I am very happy to have author C.P. Odom again with us introducing his latest novel: A Covenant of Marriage. As you may have guessed if you have not followed the tour, which I definitely recommend you to do, he has written a variation of Pride and Prejudice. A really good variation if you let me say it. Let me give you an idea of what this book is about…
A Covenant of Marriage—legally binding, even for an unwilling bride!
Defined as a formal, solemn, and binding agreement or compact, a covenant is commonly used with regard to relations among nations or as part of a contract. But it can also apply to a marriage as Elizabeth Bennet learns when her father binds her in marriage to a man she dislikes. Against her protests that she cannot be bound against her will, the lady is informed that she lives under her father’s roof and, consequently, is under his control; she is a mere pawn in the proceedings.
With such an inauspicious beginning, how can two people so joined ever make a life together?
OMG! What is going on? Poor Elizabeth, tied to… or to… or to… It was not simple to be a woman during that era even if what we are reading is fiction, we know that these issues were real though. I can foresee a lot of angst, maybe? Misery? Misunderstandings? Who knows!? Well, Colin knows for sure 🙂
Let Colin (re)introduce himself:
By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics.
I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree.
I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing. One thing led to another, and I now have four novels published: A Most Civil Proposal(2013), Consequences(2014), Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015), and Perilous Siege (2019). Two of my books are now audiobooks, Most Civil Proposal and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets.
I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats. My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).
Colin is eager to leave us without knowing much about what is happening with Elizabeth and the covenant of marriage. However, he is sharing and unwritten piece explaining Lydia’s destiny…
Lydia’s Destination – a Vignette for A Covenant of Marriage
Unwritten events occurring during the timeframe of Chapter 8
Friday, June 18, 1813
London, Bedford Home for the Unfortunate
Lydia Bennet was already dressed in her traveling clothing when she knocked at the door of the director of the Bedford Home for the Unfortunate. This dilapidated building had been her home since late September of the previous year, when George Wickham had abandoned her, leaving her penniless and pregnant. Her days there had not been happy ones, as she grew larger and larger from the life growing within her, watching other girls in a similar situation go into labour, have their babies, and then have to leave the home. Worse, more than five of the unwed mothers had not survived the birth of their children.
She had not had that misfortune, at least. Her delivery had been without incident, and her baby son had entered the world with a healthy cry of outrage at what had happened to him. But now, after two weeks of nursing the infant and being taught the rudiments of how to care for him and for herself, she was going to have to leave this meagre shelter, like the other mothers before her. What might befall her when the doors of the institution closed behind her, she could not imagine.
Mr. Dickerson himself opened the door for her with a practiced smile of mingled concern and good cheer.
“Come in, come in, Miss Lydia. Here, have a seat. Good, good.”
He leaned forward to look at the sleeping baby wrapped in a threadbare blanket who she held in her arms.
“I understand the boy is doing well. He certainly looks healthy. But I truly wish you would allow us to inform your family of your whereabouts and your condition.”
“No!” Lydia said, almost desperately. “I cannot go home! I just . . . cannot!”
“So you have said,” Mr. Dickerson said sadly. “And your uncle and aunt here in town?”
Lydia shook her head, her lips pressed together petulantly.
“And the boy? Many of the young ladies decide to leave their new babies to the care of one of the parish churches or perhaps the Foundling Hospital.”
“You told me that there is a situation for me where I can keep my son.”
“Yes, that is true. You are more fortunate than most of the ladies who seek asylum with us. You have a benefactor who has—”
“My uncle, you mean?” Lydia said, more harshly than she had meant to, and Mr. Dickerson looked at her unhappily.
He did not, however, say anything and continued his explanation. “Your benefactor has . . . connections, it would seem. He has arranged for you to take up residence in Portsmouth, which is a seaport to the south, where you can live among a number of other women who have been widowed by this war with France. A chaise will soon be here take you and your son there. Have you named him yet?”
Lydia turned back a corner of the blanket and looked down at her sleeping son, with a soft and tender expression on her face. “I have decided to call him Stephen. Stephen Bennet, I guess.”
“It will have to be Stephen Oldham, Miss Lydia. As I explained earlier, you will assume the identity of the widow of Sergeant Brendon Oldham, a trooper in the Sixth Dragoons, who was killed fighting the French in Spain.”
“Oh, yes, I had forgotten.”
“Well, it is something you must remember. In reality, Sergeant Oldham did not have a wife, but it is unlikely anyone will ever check the military records. The government pays a small survivor’s pension to the families of the soldiers and sailors killed, but it is quite small. But your benefactor has set things up so that you will not be showing signs of having more money than expected. The rent for your rooms, for example, will be paid by a solicitor, who will also provide you a monthly allowance for your expenses. Here is his address.”
He pushed a small piece of paper across his desk to her and she nodded her understanding.
“The allowance will pay for your food, with some extra for clothing and other expenses. But I warn you that it is not overly generous. You will have to learn not to spend more than you have, since you will not be able get more money until the first of the next month.”
Now it was Lydia’s turn to look unhappy, since she had never before had to do any of this for herself. Dinners were fixed by servants, who drew her bath, attended to her hair and dress, and kept her room cleaned. But that all belonged to her life before she had allowed herself to be deceived and seduced by Wickham.
And she simply could not go home and face her family! It wasn’t her fault! They would not understand! They would blame her and call her foolish and . . .
She bit her lip to stop the litany of familiar excuses from running through her mind. Somewhere, down deep inside, a part of her knew her situation had been of her own doing, but she could not acknowledge that. Not yet . . .
And Mr. Dickerson was continuing to speak.
“. . . these are the kind of things you would have kept from your dead husband. Here is where you were married . . .”
He pushed that paper to join the name and address of the solicitor.
“. . . a locket with a small miniature of your husband, the letter from his lieutenant telling you of his death, the official notification from the government, the . . .”
Dickerson droned on, adding other papers to the pile in front of her until he was through, after which he wrapped everything into an oilskin envelope and tied a string around it. Then he moved on to other topics.
“You have learned enough while here to allow you to take in sewing to add to your income, and we have shown you how to prepare a few simple meals for yourself and later for the boy. There will be several baskets to go in the chaise with you, a few pots and dishes, some bedclothing, the dresses you sewed for yourself in addition to what you brought with you, and some clothing for the boy. Here is a purse for your money, but I caution you to wear that under your clothing, where a pickpocket cannot get at it . . .”
At long last, the man finished and looked at her. He thought she had listened to most of it, but he still knew she did not know everything she needed to know to take up this life she had chosen. But at least she would have a roof over her head, and the baby could nurse while she was learning. It was more than most of the unfortunate girls who passed through his charity had when he had to usher them out into the world.
As he escorted Lydia Oldham outside and assisted her into the chaise with her meagre household possessions, he could not convince himself to be confident about her ability to survive. She was so very young!
What do you think? Does she deserve this? Who is that benefactor? Why can she not go back and deal with the consequences? Will we get to know more in the book? There are many more questions I could write but I will leave you to think them.
Thank you very much, Colin, for being with us today!
What about checking this book and buying it? You could do it on:
Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to his beloved Pemberley with one thing on his mind ̶ to forget Elizabeth Bennet. Riding ahead of his party and racing a storm, he happens upon the very woman he wants to avoid. To his astonishment, she is holding a baby whose name and parentage are unknown.
Elizabeth Bennet never dreamed she had wandered into Pemberley’s Woods on her afternoon walk. But when she finds an infant alone in the storm, she turns to the last man in the world she wants to see ̶ and the only one who can help them both.
As the mystery of the baby’s identity intensifies, Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy to be quite the reverse of what she expected. But when the child’s family is discovered, will the truth bring them together, or tear them apart?
A baby alone in the woods?? No, no, no! I do not like it already! Well, I actually like it but I don’t. Sorry, a bit of a messy start but basically is that I find it already interesting because we do not know who is the baby or who his/her parents are. Poor Darcy! Poor Elizabeth!
Let me introduce you to the author of this interesting book: Brigid Huey. She is inviting us to have a peek inside the story, she is sharing a vignette from Mr Darcy’s point of view!
Brigid has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids, and spends her free time reading and writing. This is her first Pride and Prejudice variation, though many others live in her imagination.
Thank you, Ana, for hosting me today! This vignette takes place before the book begins and is told from Darcy’s perspective. He is returning home after an arduous journey north. Like the vignette told from Elizabeth’s perspective featured on Half Agony, Half Hope, here we get a taste of Darcy’s state of mind before the novel begins!
Darcy stared out the window of the coaching inn. Darkness had already fallen, and the courtyard beyond was lit by only a few torches. He tried to look past the yard to the trees behind it, but all was cloaked in inky darkness. I should be home! He was only three hours from Pemberley, but instead of sleeping in his own bed, he was stuck at yet another coaching inn.
