Friday 6 January 2023

Three Brides for Three Cousins by Christine Combe - Excerpt

I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted! I hope you had a good Christmas (if you celebrate) and that 2023 has good things in store for you.

Today I’m happy to be welcoming Christine Combe back to the blog with her latest book, Three Brides for Three Cousins. Read on to learn more about the book and enjoy an excerpt, which Christine has come to introduce. 

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Excerpt from Three Brides for Three Cousins, Introduced by Christine Combe

Thank you for having me again, Ceri! I’m so excited to be visiting Babblings of a Bookworm today to talk about my latest Austenesque novel, Three Brides for Three Cousins. This new story is a Pride and Prejudice tale set on a slightly alternate timeline than the original. Many of the same events will happen just not at exactly the same time as Jane wrote.

Book Cover: Three Brides for Three Cousins by Christine Combe - picture shows three young ladies in period costume. They seem comfortable with each other and are standing with linked arms.
Book Description

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s twin cousins are ready for their debut in society, and one might think that would keep their mother—the Countess of Disley—well occupied. But even preparing her daughters for presentation to the Queen and their debut ball has not stopped Lady Disley’s plans to marry off her two sons and her nephew at last. 

Elizabeth Bennet and her elder sister Jane are in London with their aunt and uncle at Gracechurch Street to enjoy some of the delights of the Season. They do not expect that meeting Mrs. Gardiner’s cousin from Derbyshire and the young lady to whom she is companion will lead to a reunion with the young man who wrote Jane some verses of poetry when she was 15 … or that he will be revealed to be a viscount.

Although sure this means the end of their new acquaintance with the shy Miss Darcy, Elizabeth and Jane are surprised when her brother lets the friendship continue. More than that, Lord Rowarth is forced to confess that his feelings for Jane remain strong, and his determination to defy convention and pursue a match with her unintentionally draws Elizabeth and Darcy to each other. Amidst supporting his brother's attachment to one Bennet sister and encouraging his cousin Darcy’s growing feelings for the other, Colonel Theodore Fitzwilliam is enlisted by a duke’s daughter to help prevent her family’s ruination from scandal.

Family drama, misunderstandings, and the expectations of society are difficult waters to navigate. Can these three cousins get through it all to win the hearts of their chosen ladies and secure their own happiness?


Now that I’ve piqued your interest with the blurb, how about a look at chapter 2?


Monday, 6 January 1812 

Elizabeth Bennet had never been more pleased to be in London than she was upon reading her father’s letter.

His writing at all was rare enough a treat—Mr. Bennet rather enjoyed receiving correspondence, but disliked being obliged to write back—so for him to write to her voluntarily, without her having written first, was a special occasion indeed.

The contents of his letter were excessively diverting; he had received a letter from his cousin Mr. Collins, a young gentleman he had never met, about the beginning of December that he admitted to not having replied to for a fortnight. Mr. Collins apologized for not having written before but had feared disrespecting his father’s memory to be on good terms with one whom the late Mr. Collins had been at variance. His mind was now made up to “heal the breach” in their family; having been ordained the previous Easter—and having been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of someone called Lady Catherine de Bourgh—he felt it his duty to promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach of his influence.

Mr. Collins further apologized for being the next in the entail of their family estate, as it would prove an injury to Mr. Bennet’s “amiable daughters,” assured him of his intention to make them “every possible amends,” and proposed coming to visit at Longbourn for a week.

He seems to be a most conscientious and polite young man, Lizzy, upon my word, and I doubt not will prove a valuable acquaintance, especially if Lady Catherine should be so indulgent as to let him come to us again. He cannot possibly be sensible, I think—and in fact, I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse. There is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promises well. I am impatient to see him. The only thing that could make the endurance of this visit more enjoyable would be if you were here to laugh with me, my dearest girl. There will not be two words of sense spoken together in this house until you and Jane are returned.

Elizabeth smiled as she folded the letter and put it away. Though she would certainly miss having the opportunity to meet this cousin of her father’s—who was due to arrive at Longbourn that very day—she could not say she was entirely sorry. She and her elder sister Jane had both of them been invited to spend a few months of the London Season with their aunt and uncle who lived there, and though they were not likely to attend any grand balls—and were neither of them expecting to land a husband, as was the general purpose of the Season—they were promised as much pleasure in shopping, theatre, concerts, and museum tours as their uncle could afford. They would meet many of their relations’ acquaintance who lived in Town, so there would also be dinner parties and card parties to enjoy.

That she and Jane would also be free of the foolishness and insipidity of their mother and youngest sisters was a bonus.

“Oh, what joy!” cried her aunt suddenly.

Elizabeth looked to her aunt with a curious gaze. “I see your letter has brought you as much amusement as mine has given me, Aunt. May I ask what is so joyful?”

Marjorie Gardiner smiled as she looked back at her niece. “My cousin Edina is come to London! I’ve not seen her since before my marriage, though we have corresponded frequently. Oh, how I long to see her—the poor dear was married just four years when her husband died of an infection, and they had no children. Rather than return to her father’s house, she took a position as companion to Miss Darcy.”

“Who is Miss Darcy, Aunt?” asked Jane.

Mrs. Gardiner looked up again as she folded her letter. “Miss Darcy is sister to Mr. Darcy of Pemberley—do you remember me telling you of that beautiful estate?”

Elizabeth nodded slowly. “Vaguely, yes. Did not you say that the grounds are delightful, and did not my uncle once claim there were woods and groves enough to satisfy even me?”

Her sister smiled and her aunt laughed. “Yes, Lizzy,” said the latter. “I have heard that seeing the park at Pemberley is a hard business, as it is a full ten miles round. I went there once—with my cousin Edina and her parents, as a matter of fact—and we toured the gardens about the house. I should have liked to see inside it as well, but the family were home that day and my uncle would not disturb them.”

