Still a Young Man: Darcy is in Love is one of my top 10 JAFF books with a what if about the characters in Pride and Prejudice. P.O. Dixon is one of the first JAFF authors I discovered and I have read most of her work and I highly recommend it.
At the beginning of the story we found Elizabeth marrying Mr. Calbry, one of her favourites, according to everyone who knew them, but he dies after six months. Elizabeth is sent away by her husband’s family and she goes to live with her newly wed sister, Jane Bingley.
Elizabeth shows herself as the perfect mourning widow during a year and one day, after that time, she wants to live again.
Mrs. Elizabeth Calbry is back to society with her sister and brother and she is the new “attraction” of the ton, a pretty young widow. Although she is not in possession of a fortune, she is seen as a experienced and woman in possible need of a man, maybe not to marry but to “share her experience”. This is how some so-called gentlemen see her, but not all of them. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Elizabeth’s brother’s best friend, is amazed with her and he wants to protect her even if she does not want him to do it.
Mrs. Calbry dislikes Mr. Darcy from the first moment of her acquaintance due to his words and his questions about her life and also due to the information, or misinformation, given by a childhood friend of Fitzwilliam. Everything she knows together with her own opinion, show Darcy in a bad light but that starts changing when Elizabeth sees herself entangled in a dishonourable event where she was going to be the only victim. Fortunately for her, Darcy keeps his own promise to protect her and he arrives just in time to avoid further harm to Elizabeth.
From that moment onwards, they begin spending time together and become fast friends, they share a lot of nice moments together and after Darcy saved her from that entanglement, he wants something back, he wants her to sped the summer at Pemberley, his house, with him and obviously with Jane and Charles Bingley. Elizabeth cannot deny him and she is happy to oblige, she is eager to spend more time with him. However, her feelings are changing and she is unsecure, he is a younger man and she is a widow. She can see the mutual attraction and she decides to offer herself as his lover just once. Unfortunately, this is quite common among the ton, widows sometimes look for lovers to have their needs covered. Elizabeth knows that she could only have Darcy as her lover. Eventually, when they are in Pemberley, she gathers all her courage and tells him to go to her that night. He is puzzled, bewildered but hopeful at the same time. He loves Elizabeth and he just wants her to feel the same for him and share their life.
As you already know, with this couple, nothing is easy or goes smooth. It will be very difficult to see them together but (SPOILER ALERT!) with a lot of patience, time and people who love them, they will find happiness but, as I mentioned, it will not be easy at all!
“You are mistaken. You know nothing about me”, she protested.
“What more do I need to know, Elizabeth… other than I love you with all my heart?”
I normally write now “what ifs” questions but I will leave you with that tiny bit of conversation and three important words from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that came to mind several times while reading this book: Obstinate, headstrong girl!