They had stopped for the evening because the ladies had grown tired. Darcy knew Georgiana would have continued, but the Bingley sisters had been quite insistent that they stop here in Derby instead of pushing on to Pemberley. Though he was eager to see to their needs as a gentleman should, he was loath to spend another evening cooped up. He needed the comfort of home—the wilds of Pemberley.
The Bingley sisters were never easy to travel with, being fastidious about everything. With the exception of their copious praise of his coach, everything fell under their unfavorable scrutiny. At every inn the dinner had been complained of—loudly and often. This night, in fact, Darcy had seen fit to quiet Miss Bingley’s perturbations with a silencing comment. Perhaps he had been too harsh, but the woman was insufferable!
Her ploy to secure him as her husband was embarrassingly obvious. He had been careful to never be left alone with the lady, and had purposefully treated her with as much neutrality as politeness allowed. Darcy had never shown her the slightest inclination, yet she would not be deterred.
Not that he had the talent of interpreting a woman’s feelings. Elizabeth Bennet had taught him that—and much more besides. Yet he was fairly certain he could understand Miss Bingley. She wanted his income and his name. His true self, however, she seemed perfectly happy to ignore. Elizabeth Bennet had always seen the real man beneath the wealth and status. If only I had been half so perceptive then!
A soft knock at his door drew him from his ruminations. He opened it to find Georgiana and her maid.
“Georgiana! Are you quite well, my dear?”
She assured him that she was perfectly well and dismissed her maid. He led her to the chair near the fireplace. Once she was seated, she fixed him with such a look of determination that he blinked in surprise.
“Brother, I mean to give you some advice, though I know it is not my place to do so. An idea has formed in my mind, and I intend to speak to you about it.”
“I beg you, Georgiana, be at ease. I welcome your opinion.”
“Well then, I shall tell you my idea. I believe you should ride ahead of our party tomorrow morning. Ride home to Pemberley on your own. It is only three hours by horseback, I believe, and the solitude would you do good.”
Darcy looked at his sister. Her delicate brow was furrowed in concern, and her luminous skin held a faint blush that belied the surety of her words. Rarely did she entreat him to do anything. Not since Ramsgate.
He shook his head, as much to dispel the ugly feelings that arose from thinking of that time as in response to Georgiana’s suggestion.
“My dear, I have a responsibility to you and my guests. I will see you all safely to Pemberley myself.”
“I know you would never shirk your responsibilities, Fitzwilliam. However, I would beg you to remember that we are not alone. Mr. Bingley and Mr. Hurst will look after us. You need a respite, my dear brother, and you shall not have it once Miss Bingley is ensconced in Pemberley.”
Darcy merely stared at his sister, unable to account for this little speech. She was not usually so forthright with her opinions, preferring to demure to his own thoughts on any matter. He found he rather liked that she was finding her confidence once again.
“I do crave solitude, Georgiana,” he said carefully, “and I thank you for your sisterly concern. It warms my heart that you seek to secure my welfare.”
“I am only following the example you set for me, Fitzwilliam. Please, think about my proposal.”
“I cannot simply leave you. You know I would not leave you or my guests in such a way.”
Georgiana was quiet for a moment, folding her delicate hands in her lap.
“Fitzwilliam, might it not be wise for you to settle your business affairs with your steward, before our guests arrive? Indeed, that would be most polite of you.”
Despite his mood, Darcy felt himself struggling not to smile. “I suppose you are correct, Georgiana. If I meet with my steward before our guests come to Pemberley, I would be more at my leisure to attend them.”
“As is fitting,” she added with a smile.
“My dear girl, I can see you are quite determined!” He came to stand before her, offering her his hand to help her out of her chair. “Come, I shall escort you to your room. You need your rest after our long journey.”
They reached her door in a moment, her room being adjacent to his.
“Will you at least consider my plan, Fitzwilliam?”
“I shall consider it, my dear. I promise.”
A small smile graced her features, and she disappeared into her room after bidding him goodnight. Darcy walked the short distance back to his quarters. Shutting the door behind him, he pondered Georgiana’s suggestion. She was completely correct, he did need solitude. His treatment of the Bingley sisters during dinner was regrettable, especially since he had pledged to himself that he would change his ways and be cognisant of the feelings of others.
He allowed himself a small smile. Elizabeth Bennet did not have Miss Bingley in mind during her heated speech, he knew. The two ladies had never got on well, due completely to Miss Bingley’s abominable rudeness.
A sigh escaped his lips as he loosened his cravat and slumped into the chair Georgiana had so recently vacated. Perhaps she was right. Three hours alone with his horse would do much to clear his troubled mind.
He found that as he drew nearer to Pemberley, Elizabeth was nearly ever present in his mind. Not that a day went by without his thinking of her. In London, he would start if he saw a young lady with her same chestnut curls. He had even gone so far as to follow a woman into a bookstore, just to be sure it was not she. And yet, what would he say to her even if they did meet? He knew she wanted nothing to do with him.
The truth was unavoidable, and it had become achingly clear the closer he came to Pemberley. She was not with him, and had no desire to be so. It was time to be brave. It was time to move on from Miss Bennet.
Yes, he would take his horse and ride for home. He would leave as early as he could, so he might catch Pemberley at its finest. He loved to catch the rising sun as it glinted off the windows of the great house—it was nothing short of a magical. Perhaps it would have the power to ease his mind and rid his heart of Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourn.
How sweet of Georgiana! Speaking up to his brother just because she loves him. He knows he needs his peace, mainly away from Miss Bingley! I would like to know if we read more about her behaviour.
Thank you very much, Brigid for sharing your novel with us.
Ladies and gentlemen, one question that maybe you are asking yourself and I am asking myself too… how is this going to work out???!!! We need a happy ending but the blurb is mysterious, are they going to pretend the baby is related to one of them? Are they going to pretend an “attachment”? What has Brigid written!!??
When a man’s honor is at stake, what is he willing to risk for the woman he loves?
After a disastrous marriage proposal and the delivery of an illuminating letter, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet hope never to lay eyes on one another again. When a chance meeting in Hunsford immediately throws them in each other’s way, Darcy realizes his behavior needs correcting, and Elizabeth starts to appreciate his redeeming qualities. But is it enough to forgive the past and overcome their prejudices?
Jane and Bingley’s possible reconciliation and Lydia’s ill-conceived trip to Brighton pose their own challenges for two people struggling to find their way to love. When scandalous news threatens their chance at happiness, will Darcy and Elizabeth’s new bond be shattered, or will their growing affection hold steadfast?
Hello to all! What do you think of this blurb? It is not giving a lot of insight but it is making clear that there are quite a few problems that Elizabeth and Darcy may overcome before… a happy ending?
I am glad to welcome Heather Moll to the blog and to introduce you to her and her first book: His Choice of a Wife. On the JAFF world and, obviously in Pride and Prejudice, the choice of a wife is key and we know the struggle that Mr Darcy has with himself when he realises he is in love with Elizabeth Bennet.
I am also interested on Jane and Charles and how big their role is. We know Lydia is almost always a pain but I hope Jane and Bingley end up together.
Let’s discover a bit more about the author:
Heather Moll is an avid reader with a B.A. in European history and a M.A. in library science, so it is astonishing that she did not discover Jane Austen until her late-twenties. Making up for lost time, she devoured all of Austen’s novels, her letters, and unpublished works, joined JASNA, and spent far too much time researching the Regency era. She is thrilled to have found fellow Janeites and the JAFF community, if only to prove that her interests aren’t so strange after all. Heather is a former librarian turned stay-at-home mother who struggles to find time for all of the important things, like reading and writing.
Hello Ana and thank you for welcoming me to My Vices and My Weaknesses today! I’m sharing a vignette from His Choice of a Wife. This was a scene between Darcy and Lady Catherine in London that was cut from the final version because it didn’t move the story forward. In the final version, their conflict is only referenced as an exchange of letters. This cut scene is a more heated altercation but didn’t have any impact on the plot. Still, who doesn’t love a good Lady Catherine set-down?
“You need not announce me, step back! I know where to find him.”
Darcy had been indulging in the memory of Elizabeth’s lips on his neck, with his feet propped up on his desk, and was so startled he nearly fell from his chair. He had not noticed the arrival of a carriage, but there was no mistaking the overbearing, booming voice that intruded into hissolitude. The door swung open and Lady Catherine entered with an air more than usually ungracious and sat down without saying a word.
He rose to greet his aunt and tried to disguise his dismay, on both her manner of barging into his home and the fact that she had called at all.
“Good afternoon, madam. I trust you are in good health. I admit that I had quite forgotten that you were to be in town in June.”
“You can be at no loss, Darcy, to know why I come.”
“You are mistaken; I cannot account for seeing you here.”
“Darcy,” replied her Ladyship, in an angry tone, “your most alarming letter reached me last night. It had been sent to Rosings Park and that must explain why it has only come to me now. You have made an offer of marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet? Had I heard it from anyone else I would have supposed it a scandalous falsehood!”
