would be most grateful.”

The room remained silent after his pronouncement, save the sound of Clarence scribbling notes and clearing his throat. The two women’s mouths were agape as the master of the house walked into the room, and stood with his hand upon the back of Miss Jane Bennet’s chair.

“Good day, sir,” Mr. Collins effused, nodding at Darcy. “My servant informed me you had regained your senses, and I am glad. I have just come from telling my patroness, the great Lady Catherine de Bourgh, of your unfortunate accident. It was a blessing my sister came upon you and called for help before more harm could have come to you.”

Jane Bennet interrupted Mr. Collins. “Sir, pray do not overtax our guest with your concerns.”

“Of course, my darling. Forgive my unseemliness.” He walked around and sat on a chair by Miss Bennet and looked back at Darcy. “It is only that I have just come from meeting with my noble patroness, and she was certain of your demise. I will gratefully rush to Rosings and inform her at once.”

“My dear,” Jane Bennet replied, reaching for Mr. Collins’s hand. “You have only just returned. Allow Her Ladyship to have some time alone with her guests.”

Darcy’s jaw had gone slack, and his mind was whirling. What is the meaning of this? “Mr. Collins? Where is Miss Lucas? Miss Charlotte Lucas? I thought she was the mistress of the Hunsford Parsonage and Mrs. Collins.”

Mr. Collins stared dumbly at him. “Miss Lucas? Sir, I am uncertain how you have such an intimate knowledge of the people of Hertfordshire, unless you have resided there yourself. With no slight intended to the playmate of my dear sister,” he said, glancing at Elizabeth, “I could not hide my intentions once my dear Jane was presented to me by her benevolent mother. Would you deny such beauty when it is before you?”

A stillness had settled on the room as Darcy stared in disbelief, while the apothecary’s pencil continued to scratch across his paper. “You,” he said, uncharacteristically pointing at Jane. “And he?”—indicating Collins–“You are married?”

“Yes, sir. Am I not the luckiest man in all of Christendom?” Collins replied, while Jane Bennet remained silent, eyes averted. 

Darcy looked at Elizabeth and then back to Jane. “Miss Elizabeth, I…you…”

“Excuse me, sir. Pray tell. How do you know my wife and sister?”

“Mr. Collins,” Clarence interrupted. “Might I ask you to clear the room so I might examine the patient? I fear I am losing valuable time.”

“Of course. Of course,” Collins blustered, pulling Jane beside him. “My darling, shall we go out into the garden?”

* * *

Oh the possibilities! I love this type of premise, really taking us off on a 'what if' path! Poor Jane, being married to Collins, but with no Bingley on the horizon I think it's probable that would have been her fate :(

* * *

Author Anngela Schroeder
About the Author

Anngela has a degree in English with a concentration in British Literature and a Masters in Education. She loves to travel, bake, and watch college football with her husband and 3 rambunctious sons. Her weaknesses are yellow cake with chocolate frosting, her father's Arabic food (namely grape leaves, and falafel), and frozen Girl Scout Thin Mints. She lives in California where she dreams of Disney adventures and trips across the pond.

Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram 

Buy Links 

A Life Worth Choosing isn’t out yet, and I don't have any pre-order links to share with you. However, the book is coming soon, in January 2021!


Book cover: A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder
Giveaway Time!

Anngela is very kindly offering a giveaway of either an ebook (kindle, US only) or hardcover signed (worldwide) copy of A Life Worth Choosing to a randomly selected commenter on this post! Please comment by the end of the day worldwide on Thursday 3 December. 

Note about comments: If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)


Blog Tour: A Life Worth Choosing by Anngela Schroeder
Blog Tour Schedule 

Please follow Anngela’s blog tour for fun and prizes:

23 Nov - Austenesque Reviews

27 Nov - Babblings of a Bookworm

2 Dec- Diary of an Eccentric

7 Dec - From Pemberley to Milton

15 Dec - FB Live 6pm PST- Anngela Schroeder-Author

17 Dec- Instagram Live 6pm-AnngelaSchroederAuthor

21 Dec- Austenesque Reviews

30 Dec - Laughing with Lizzie

* * *

If you don’t want to miss any of my future posts, please subscribe

Subscribe to Babblings of a Bookworm

If you'd like to be friends on Goodreads then please invite me - just say that you visit my blog when it asks why you'd like to be friends with me.

48 comments:

  1. Ha! I think the above is still in edits though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the idea of P&P and It's A Wonderful Life in a mashup.

    denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do too, Denise. I love the inventiveness of rewriting a story and seeing what would happen if things were different, and both P&P variations and It's a Wonderful Life do just that, so it's such a fun idea to combine them.

      Delete
  3. This is going to be a total whirl of a story! Jane married to Mr Collins reminds me of Lost in Austen, and I wonder how Mr Darcy will mature. Thank you for posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jen. Buckle your seatbelt.😊

      Delete
    2. I still haven't seen Lost in Austen. I think if Bingley hadn't come to Netherfield Park Jane would have been married off to Collins though - poor Jane :(

      Delete
  4. Wow….this is definitely a refreshingly new take on P&P. I love how the story has changed...and absolutely can't wait to see where it takes us!!! Your vivid writing has brought this story in my mind's eye, as I can picture the story unfolding. Brilliant!!!! I definitely cannot wait to read this lovely book...you have me hooked!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lisa! I hope it meets your expectations!😊

      Delete
    2. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt!