She lifted her letter. “Edina proposes to call on me when they are settled, so perhaps in a day or two you shall meet her.”

“’They,’ Aunt?” queried Elizabeth.

“She is come with Mr. and Miss Darcy.”

Elizabeth shared a look with Jane. “Does Mr. Darcy bring his sister to Town for the Season’s marriage mart?”

Mrs. Gardiner laughed again. “Oh, certainly not! Miss Darcy is not yet out, as she is but fifteen and her brother thinks her too young to begin the search for a husband.”

If only Mamma were as pragmatic as Mr. Darcy on that score, Elizabeth thought sourly. She and Jane were the second and eldest of five daughters, respectively; Mary was third; Catherine—whom the family called Kitty—was fourth. Though the youngest of her sisters, Lydia was also the most outrageous; she was but fifteen years old, and her behavior was wild and inappropriate. Mr. Bennet had allowed her to be out in Meryton society when she was only fourteen, at first resisting the idea but then relenting under the pressure—and vexation—of the incessant complaints of his wife and her second favorite daughter. Above all things, Mr. Bennet desired peace and quiet in which to enjoy the books in his library, and if allowing the youngest of his children to join her sisters in the society of their neighbors would achieve that, he was glad to do it so long as they let him be.

Mrs. Bennet was sure that Jane’s “angelic” beauty would save them from starving in the hedgerows when their father was gone, for she was sure to get herself a rich husband, and she believed Lydia’s “liveliness” to be equally certain of as fortunate a match as her sister. Elizabeth knew that their chances of marrying well were not very great, considering the limited society in Meryton. And if her father could not be stirred to check her younger sisters’ behavior—for Kitty followed wherever Lydia went despite being two years older—she feared that some misstep of theirs would make any chance of a respectable match non-existent for all.

“No, my dears,” Mrs. Gardiner was saying, “Edina said Mr. Darcy did not wish to leave his sister all alone in Derbyshire, so brought her along while he conducts business in London.”

“Oh, how very kind he is to his sister!” Jane declared. “But… What of their parents, Aunt?”

Elizabeth watched her aunt’s countenance fall a little. “I am afraid they are both of them deceased,” she replied. “Lady Anne Darcy passed… oh, about twelve or so years ago now. Mr. Darcy the elder has been gone near five years.”

“And how old is the present Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth asked. “To have a sister so very young, he cannot be much older than Jane.”

“I believe he is about seven-and-twenty,” Mrs. Gardiner replied.

“One cannot help but feel for such a young man, to have both the burden of his estate and fortune as well as a sister’s guardianship thrust upon him at only two-and-twenty,” said Jane then.

“Indeed, my dear,” Mrs. Gardiner agreed. “But from what my family and acquaintance in Lambton have told me, he is just as kind and generous as his father was. I think it would be a privilege to be noticed by him.”

Elizabeth scoffed. “Is it not said to be a privilege and an honor to be noticed by anyone richer than oneself?”

“Now Lizzy, do not speak so uncivil,” her aunt admonished her lightly. “You know it is the way of things that those of greater fortune and rank are afforded greater respect and deference, and therefore it is an honor to be acknowledged by them.”

Suppressing a sigh, Elizabeth nodded. “I know it, Aunt. And you are right—it would be an honor indeed to be the acquaintance of a man who owns half of Derbyshire.”


Author Christine Combe - in cartoon form

Author Bio

Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen’s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.


Blog: All That They Desire / Facebook: Christine Combe

Book Cover: Three Brides for Three Cousins by Christine Combe - picture shows three young ladies in period costume. They seem comfortable with each other and are standing with linked arms.
Buy Links 

If you are keen to read more, Three Brides for Three Cousins is available to buy now in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.  

Universal Amazon Buy Link • Add to Goodreads shelf


If you'd like to leave Christine a comment about the book please leave a comment on this post. 

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


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  1. Happy New Year, Ceri! Happy New Year, Christine! I am intrigued, not only by the excerpt, but by the cover! Such connections Mrs. Gardiner has! Congratulations!

    1. Oops! Its Carole in Canada!

    2. Yes, how convenient that Mrs. Annesley was Mrs. Gardiner's cousin!

    3. Hi Carole! Happy New Year to you too!

      I love these ideas that authors dream up - Mrs Gardiner's connections could be lower, similar or higher than Mr G's, and its fun to see the different trajectory a story can take from a change :)

  2. Hello, Ceri. It is so good to see you back in 2023.
    Christine, I followed this as it posted on the forums. I was so excited to see it being published. I love a good HEA for our dear Jane. She deserves someone who loves her and will fight for her. This was so cute and I look forward to reading it again now that it has been published. Blessings on your new project.

    1. Yes, Jane definitely deserves an HEA as much as Elizabeth. And she certainly waited long enough for this one!

    2. Hi Jeanne, Happy New Year!

      So glad to hear your positive feedback on this story. I am with you, Bingley was very lucky that Jane was so forgiving. I know Bingley appreciated her good qualities, but I would have liked to have seen her with somebody with a bit more strength of character.

  3. Beautiful cover!

    I always worry that I miss you on the new email system since it has so many different bloggers on it.

    1. Thank you! It's the first time I used one of the paintings from the era on a cover, as so many other JAFF authors do. I honestly wasn't sure what I was going to do for this cover, but when I saw this painting, I knew I wanted it.

  4. Happy New Year, Ceri!

    Oh yes, this does look like it will be highly entertaining and lively with that set up to the story.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! I am glad you think it a good set up, lol, and I hope you enjoy the story.

    2. I really like the premise, and I'm sure Lizzy would have enjoyed Collins-dodging too!


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