“Lady Catherine,” said Darcy, coloring with astonishment and disdain, “it is no falsehood. I have made her an offer of marriage and am pleased to have been accepted.”
“Do you still retain the use of your reason? What arts and allurements has she used to make you forget what you owe yourself and all your family? How is it that she has drawn you in?”
He paced as he attempted to rein in his emotions. That she would charge into his home and disparage his intended’s reputation was not to be borne! He had anticipated Lady Catherine’s disapproval, but he had never dreamed she would accuse Elizabeth of seducing him.
“Do you truly believe that I offered to marry her in a moment of infatuation?”
“What about Anne? You are engaged to my daughter!”
“No, madam, I am happily engaged to Miss Elizabeth Bennet.” Darcy attempted to placate her. “It might have been a favorite wish of my mother and you, but I am not destined for my cousin. I am neither by honor nor inclination confined to Anne and I have made my choice.”
“Do not expect to be noticed by your family or friends, Darcy, should you willfully act against the inclinations of all and marry this girl. You will be censured, slighted, and despised by everyone connected with you.”
“I doubt that but, if it were so, with Miss Bennet as my wife I shall have such an extraordinary source of happiness that I would have no cause to repine!”
“You would let the upstart pretensions of a young woman without family, connections, or fortune divide you from uniting our respective houses?”
“Miss Bennet is the daughter of a gentleman and I will have you remember that, madam.”
“True, but what of her mother? Who are her uncles and aunts?”
“Since I do not object to them, they can be nothing to you!” Darcy found his patience wearing thin.
After some hesitation she replied, “You must find a way to withdraw from this engagement. I shall convince this girl to release you. I expect Miss Bennet to be a reasonable woman, and she would show me gratitude for my attentions last spring. I will set off at once and make my sentiments known to her.”
If Darcy had been angry before, this declaration made his blood boil. He swiftly approached Lady Catherine with his jaw clenched as he towered over her. “You will do no such thing!” His aunt leaned away from him in her chair, her eyes wide with shock. “You have widely mistaken my character if you think I can be worked on by such pretensions as these. Had Miss Bennet not accepted my hand it would not have made me then wish to bestow it on Anne. I doubt that my family will resent me for acting in a manner which will constitute my happiness.”
“I am exceedingly angry that you have allowed this, this lady of easy virtue to draw you in! Did she offer you a bit of muslin on the sly? I cannot imagine any other possible means for which you would throw off your duty and your honor. You need not marry her if that be the case; let her be your mistress and take Anne to be your wife.”
“I want you to leave,” Darcy said in an icily quiet voice.
“I beg your pardon, Darcy, what did you say to me?” Lady Catherine’s jaw hung open.
“You have been ordered to remove yourself from my home. You have insulted both my betrothed and me in every possible method and I shall no longer suffer your interference in my affairs.” Darcy strode to the door of his library and threw open the door. He ordered the footman in the vestibule to call his aunt’s carriage. Lady Catherine rose from her chair in silent indignation and Darcy led her from the library. “You might wait outside, for I have nothing further to say to you,” and he swiftly shut the door behind her.
Thank you, Heather for sharing this scene with us. It is a pity that it is cut from the final edition but we are able to enjoy it here. I really like when Lady Catherine has an argument about Darcy’s choice of a bride. I simply imagine her almost hyperventilating!!
By the way, Elizabeth kissing Darcy’s neck?!? That sounds like a very happy ending to me *hehehe*
Would you like to buy this book now as you cannot wait how this relationship is going to develop? You can do it on the links below, remember to check if there is the ebook or the paperback edition depending on what you want (not both formats are available on every link).
I am very pleased to introduce you to a new Jan Austen Fan Fiction release by C. P. Odom as well as having him for the first time with us. Welcome, Colin!
Perilous Siege is his last novel published and I would say that it is a very original way of combining our lovely character from Pride and Prejudice with the modern world, well, not even ours just yet… but 2045. Still 26 years to go!
I have not read Perilous Siege yet but I am very intrigued about it. However, I have read one of his other novels and I really like how he writes.
Just to give you a bit of information, read the book blurb and see what your first impressions are:
What is the Siege Perilous, and how does it affect the lives of everyone in the Regency universe of Pride & Prejudice? When a man dressed in bizarre attire suddenly appears in a field on his Pemberley estate, Fitzwilliam Darcy has little inkling of the many and startling changes this man’s strange arrival will have on his life, his family’s lives, and indeed, his whole world. Mysteriously sent to the Regency world of Pride and Prejudice, this refugee from a future Armageddon is befriended by Darcy. How will the presence of Major Edward McDunn influence the events of Jane Austen’s signature work, especially the tangled courtship between Darcy and the complex and endearing Elizabeth Bennet?
Major Edward McDunn… Why are you going to do with Lizzie, with Darcy, with the Colonel, with Georgiana…? Are you a friend or a foe? You must be a friend if Mr Darcy befriends you, right? We will see..
Let’s know something else about the author before carrying on with this curious book. C.P. Odom is letting us know a few interesting bits of his life.
By training, I’m a retired engineer, born in Texas, raised in Oklahoma, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma. Sandwiched in there was a stint in the Marines, and I’ve lived in Arizona since 1977, working first for Motorola and then General Dynamics. I raised two sons with my first wife, Margaret, before her untimely death from cancer, and my second wife, Jeanine, and I adopted two girls from China. The older of my daughters recently graduated with an engineering degree and is working in Phoenix, and the younger girl is heading toward a nursing degree. I’ve always been a voracious reader and collector of books, and my favorite genres are science fiction, historical fiction, histories, and, in recent years, reading (and later writing) Jane Austen romantic fiction. This late-developing interest was indirectly stimulated when I read my late wife’s beloved Jane Austen books after her passing. One thing led to another, and I now have three novels published: A Most Civil Proposal (2013), Consequences (2014), and Pride, Prejudice, and Secrets (2015). My fourth novel, Perilous Siege, was recently published in the second quarter of 2019. I retired from engineering in 2011, but I still live in Arizona with my family, a pair of dogs (one of which is stubbornly untrainable), and a pair of rather strange cats. My hobbies are reading, woodworking, and watching college football and LPGA golf (the girls are much nicer than the guys, as well as being fiendishly good putters). Lately I’ve reverted back to my younger years and have taken up building plastic model aircraft and ships (when I can find the time).
Engineering, Marine, aircrafts, Jane Austen… Now maybe, some pennies are dropping, what do you think? Not sure yet? We will get soon to the excerpt but first, let me tell you how you can follow C.P. Odom to discover more about his writing.
Without further ado, please enjoy this interesting excerpt that shows us when Darcy met the Major. Let’s see how shocking it may be… or not. However, first, Colin is telling us a bit more about the writing of this book and how fund it was.
Thank you, Ana, for inviting me to share this excerpt from my newest novel, Perilous Siege. It’s from early in the novel, where Fitzwilliam Darcy discovers a man from the future of our world (the year 2045, to be exact) lying in a field on his estate of Pemberley. Yet this novel doesn’t involve the science fiction concept to time travel (which is totally impossible according to Einstein, but then this is fiction, right? And I’m a long-time science fiction reader.). In my novel, I made use of another science fiction concept, that of parallel universes resulting from decision points leading to different outcomes. Thus, in this fanciful concept, the number of parallel universes would be literally infinite, and surely there would be one in which Jane Austen’s characters actually existed!
So, imagine the fun I had in putting myself into the persona of someone from approximately our time who got sent to the world in which he most belonged (he’s a reader of Jane Austen, besides being a US Marine from the future of the United States). The means of transport was the Siege Perilous, an artifact from the legend of Arthur Pendragon, King Arthur. Hence, the title of my book, Perilous Siege – Pride and Prejudice in an Alternate Universe. According to Merlin, the Siege . . . well, perhaps it might be better to include the explanatory paragraph from the Prologue when the wizard Kaswallon, whose family had custody of the Siege for two millinea after the time of Arthur, explained it to Major Edward McDunn:
“Ah, there you are wrong, brave McDunn, for you sit on a remnant from Arthur’s court—the Siege Perilous, the vacant seat at the Round Table. It was found by Merlin, who proclaimed only the knight who was successful in his quest for the Holy Grail could sit in it without dying. Six of Arthur’s knights tried to and died, or so the legend says. But the legend is wrong, as was Merlin, for the knights who disappeared did notdie. They were sent elsewhere to the world meant for them. Only Sir Percival and Sir Galahad, who together achieved the Grail quest, were able to sit in the Siege without disappearing. Or so said Merlin, wrong as always, because the real reason they remained was they belongedto this world, not elsewhere.” So this is the discovery of McDunn in a world he never imagined . . .
If a coin comes down heads, that means that the possibility of its coming down tails has collapsed. Until that moment the two possibilities were equal. But on another world, it does come down tails. And when that happens, the two worlds split apart. — Philip Pullman,The Golden Compass
Tuesday, October 10, 1809 Pemberley, Derbyshire
“Sir! Sir! Mr. Darcy!”