      Delete
  5. Hooked...indeed. I will have to read this story and thank you for a chance to win a copy. It does sound interesting...cannot imagine Jane, our beautiful Jane, wasted on a man like Collins. Thanks for sharing here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sheila! I hope you enjoy it!😊

      Delete
    2. Oh I know, poor Jane! Mr Collins got a better wife than he deserved in canon too, but at least Charlotte actively wanted to marry him.

      Delete
  6. I was expecting Mr Darcy to be elsewhere and that he would not remember who he was. This was a surprise. I look forward to seeing where this variation takes us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The side of this that I think is interesting is that George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life thought he'd had an unfortunate life. Mr Darcy had probably quite enjoyed himself up until the point where Elizabeth didn't love him back. As a powerful young man he would suddenly have all of that taken away from him and I think it would be a real shock to the system!

      Delete
  7. I cannot wait to read this. Totally hooked by the excerpt!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, I don't think I have ever seen this premise before. Congrats to your husband for suggesting it and to you for taking on what must have been a very difficult project. Wow! Can't wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it a great idea! But so many threads to unravel :)

      Delete
  9. 'It's A Wonderful Life' is one of my all time Christmas favorites. I am so glad you husband finally had you watch it with him. What a fabulous movie and premise for our dear boy to experience. I wish you all the best in this new launch. I definitely want to read this and see how things go without our Darcy in the picture. Thanks, Ceri for hosting and thanks to Anngela for the generous giveaway. Blessings on the launch and everyone stay safe and healthy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh mine too, Jeanne. I watch it every year when I am wrapping Christmas presents. I have a colourized version of it on blu ray.

      Delete
  10. Great excerpt. I'd love to read this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope you get to read the full book sometime!

      Delete
  11. Oh my goodness, Jane married to Mr. Collins! What a great concept. Can’t wait to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh bless her. Hope you enjoy it when you read it.

      Delete
  12. This is a must have for me as it's one of my favorite books mixed with elements from one of my favorite movies. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, same here! I love both P&P and IaWL, I'm very curious to see how Anngela has combined them.

      Delete
  13. How fun! This story looks great! I agree, I think without Bingley, there's a decent chance Jane would have been persuaded/felt obligated to accept Mr. Collins. Poor Jane. I hope there's a happy ending that fixes her fate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, I think Jane would have been Mrs Collins without Bingley being an option. If there is no happy ending for Jane I will imagine her one.... she can have a son (to secure a home for the Bennet ladies) and then we will kill off Collins with a bad case of the sniffles :)

      Delete
  14. With Darcy awakening to an alternate universe, as it were, you have penned an all new P&P variation. He knows all the principal players in your excerpt, but they don't know him...how enticing. I will wait like everyone else for the publication (don't have a choice, do I?), but I'd sure like to be a Beta reviewer or winner of your drawing. What little Mr. Collins said didn't sound like Austen's, I thought, for those who are moaning for Jane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very true, Darcy has lots more knowledge about the other characters than they would have of their 'new' acquaintance. I wonder what benefit he will get from this knowledge. He will also have the benefit of a clean slate with them, but on the flipside, he may have no money whatsoever and not be in a position to marry, or even stay around for long! It will be interesting to see how the story pans out.

      Delete
  15. Carole in Canada1 December 2020 at 20:52

    Oh my! I think I should thank your husband! What a fabulous premise and the changes! Looks like Jane has Mr.Collins under control...somewhat? Looking forward to reading and thank you for a chance at the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a great premise, isn't it Carole!

      Delete
  16. Oh my! You had me at Darcy's "Miss Bennet". What a fabulous concept. I'm so jealous I never thought of it!. Best of luck with your blog tour and release of your book. Well done, Angela!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Will this be available on Kindle? And When?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been available on kindle since mid-January, if you haven't picked it up already :)

      Delete
  18. Wow.. I would have fainted if learmed of Ms Jane Bennet being Mrs Collins.
    Wonder now what happens next to Mr Darcy.

    Thank you for the excerpt and a chance to win a copy

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have not watched It's a Wonderful Life' yet. So I'm guessing that the patient is a stranger to the inhabitants of Rosings but his soul is actually Mr Darcy. That would explain why Elizabeth, Jane and Mr Collins didn't recognise him. And poor Jane... married to Mr Collins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would recommend It's a Wonderful Life to anybody, I love it. The premise of the film, for anybody who isn't familiar, is that a person whose life isn't going well makes a comment that he wishes that he had never been born. His wish gets granted and he gets to see what life would be like for the people he knows if he hadn't been part of their lives. It started as a short story called 'The Greatest Gift'.

      Delete
  20. Thanks for letting us know when it shall be released. I wondered why I couldn't find a purchase link. I definitely look forward to reading it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy it when you read it Joan!

      Delete
  21. So sorry for the delay in choosing a winner on this one, I got very behind on blogging at the end of last year and then it slipped my mind. Anngela had to give me a nudge. I chose a winner using a random number generator and that person was... Lisa Hatfield!

    I don't think I have your email address but will try to message you on Facebook. Congratulations to Lisa and thanks to everybody else for stopping by :)

    ReplyDelete