Fitzwilliam Darcy had been half-dozing as his coach rumbled along on this still-warm autumn day. He was on the final leg of a journey to his Pemberley estate when, startled from his comfortable doze, he sat bolt upright at the call of his driver and the subsequent hard braking of the coach.
“Yes, Wainwright?” he called, looking over at his sister, Georgiana, and his cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam as the vehicle lurched to a stop. “What is it?”
“Over there, sir! A man!”
“A man? Where?”
“In the grass, sir! To your right! A-lyin’ in the grass!”
Darcy felt the coach shake as one of the footmen scrambled down from the back of the coach, and he was not surprised when Brown appeared suddenly at the door.
“I will see what it is, sir,” he said in a gravelly voice and started to turn away.
“Wait!” When Brown turned around with a surprised look, Darcy continued. “I want to have a look myself.”
He opened the door and jumped lightly to the ground without bothering to lower the entry step. Behind him, he heard his cousin descend in the same manner.
“Stay inside the coach, Georgiana,” he called without turning his head. He did not have to look to know she had intended to jump to the ground. Her natural curiosity grew by the day.
“But William!” Georgiana said, beginning to protest. It was clear from her expression that past experience told her the uselessness of doing so when her brother spoke in such a tone of voice. “Oh, very well,” she said, settling back on her seat.
“Now, where is this man, Wainwright?” Darcy asked. “I cannot see anyone.”
“Over there, sir,” his driver said, pointing. “He is just there. Maybe dead. I canna tell.”
“I should do this, Mr. Darcy,” repeated Brown.
“Or I,” Fitzwilliam said, stepping up beside Darcy with his hand on his cavalry saber.
“I want to see for myself,” Darcy said. Then, seeing the look of distress on his footman’s face, he relented. Brown, after all, did have a secondary duty as an armed guard against the possibility of highwaymen on the road. The threat was admittedly rare in recent years, but it remained.
“Very well, then. We shall all investigate.”
“Yes, sir,” his footman said reluctantly, touching the pistol he had stuck in his waistband. Darcy was careful to conceal his smile at Brown’s protectiveness. The man had never had occasion even to withdraw his firearm from under his coat, but he took his duty seriously.
As he and Fitzwilliam walked in the direction his driver had pointed, Brown followed slightly behind and off to the side. Something was clearly pressing down the long grass of the field.
As they got closer, Darcy realized his driver had been right. There was indeed a man lying in the grass, curled up almost into a ball, but he was attired in a most baffling fashion, which added to the mystery of his presence.
His clothing resembled a military uniform since the trousers and jacket were similar in appearance, but the material itself was like no uniform Darcy had ever seen. It had no constant color, being composed of a mottled conglomeration of browns and tans, but the sharp demarcation of the mottling showed it was intentional and not accidental. The man wore a pack of the same material except its mottling was different in pattern.
In addition, the man’s clothing and pack were incredibly dirty and deeply stained with mud. This was puzzling since the roads and fields were dry. There had been no recent rains, yet the man’s boots, unlike any Darcy had ever seen, were also covered in the same type of mud.
As the men moved closer, Darcy was shocked to realize many of the stains on what he was increasingly certain was a kind of uniform looked more like blood than dirt or mud. Dried blood. A lotof blood.
The reddish-brown stains were down the entire front of his uniform. Adding to the mystery was an unfamiliar helmet on the stranger’s head, covered in the same brown and tan cloth as his clothing.
Darcy heard a rustle of cloth and a snapping sound behind him, and he knew Brown had just withdrawn his pistol from his waistband, cocked the hammer, and was no doubt turning the pistol sideways slightly to get a few grains of powder into the priming pan. Darcy felt no inclination to reprove him. The unconscious man’s presence was enough to justify a degree of caution, especially when coupled with his complete unfamiliarity and the strangeness of his clothing.
A sense of alarm struck Darcy as he saw the item his footman had seen, and he understood why Brown had drawn his pistol. Under the stranger’s left armpit was some kind of leather holster, and protruding from it was what appeared to be the butt of a pistol. The butt was significantly smaller than the pistol in Brown’s hands, as well as being quite oddly shaped. Regardless, there was a sleek deadliness about the weapon that convinced him of its danger.
A second shock ran through him when he saw a long object lying in the grass just beyond the stranger’s out-flung hand. From its length and similar appearance of precision as the pistol, Darcy was certain the long object was also a weapon of some kind. It bore a superficial resemblance to the muskets and shotguns with which he was familiar, but this musket was too short, had strange protrusions in various places, and did not appear to be made of metal. Everything, including the barrel, was colored the same as the man’s pack. Perhaps those colors were paint, but he wondered why a musket would be painted.
Darcy stopped about ten feet away and regarded the stranger. He was deeply tanned but unshaven with several weeks of dark beard. He could see the man’s clothing was not only dirty and bloody but also badly worn with numerous tears, especially about the knees and elbows. Some type of bulky vest or harness was strapped about his torso, supporting numerous pouches bulging with unknowable contents. There were also pockets everywhere about his clothing—on the sleeves and down his baggy trousers—all of them bulging like those on his vest. He lay quietly on his side, breathing slowly and deeply, and the large pack strapped to his back looked vaguely like the packs worn by soldiers illustrated in the London newspapers. For the first time, Darcy noticed several canvas bags nearby, and he realized the mottled coloring of the bags had made them almost blend in with the vegetation.
He looked over at Fitzwilliam, but his cousin only shrugged his thick shoulders. His military experience apparently did not provide any more answers than Darcy’s civilian knowledge.
But caution seemed advisable. The man might look rough and bedraggled, but he was also large and muscular with broad shoulders and large hands, somewhat resembling Fitzwilliam who was a colonel of dragoons and a rather formidable man in his own right. The two shared the same weathered features acquired by a life spent mostly outdoors.
Unable to bear the mystery any longer, Darcy ignored the voice of caution sounding a warning in his mind and stepped forward to nudge the sole of one of the stranger’s boots with his cane. It was only a slight touch, but the results were both startling and violent!
With a rapidity that caused the three men to recoil backward in complete surprise, the stranger seemed to explode up from the ground. With astonishing speed, he rolled abruptly to the side while simultaneously whirling about and half-rising. His head whipped about in a blur, quickly scanning the surroundings before fixing on the group of men in front of him. A clicksounded as he came to a halt on one knee, and Darcy realized that a strange-looking pistol had somehow appeared in his hands. It must be the pistol from beneath the man’s armpit, and it was held in a completely unfamiliar manner, supported by both his hands.
The sight of the pistol caused Darcy to freeze, instantly and completely. The stranger’s dark eyes were locked on him with a dangerous fixation, and the sound he had heard was made doubly ominous because of its similarity to the earlier sound of Brown cocking his pistol.
“Brown, do nothing!” Darcy barked the command. He instinctively realized he had made a grave error; the strange pistol was not pointed at him but rather at Brown, and the muzzle, while clearly not as large as the pistols with which he was familiar, seemed even more deadly.
No one moved for a long second or two before the stranger spoke.
“He’s with you?”
Darcy gave a jerky nod.
“I haven’t fired,” the stranger continued, “since the muzzle of your man’s blunderbuss isn’t exactly pointed at me and his finger isn’t on the trigger. Please have him lower the pistol and un-cock the hammer. I don’t want to kill anyone over a misunderstanding, but I also don’t want to die by mistake either. And I won’t warn him again.”
“Brown!” Darcy said quickly. “Put the pistol away!”
“Yes, sir,” Brown said reluctantly, and Darcy heard the sound of the pistol being uncocked and the subsequent rustle of cloth indicating it was being returned to its place.
“And perhaps, if the big man in the red coat might loosen the death grip he has on that large knife he has partway out of its scabbard, I’ll holster my pistol.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Darcy saw Fitzwilliam reluctantly lower his saber back into its sheath and uncurl his fingers from the hilt. He felt a bit of amusement at the way the stranger referred to his cousin’s beloved saber as a big “knife”—though he was not sure Fitzwilliam shared his amusement.
“Better,” the stranger said, standing up. “Much better.”
He touched something on the small, black pistol. It made the same snapping sound Darcy had heard previously, and he put it back in the holster and buckled a strap over it. Darcy saw he wore a matching holster with a similar pistol beneath his right armpit, and he also had what might be another rifle over his back under his pack. The weapon was covered by a multi-colored canvas sheath with a long belt-like strap across his chest, holding it in place.
Clever idea, all those belts and straps,thought Darcy in wonder. It would make sure they stay in place when galloping about a battlefield, but how did he unfasten the strap so quickly when he awoke?
“I did not mean to startle you,” Darcy said, but the stranger waved away his apology.
“And I didn’t mean to startle you either, but when I felt something touch my boot…well, where I’ve been lately, you wake up instantly or you might not wake up at all. It tends to make one twitchywhen startled.”
“Ah yes,” Darcy said in confusion. “Twitchy. Interesting word.”
The stranger looked at Darcy and gave him a crooked smile. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”
“I have never been so confused in my life, sir,” Darcy answered, and his comment seemed to amuse the stranger further since his smile broadened as he looked about him, taking in the attire of Darcy, Fitzwilliam, and Brown as well as the coach and horses.
The stranger waved at Georgiana, who was standing beside the coach in wide-eyed excitement and curiosity.
“I’m sorry if I startled your passenger. I didn’t even know she was there until just now.”
“My sister.” Darcy glared at her. “I had suggestedshe remain in the coach while we investigated.”
“I suppose all of us are completely confused, sir. Me, for example. Not only do I have no idea where I might be, I don’t even know whenthis is. It’s certainly not where I came from.”
Brown stood nearby, and Darcy remembered his father’s admonition never to discuss serious matters in front of the staff. Turning to his footman, he said, “Please rejoin the coach and keep a sharp eye out. I think we will be safe enough now.”
“Aye, sir,” Brown said dutifully, but the tone of his voice made it clear he did not fully agree with his employer. Darcy waited until he had mounted the coach again before turning back to the stranger.
“You do not know where you are?” Darcy asked, his surprise evident.
When the unknown man shook his head, it seemed to make him aware of the helmet on his head. He unsnapped the strap and removed it, revealing a mop of dark hair that had not been barbered in quite some time.
“I’m not at all sure how I came to be here,” the stranger said slowly with visible uncertainty. “If it would not be too much of an imposition, might you first tell me whereI am?”
“You are on my land. This is a meadow on my estate, sir,” Darcy answered with a trace of irritation in his voice.
“Ah, so I’m a trespasser. Very serious, sir. Very serious, indeed. But since I wasn’t aware I was trespassing, perhaps you might enlighten me as to just whereI’m trespassing? I assume your estate’s in England?”
Darcy openly smiled at the renewed evidence of humor in the stranger’s speech as he had consciously modified his speech to match his own.
Except for the use of those contracted words,Darcy thought. I know they are becoming more fashionable in these modern times, but still…and that accent of his! It is definitely not one with which I am familiar. Nevertheless, this is an educated man. It shows in his speech.
“Yes,” Darcy said with a nod. “Pemberley is indeed in England. In Derbyshire to be exact.”
The man flinched momentarily at this information. “Interesting,” he mused. “I thought I would be in Cornwall.” He shook his head and continued. “The next item to assuage my curiosity is the date—the year to be more specific.”
Darcy wrinkled his brow in confusion, looking at the stranger oddly for a moment before he replied slowly, “It is Wednesday, the tenth of October in the year of our Lord, 1809.”
The stranger’s eyes grew large at the information. “It’s 1809!” he murmured. “I thought the stone—”
Whatever else he meant to say went unsaid, and he shook his head again before standing up straighter.
“I do apologize for appearing in your meadow, sir, but I assure you I’m as surprised to be here as you are to find me. But as an intruder and a trespasser on your land, I really should introduce myself. Edward McDunn. I’m American despite my Scots name. Brevet Major and late Gunnery Sergeant of the United States Marine Corps.”
Darcy’s eyebrows rose just a bit at this bit of information, but he was not completely surprised. “I had surmised you to be American from the manner of your speech.”
“My accent, you mean?”
“Indeed. We both speak the same language, but you clearly hail from elsewhere. If I may hazard a guess, I would say one of the southern of our former colonies.”
“South Carolina,” McDunn confirmed.
Darcy was still confused. What was an American doing in England, much less in Derbyshire? And lying in a Pemberley meadow, especially at this time?
From what his cousin had told him, bad feelings between Britain and the United States of America still lingered from the Chesapeake-Leopard affair back in ’07. Fitzwilliam worried that the Royal Navy’s insistence on stopping ships flying the American flag and impressing seamen from their crews might eventually cause the two countries to stumble into an active state of hostilities.
Have we not enough enemies,he thought sourly, with Bonaparte and the rest of his coalition?
He shook his head at his woolgathering and decided this was not the time to stand on propriety. There was certainly no one to introduce the two of them. “I am pleased to make your acquaintance, Major McDunn…or is it, what did you say, Gunnery Sergeant?”
McDunn smiled wryly. “It’s lateGunnery Sergeant, sir. That rank, as well as my majority and my place in the Marines are—well, it’s long off in time and far away. Very much so.”
“I see,” Darcy said though he did not see at all. “My name is Fitzwilliam Darcy, and as I said, I own Pemberley. And may I present my cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam of His Majesty’s Sixth Regiment of Dragoons.”
Darcy’s hesitation was due to his decision to include his Christian name as the American had done. It was not usual, but he supposed Americans had different customs.
Both men gave the stranger a quick bow, but both Darcy and his cousin were taken aback by McDunn’s reaction. His mouth had dropped open slightly, and he was staring at Darcy as though he had seen a ghost.
Fitzwilliam Darcy? McDunn thought, so staggered by the man’s name that he questioned his sanity.
The name “Pemberley”he had put down as coincidence, but it could not be a coincidence that the man who owned Pemberley in this alternate world also claimed the name of Austen’s hero in Pride and Prejudice.
What in the seven levels of hell is going on here? Darcy!And Colonel Fitzwilliam! And that has to be Georgiana by the coach! Has that Siege stone sent me to a world of fictional characters? Characters created in the imagination of an unmarried author of old-time novels? But this man, this Darcy, said this is his estate! Pemberley in Derbyshire! I know Kaswallon said there were an infinite number of alternate possible worlds, but still—! This is not bordering on the ridiculous; it is so far beyond such boundaries, it’s ludicrous!
What do you think? How is this going to continue? I have quite a few questions that may be answered by reading Perilous Siege.
You can buy a copy of this book on Amazon and other sites. Just check the one that you prefer 🙂
Although the tour has just begun, do not miss the premier of the blog tour and check what is coming 🙂
Meryton Press is offering eight eBooks copies of Perilous Siege. The giveaway runs until midnight, April 21, 2019. Just click the link below and follow instructions. The terms and conditions are below the link.
Terms and Conditions: Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
I believe that the title in itself it is very appealing, what do you think? Let’s see it this way: you know it is JAFF, specifically Pride and Prejudice, and then the most interesting man is portrayed. Yes, that man in none other than Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley.
What else do you need to know? Much more, trust me. however, we will start with the blurb of the book.
What has gotten into Fitzwilliam Darcy lately? Charles Bingley, a jolly fellow who relies on his great friend’s impeccable judgment in all things, is determined to find out. What could explain Darcy’s ill humour and distraction? Or his uncharacteristic blunder of speaking Greek to a horse who only understands Latin? Not to mention that shocking book accident! Certainly, it has nothing to do with Elizabeth Bennet, the sister of Bingley’s own angel, Jane. Bingley is certain of it. What was really going on behind the scenes at Netherfield, Pemberley, and Darcy House, and just what did those men talk about over billiards and brandy? In this novella, Bingley sheds a little light on keeping company with the most interesting man in the world, and shares his own musings on puppies, his dreadful sisters, and the search for true love. Prepare to be shocked, delighted, and confused by a Charles Bingley the likes of whom you’ve never met before.
Charles Bingley telling us about his loyal friend, Darcy. Sounds interesting, like the book 😉
Would you like to read a bit more? Let me just introduce you to the two ladies who have written this book and are sharing a great excerpt with us today. Please welcome: Justine Rivard and JL Ashton.
Justine Rivard is a very serious college professor who has no time for frivolity or poppycock of any kind. She strenuously objects to the silliness found in this story and urges you to put the book down at once before it gives you ideas. You are invited instead to join her in the study for a lecture about her extensive collection of whimsical 18th-century animal husbandry manuals.
J.L. Ashton, on the other hand, is a very unserious writer of Jane Austen variations you might have read (A Searing Acquaintance and Mendacity & Mourning) and collector of recipes she will never attempt. She encourages a general lack of decorum and has a great appreciation for cleft chins, vulnerably brooding men, and Instagram accounts featuring animals. Especially cats. Also foxes.
Without further ado, let the authors introduce this great excerpt that they are sharing with us.
Ana, thank you so much for hosting us here at My Vices and Weaknesses, and letting us share an excerpt from our somewhat nonsensical look at the bromance and conversations between Darcy and Bingley. In this excerpt, the two men, one of them considered by the other as The Most Interesting Man in the World, talk about love, food and the elusive Elizabeth Bennet.
Darcy cleared his throat and spoke with what seemed to Bingley to be feigned nonchalance. “Bingley, I hesitate to bring this up for reasons that will become evident, but the most peculiar thing happened this afternoon. I am sure you will never guess who was here when I arrived.” Bingley tried to think of the least likely person Darcy might have encountered upon his arrival at Pemberley. “Napoleon Bonaparte? Beau Brummell? Um…Cicero?” Knowing Darcy, this had to involve Latin and some damn Roman. “Do not be absurd, Bingley. You know very well that Cicero is dead. Still, you truly will never guess, so I shall have to tell you: Miss Elizabeth Bennet and her aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner.” Darcy bit his bottom lip and nodded. “The ones from Cheapside.” Bingley was stunned. How many times since the twenty-sixth of November had he thought of Miss Jane Bennet? At first, he had tried to deny that he ever had any real feelings for her, and he had let his admiration for Darcy and his desire to be more like his friend overrule his own good sense. Not that he really had good sense about anything. He was far more likely to trust the judgment of others than to rely on his own poor powers of discernment. But still, he had been right to listen to Darcy with regard to dear Jane. There was no doubt about it, none at all. Nevertheless, thinking about her always left him feeling full of melancholy and regret—a most unusual and uncomfortable sensation as he was used to happily gliding through life. For the most part, he had been untouched by the dramas, tragedies, and tensions that made up other people’s lives. It made Caroline angry. She always had such purpose in her words and in her stride, yet she had to depend on him—the man of the family—to lead their way in the world. It had hardened her eyes. But why was he thinking about Caroline when Darcy was talking about the Bennets? Here was a chance to hear more about dear Jane from her sister. Suddenly, he was so eager that he could hardly bear it. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet is here?” Oh, it felt so wonderful to say “Bennet” out loud instead of just mouthing the word (with Jane’s name appended to it) in front of the mirror. “Not here. Not here now. She was here earlier, visiting the park.” Oh. Bingley was crestfallen. Here and gone and without her sister. Why had she been here? Had she left word for him, for the dolt who did not understand love or recognise her sister’s worth or grasp how to parry and thrust? Verbally, anyway? “But why here?” Darcy’s face turned a deep crimson. “They were on holiday, um, are on holiday and touring the area. Miss Elizabeth’s aunt is from Lambton. You know, the village just outside Pemberley. They are here for a visit.” Bingley stared at his friend, astonished at the wealth of information he had gleaned. “You spent some time with them?” “No, no, no,” Darcy replied quickly, shaking his head. “Well, yes. Some. Bingley, excuse me. You have come all this way, you are still in your travelling clothes, and I have yet to offer you a drink. Please, sit down.” He gestured to one of the leather wing chairs he favoured. All his homes were littered with them. “May I order you some tea or perhaps some—?” “Brandy. I would like a brandy.” “Brandy?” Darcy enquired, his brow furrowed. “Surely, you must have something to eat first. Would brandy agree with you after that long ride in the hot sun?” Ah, Darcy was worried about his boots or his rugs or his billiard table. Fair enough, though Bingley wished to protest that he had always been able to hold his liquor—unlike some men he could name. Still, he would indeed like some brandy, especially considering how concerned he was that Darcy might at any time ask where Georgiana was. What on earth would he say? He needed a quick excuse! Maybe he could distract his friend by talking about something else. What was it that Darcy had told him? Oh, yes! How could he have forgotten? Miss Elizabeth! “Yes, Darcy, brandy. It has been a long day, and you have a story to tell. I must know everything about Miss Elizabeth’s visit. I should like to have seen her.” Darcy handed his friend a glass of brandy and picked up his cup of tea. “Shall I have some food sent in?” “Oh yes, please. What do you have on hand? Do you suppose the kitchen has a duck pasty or two? Perhaps some sausages or a partridge? Oh, or Cook’s lovely creamed potatoes… And what about some of those delicious sticky buns or her famous berry tarts?” Bingley realised that this might be a bit too much to ask, but he was ravenously hungry. Well acquainted with Bingley’s enormous appetite, Darcy merely nodded and rang for Mrs. Reynolds. “Yes, excellent idea.” “Oh, that reminds me, what is the damage to your billiards table?” Bingley flushed, thinking about the table he had left in ruins earlier in the spring. He cleared his throat. “Well, I know what the damage was. What I mean is: How much do I owe you for its repair?” “Nonsense. You owe me nothing. We had quite a bit to drink that evening, and if you had not done the honours, then Archie or I would have done so sooner or later. Damn soldiers’ drinking games.” Bingley shook his head in disbelief. He could not imagine his talented friend eviscerating a billiards table. Not unintentionally anyway. “No, never. Please let me take care of it, old chap.” “No, no. Truly, never mind. All in a good night’s fun.” That had been an interesting evening, Bingley reflected with some wistfulness. Not that he remembered it too clearly. He recalled something about the colonel…um, Archie flying around on a magic carpet. That could not really have happened, of course. Could it? No, no, that must have been the brandy talking. Something about a hot air balloon as well, and that seemed a bit more likely, although it still seemed improbable that they had actually taken flight in Darcy’s town house. Also something about an ostrich… In any case, the material point was that something had happened after the hot air balloon episode, and that something was the conversation he vaguely remembered overhearing between Darcy and the colonel. Archie. Perhaps he had dreamed it along with the colonel’s magic carpet, but he thought not. It seemed to have been a weighty and important conversation, but Bingley could not quite recall the subject. Something Darcy was not telling him? Something to do with a woman? Darcy had never explained what had happened with his cousin Anne in Kent. And, come to think of it, he had never confirmed that it actually had been Anne at all. Perhaps it was some other lady who had turned Darcy down. Imagine that! If only he could reach through that evening’s brandy-induced haze to retrieve the memory of exactly what the two cousins had been talking about. Bingley’s train of thought was interrupted by Mrs. Reynolds’s entrance into the study. After a proper greeting was exchanged, Bingley enquired about the availability of his dreamed-for meal and was delighted to discover that nearly all of it was already waiting in the kitchen. He was Mrs. R’s favourite bon vivant, and she was well acquainted with his culinary tastes. She clucked and fussed a bit because the berry tarts would not be ready till the next day—when she had expected him to arrive. Bingley suddenly realised that Mrs. R might be curious about Georgiana’s whereabouts, and he was sorely relieved when she bustled out of the room without enquiring after the girl. After her departure, the friends settled into their chairs by the window. Darcy’s knee was bouncing up and down, Bingley noted with surprise. How annoying. No wonder his sisters, his aunts, and Darcy himself constantly chastised Bingley about his own free-spirited limbs. Limbs. He remembered Darcy’s limbs, his legs in particular, stretched high up on the wall that evening, the evening of the billiards contest for the ages. He had looked so relaxed then, even elegant in his drunken melancholy, whilst he was agitated now. Rather as he had been back on that long, cold night in January when they had discussed his verbal parries with Miss Elizabeth. What had that been about, anyway? “Darcy, tell me about Miss Elizabeth’s visit. Did you know she would be at Pemberley? Was it a surprise or a planned rendezvous?” He waggled his eyebrows to emphasise his clever joke. “For God’s sake, Bingley. What do you imply? Miss Elizabeth and I are merely acquaintances in a tenuous sort of manner. She is travelling with her aunt and uncle, they stopped here and walked the gardens, and they encountered me only because I arrived a day earlier than expected. In fact, they believed that none of the family were here.” Darcy glared at Bingley, his face flushed and eyes bright. He clanked his teacup down on the saucer with no little discomposure and poured a bit of brandy into a nearby glass. He eyed it then took a deep swallow. “In what manner did you encounter her? Them?” “Oh. I rode in, felt a bit overheated in the sun, and stopped by the pond. Aeschylus needed a drink.” The Greek steed. That fine piece of horseflesh had a sweet disposition and a white heart-shaped dot on the tip of his nose, and Darcy had named him after a poet instead of something truly memorable such as Avenger, Sport, or Thunder. The man was hopeless. “Did your horse push you into the pond? Is that why you are still a bit damp?” Darcy froze. “Good God, Darcy! Did Miss Elizabeth see you this way, soaked and dishevelled?” “Of course not. I had changed my clothing.” Darcy abruptly stood and walked across the room to an ornate mirror. He grimaced at his reflection and began smoothing back his hair. He straightened his coat and turned around. “In any case, Miss Elizabeth and her family are still in Lambton.” Upon hearing this, Bingley heaved a great sigh of relief and then tried to cover it up by rubbing his stomach in a gesture of exaggerated hunger. He would still have a chance to hear news of Jane! Darcy continued, “I have made arrangements to see them tomorrow morning at the inn where they are staying. After Georgiana arrives, that is. Would you like to join us?” Georgiana? Why did Darcy wish to introduce Georgiana to Miss Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle? She was so shy that it surely would be torture for her. In any case, Bingley did not wish to talk about Georgiana, in particular why and how he had left her at the mercy of his awful sisters. Never mind that. The important question was: Did he want to visit Miss Elizabeth tomorrow? By Jove, yes, he did! “Oh, yes, indeed!” he blurted before continuing on with barely suppressed eagerness. “I mean, that sounds capital. It will be delightful to see her again after all this time. I hope her family is well.” Her family—especially Jane. Oh, it really was tragic that she had never shared his feelings: the warmth and love and admiration. “Yes, she said that they are well,” Darcy replied with a slight smile. “A number of times.” She said who was what? Lost in his daydream about Jane, Bingley could not remember, but he supposed it did not matter over much. “I say, old man, I look forward to observing the two of you spar and joust!” he exclaimed with great jocularity. “You and Miss Elizabeth have a great talent for spirited conversation. Perhaps I can learn from you, and it can help me capture the right lady’s heart.” He still had some doubts about whether that was really what he was looking for in a lady. But he supposed he should jolly Darcy along since it seemed to be what his friend was seeking in a mate. “Honestly, Bingley, you make it sound as though I have some sort of interest in Miss Elizabeth. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am appalled that you would even joke about such a thing.” Oh dear. Perhaps he had gone too far. Darcy had always made it abundantly clear just exactly what he thought of Miss Elizabeth. So what exactly was the man looking for in a lady besides all those things he had listed back in January? Love, connection, sparring, destiny, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam. Oho! At last, he had used a Latin phrase correctly! Or had he? Perhaps this was the one that meant “beware of dog.” Where was that blasted food?
What do you think? It is pretty amusing. Reading Bingley’s thoughts is like his letter in the novel. I think this will be a very enjoyable book to read. Participate below in the giveaway but do not miss the other posts on this blog tour.
Would you like to buy this book? Here you have some sites where you can find it:
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and dailycommenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified.
One winner per contest. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.
“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” —Persuasion Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after. In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s brave adventuresses, her shy maidens, her talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity. Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism. “Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; —that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” —Mary Wollstonecraft Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * Nicole Clarkston * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Jenetta James * Jessie Lewis * KaraLynne Mackrory * Lona Manning * Christina Morland * Beau North * Sophia Rose * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams * Edited by Christina Boyd * Foreword by Devoney Looser
Hello! I am not sure I have a lot more to say now than… finally!! Christina Boyd has done it again: editing a great piece of art with great authors and this time… the ladies are the protagonists! I am still reading Rational Creatures but I can tell you that it is AWESOME 🙂 After having Mr Darcy and his own thoughts and then some dangerous men… we can read some very rational creatures who will tell their stories for us to discover them and know them better.
I have a lot to tell you today about this collection of stories but we have a protagonist today, well, two protagonists: Anngela Schroeder and Emma Woodhouse!
We will start with the real woman, the fictional one will have her say later on; although both are intertwined in this post.
ANNGELA SCHROEDERhas a degree in English with a concentration in British literature and a master’s in education. She has taught high school for twenty years and could imagine no job as fulfilling (other than maybe being Oprah). She loves to travel, bake, and watch college football with her husband of eighteen years and three rambunctious sons. Her weaknesses are yellow cake with chocolate frosting, a ripe watermelon, and her father’s Arabic food, namely grape leaves and falafel. She lives in California where she dreams of Disney adventures and trips across the pond. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram: Anngela Schroeder-Author, and Facebook:
Welcome Anngela Schroeder to My Vices and Weaknesses, thank you for answering some questions related to Rational Creatures.
1) Jane Austen wrote Emma as a heroine “whom no one but myself will much like.” Why do you think she said that?
Emma is much different that the heroines Jane Austen had written up to this point. From sensible Elinor and romantic Marianne, to strong Elizabeth and kind Jane, Emma runs in a completely different league. She is not only wealthy but will be independently wealthy upon the death of her father. She knows this; she knows she does not need a man to secure her future, nor does she actively seek one. She is that girl that everyone hates out of jealousy, but loves because although she’s the spoiled rich girl, she still means well through her naiveté. Emma is not as relatable as the other characters, yet we still find ourselves rooting for her and Mr. Knightley because of Mr. Knightley. Without his guidance to help her see her faults, she would succumb to her own arrogance. Just like us-without a good friend or a significant other to ‘ground us,’ we would succumb to our most unflattering characteristics.
2) What appealed to you about Emma for this anthology? Who else would you have liked to write about had Emma not been available?
Emma appealed to me because she was a challenge. I was not as familiar with her nuances as say Elizabeth Bennet, so I really had to research her. I had a few nights lying awake in bed worried about Emma and the road I was leading her down, and how she would retain her characteristics, but still show growth. I worked really hard and felt I captured her essence, but only the readers will know for sure.
If Emma had not been available, I would love to have written Charlotte Lucas. Charlotte created her future- she was a self-made ‘independent’ woman. I have always loved the idea of Charlotte’s motivation and her possibilities.
3) Feminism came years after Jane Austen. How do you define feminism? Do you consider Emma a feminist?
Feminism to me is equivocal to strength-strength of character and choices. Emma is a feminist, not by choice, but by circumstances. She is the mistress of Highbury, a substantial estate; she is treated as her father’s equal, and not a dependent because of her mother’s early death and her father’s reliance upon her. Emma is allowed to voice her opinions and is not made to feel any less because she has them. Her father, and his good friend Mr. Knightley, do not demean or dismiss her leading her to believe she is of worth. This if nothing else, would elevate her to the opinion that she should be taken seriously and has merit in all she does or thinks.
4) What did you like most about writing this story and being a part of this collection?
I loved watching Emma grow up, and giving her the story line and choices that forced her to do so. In Jane Austen’s original novel, she doesn’t experience true hardship; she is only vexed. Yes, the possibility of losing Mr. Knightley throws a wrench in her world, but I wanted her to truly experience uncertainty- that uncomfortable feeling that sits in the pit of your stomach and makes you reevaluate life. I wanted her to recognize, as other characters in the story do, that there was a world in which women were capable and complete; that one didn’t have to put up with other’s choices, but they themselves could create their own happiness. I loved Emma’s interactions, although limited, with Jane Fairfax. So much was said with so few words.
Being part of such a brilliant group of writers was more than I could have hoped for when I began self-publishing five years ago. In truth, I still fangirl over many of them when they publish a new book, and to see my name on the cover with them, and edited by Christina Boyd…I just want to post the cover on my parent’s refrigerator.
Thank you, Anngela, for being here today. I hope the readers may have found them very interesting as you have given a few tiny details that the good observer can easily detect and be intrigued: a wrench in her world, reevaluate the life, etc.
Anngela is sharing an excerpt of her story about Emma Knightley in Rational Creatures. I hope you like this excerpt and I wish you get the compilation asap. I am half way the collection of stories and I can only say: go girls!! As you know, I never say only one thing, so I will also say: one of the female characters that I did not particularly like, after reading her story, she has become a heroine for me!! I am not talking about Emma this time because I have always liked Emma even when she can be infuriating due to her matchmaking.
It was then that footsteps could be heard from his dressing room and she leaned over to blow out the candle on her bedside table before the door opened to reveal her husband.
Time had not been unkind to George Knightley—his features were showing little sign of aging with only flecks of silver shot through his dark mass of hair. His frame, silhouetted by the warm glow of the fire in the hearth, was still that of an avid sportsman, and Emma’s heart raced as he lifted the counterpane, slipping in next to her.
“Good evening, my dear Emma.” His fingertips traced her arms and he softly kissed her shoulder.
“Good evening, Mr. Knightley”—and she leaned to his touch.
“I am sorry I have been monopolized with Donwell business these last two days.”
“I thought you were avoiding me,” she said with a pout in her voice.
“Avoiding you, my Emma? Whatever for?” He kissed the back of her neck, sending shivers up her spine. “I have actually been thinking much of you lately.”
“I have. Have you not been thinking of me?” He kissed her again, causing her breath to catch.
“Yes, I have. I have been thinking of this moment for quite some time.”
“As have I,” he said with a smile which even in the dim light, she could not miss. “And what have you been thinking?”
She turned to face him. Tracing his jaw with her fingers, she slowly arched to kiss him, before pulling away. “I have been thinking about the Winthrops.”
“The Winthrops?” He sputtered. “What Winthrops?”
“I was hoping you could tell me.”
He sat up and leaned on his elbow, the counterpane falling across his waist. “I had not hoped to have this type of intercourse tonight.”
She ran her hand down his back and smiled at the tease in his voice. “I was just curious about the Winthrops.”
His laughter indicated his confusion. “The Winthrops? The family that used to live at Randalls years before the Westons?”
“Must we speak of them now? I have discussed business all day and would much rather enjoy my wife.” When she did not respond to his entreaties, he asked, “Why are you thinking about them? They were gone long before you would have any recollection of their family.”
She shrugged her shoulders and lamented her impulsiveness. “It is only that Miss Bates received a letter from Jane, and she was content reading the letter until she came to the name ‘Winthrop’. Then she was so flustered that she excused herself and babbled not another word until I called for our carriage to return her home. Does that not seem an oddity for Miss Bates?”
“Hmm?”—fidgeting with the covers—“I cannot imagine why you have that tone with me. You cannot have any reason to be exasperated when the uncertainty of my crimes loom before me. I am merely having a conversation with my husband.”
“A conversation at this precise moment, my dear wife, is your first crime.” He reached over and twirled the ends of her blonde curls in his fingers. “Your second is that you interrupted my pursuit solely to appease your curious mind about a missive from Jane to her aunt. That is a crime punishable with transport to Australia.” He slid his hand slowly down her arm before raising her hand and kissing the inside of her wrist. “The third: you are obviously on a meddling mission. Maybe some scheme involving Miss Bates. I will warn you now, under no circumstance, are you to allow that clever mind of yours to take up matchmaking again!”
“Matchmaking? I never said anything about a manor matchmaking!” She squealed, sitting up and clapping her hands. “I knew it! You must tell me, George. I have been riddled with curiosity.”
She could see the resignation in his face as he leaned back against the headboard. “Emma….”
“George, darling. I am a married woman of thirty-one. I have four children. Matchmaking was in my youth. I am only concerned for an old friend.”
She could feel him studying her and hoped her carefully regulated voice showed no cause for suspicion.
“Very well. I will tell you, Emma. But nomatchmaking.” She nodded soberly until he seemed to believe her, then began. “The Winthrops were a highly esteemed family who owned Randalls before it passed to the previous owner before the Westons.”
“Yes, that is what John said yesterday.”
“John? You have discussed this with my brother, then? You arequite invested—”
“Solely for a friend.”
He snorted. “Their brood was a few years older than John and me, save the youngest girl. But our mothers had been at school together, and so we were either at Randalls or they were at Donwell often. I am surprised John did not tell you this.”
“Oh, you know your brother. I suppose he could not stir himself to remember.” After a moment, she asked, “How would that have affected Miss Bates?”
“Their youngest son was the same age as Miss Bates—”
“Miss Bates is only few years older than you?”
“You knew that, Emma.”
“I most certainly did not!”
“Hetty was always amiable. She would make us little boats to sail on the pond when her father, the vicar, would call. She would play hide-and-seek and other childish games with us. Yet when Edmund Winthrop was visiting, we boys did not exist.”
“Did she set her cap at him?”
“We were never certain.”
Emma paused, absorbing the new information and then— “Forgive me. It is only that you seem so much younger than Miss Bates.”
Pulling her close, he laughed into her hair and said, “Because I chose wisely in a bride who would forever keep me young.” He tucked a curl behind her ear. “Now, the Winthrops. I must say, I remember a time when John and I were quite disgusted with Edmund and would have challenged him if we could have formulated the idea. We viewed Hetty Bates as quite our own and were quite put out when the Winthrops visited at the same time.”
“Youwere smitten with Miss Bates?” she asked in disbelief. “George, I must say, all I thought I knew of the world is now amiss.”
A deep chuckle rolled from his lips. “Now you are being nonsensical. I am relating the musings of a young boy of ten who favored Miss Bates solely for her skills at making paper boats and pilfering lemon biscuits from her cook.”
“As long as anyfeelings you had for her were of a childish nature…” She kissed him now, reminding him that paper boats were for children and how there were many more advantages to choosing her.
“Emma, darling, you are the most infuriating woman!” He pulled her close and kissed her breathless. “Hetty Bates was a skilled paper boat builder. You, Mrs. Knightley, have other arts and allurements.”
“My Emma”… swoon!
What do you think about the Knightleys? I simply adore this story and I will just say a few things: Emma gets better with age, she is more clever than some people may expect and she loves her husband dearly and she will fight for their marriage. (Well… who does not love Mr Knightley? 😉 )
Why not buying today Rational Creatures? You could do it on the following links (check you Amazon site if it is not included below):
What a better ending of this post than having a great giveaway!!
Rational Creatures SUPER Giveaway: The Random Name Picker winner review all blog comments and select one winner from these blog stop comments during the tour for all 21 prizes: Winner’s choice of one title from each authors’ backlist (that’s 16 books, ebooks, or audiobooks), our bespoke t-shirt/soap/candle; #20, a brick in winner’s name to benefit #BuyABrick for Chawton House; and #21, the Quill Collective anthologies in ebook or audiobook.
Make sure you leave a comment to be entered to get a chance to win one of these prizes!
The giveaway ends November 15th, 2018 and is open to international winners.
I am extremely happy to introduce a new author here in My Vices and Weaknesses. You may think that I am always happy to do that, and yes, it is true. However, I am even a bit happier this time as we have Belén Paccagnella, an Argentinian author, that’s it, a Spanish-speaking person! As a Spanish-speaking person myself, I am extremely glad to have even more people from other nationalities involved in JAFF. I know… we already have Rumanian, French, Pakistani and many other nationalities, which is awesome; but, as I said, this is the first Spanish-speaking author that I am introducing and I am excited!!
Too much preamble already, please welcome: Belén Paccagnella.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belén Paccagnella discovered the world of Jane Austen fan fiction after watching the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. In her teens, she lived in Brazil when her family moved to the city of Curitiba due to her father’s work. She moved back to Buenos Aires a few years later, where she studied agronomy but finally pursued a different career and started working in the development administration of shopping centres.
In 2001, she started writing both Regency and modern stories adapted from the Pride and Prejudice storyline, merging drama, humour, and adventure while creating characters with unique traits.
Belén still lives in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where she shares her home with her daughter and her pets while spending her time working, reading, and writing.
Belén is bringing us Obstacles, a modern Pride and Prejudice variation that I have enjoyed very much.
Not all obstacles are restricted to the show-jumping arena… Though Elizabeth Bennet lives an uneventful life instructing young equestrians at Longbourn, the family farm, she dreams of winning a show-jumping competition on Liddy, her spirited mare. But her life is upended when a team of world-renowned riders arrives at Netherfield, the neighbouring estate, and uses it as their training headquarters. As she assists the newcomers and their prize-winning mounts, she meets William Darcy, a wealthy and arrogant—albeit talented—rider with Olympic aspirations. He first insults and then ignores Elizabeth, and her feelings teeter between disgust at his hauteur and admiration for his equestrian prowess. As she discovers first-hand the rigors of a world for the elite, will Elizabeth change her perspective about love, trust, and the foibles of her own family?
Originally known as Obstacles to Overcome, Obstacles pays homage to Pride and Prejudice in the highly competitive world of equestrian show jumping.
Do you want to buy the book? You could do it here:
Very entertaining modern variation of Pride and Prejudice. Darcy is a top horse rider and Elizabeth is an amateur rider/trainer who actually starts working as a “stable boy” for Darcy when he and his team come to work near where she lives. As you can imagine: an insult here, ignoring there, Wickham over there and so on = Elizabeth hates Darcy.
The main theme here is horses and riding in the higher level of competitions, which is a topic that I knew very little and it is refreshing. Moreover, Belén Paccagnella shows us a very “funny” Bennet family. Jane is a bit more modern, she is heartbroken when Bingley leaves but she quickly recovers after all and takes the most of it. Mary is.. how can I say it… weird? extravagant? special? I am sorry for describing like that, I tend to like Mary, but I think you will laugh at her hobby that may become an occupation… Then we have Kitty, a bit Lydia-like if I may say so… Fanny Bennet is a bit more psychoanalysed and she has a really good moment before the epilogue. Thomas Bennet… hmmm… I have not really liked him. I imagine that Belén has redeemed him on the second part of the book when he is not really against the couple. Even though, I did not like his behaviour.
there is a very nice happy ending with a lovely epilogue.
I have found this Elizabeth even more obstinate, headstrong girl on the first half of the book until they “solve” their problems and misunderstandings. She is extremely against Darcy. We could say that his first declaration of attraction was not only offensive because he talked badly about her family in negative terms… maybe, again, it was misunderstood.
Darcy is clueless and Elizabeth too when it comes to understanding each other and thanks to Ann(e) de Bourgh and Lady Catherine, sí sí (yes yes), thanks to them, everything starts to straighten out. I have enjoyed soooo much the scene with Elizabeth and Ann!! It is so well prepared, just remember: it is a trap!!
I would just point out that England’s Hottest Horseman (EHH) is really sweet although not always in the way that another person may expect.
Charlotte Lucas is more jovial and maybe Wilbur Collins is pedantic, but he is a good man… apparently.
George Wickham… despicable. Where you expecting something different from him?
Question: what if he is the one? just the one? no one else? I found this extremely sweet. (Are you a bit lost? Read the book 😉 )
Do not miss excerpts, interviews and much more about Obstacles.
Eight eBooks copies of Obstacles! The international giveaway runs until midnight, September 30, 2018. You do not have many obstacles to participate, just click on the link below and follow the steps. Please read the terms and conditions below. Buena suerte 🙂
Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or a review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. If an entrant does not do so, that entry will be disqualified. There will be one winner per contest and each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter.
Muchas gracias, Belén, por estar hoy con mis lectores, no son muchos de momento pero son fieles y muy simpáticos 🙂