Please join us today in celebration of Mr. Darcy’s Secret, a new Pride and Prejudice continuation by author Jane Odiwe. Known for her historical accuracy and witty humor, Jane is the author of two previous Austen-inspired novels, Lydia Bennet’s Story and Willoughby’s Return. This is her first Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel.
Thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me as a guest onto your blog today to talk about Mr. Darcy’s Secret. I am thrilled to be here!
When I started writing my novel, although I knew that I wanted to write about Elizabeth and Darcy’s relationship, I also knew that I wanted very much to tell Georgiana’s story. If you remember from Pride and Prejudice, poor Georgiana almost suffered the same fate as Lydia did with Mr. Wickham. Georgiana fell for the latter’s charms, and even consented to an elopement. Fortunately for her, Mr. Darcy arrived on the scene to forestall Wickham’s plans to gain Georgiana’s money, as well as her heart. Georgiana is seen very much as the victim, especially when we learn that she is quiet, accomplished, and shy. In Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I wanted to see if Georgiana might be brought out of herself. I’d wondered if her shyness resulted from her experience with Wickham. After all, if she’d suffered a painful experience like that, learning that men outside her close circle were not to be trusted, perhaps that might account for some of her timidity. Once bitten, twice shy, is the saying that comes to mind.
As with all my books, I like to take the heroines on a journey, so I’m afraid it’s not plain sailing for Georgiana all the way. However, I wanted to find happiness for this amiable heroine even if she is torn for a while between duty and desire. Here’s a little extract; I hope you enjoy it.
Mr. Thomas Butler, the son of Mrs. Gardiner’s friend is one of the new landscape gardeners. When he is invited to draw up some plans at Pemberley for a new feature in the grounds, Georgiana is keen to take a peep at him from a distance but feels far too shy to be introduced again.
Georgiana knew that Tom Butler had arrived, for she had been watching for him after breakfast from the safety of her sitting room, which afforded a splendid view of the drive and the little bridge crossing the stream, over which all visitors must come. She was thinking about how she might start another drawing on a completely new subject and considering how unnecessary it was to go and introduce herself to Mr Butler again. After all, he was here to do some work for her brother and he would be completely taken up with that. Georgiana positioned two vases of varying heights with a Chinese bowl into a suitable arrangement and was just sharpening her pencil with the knife she used specially for the purpose when there came a rapid knock upon her door.
It was Lizzy looking most harried. “Oh, Georgiana, I am in a panic. Will you help me? I had completely forgotten that I promised Mrs Gardiner that I would take her to see the market and shops in Matlock whilst she is here. It is market day today and there will not be an opportunity to go again before the Christmas festivities begin. She was so looking forward to going with the idea of looking for small gifts for the children.”
“Oh, Lizzy, I know what you are about to say. Please do not ask me!”
“Please, Georgiana, you have only to take Mr Butler to the upper slopes where we walked and then you may leave him. I beg you; no one else will do. I feel it looks bad enough that I am not going to be here to do the honours, but at least with you, the other mistress of the house, I shall not feel quite as if I have neglected my duties so much. Please say you will help me.”
Mrs Darcy’s expression was such that it was quite beyond Georgiana’s power to refuse her; indeed, she felt she could never refuse anything Elizabeth asked of her. Lizzy was so kind, always behaving like the sister she had never had. How could she decline such an appeal to be of assistance?
“Very well, Lizzy, I do it because I love you, my dearest sister, but I have to tell you that every inclination in my body is against it.”
“Thank you, my dearest girl,” said Lizzy, not stopping to assuage Georgiana’s feelings further with any more platitudes. “Come, make haste, there is not a moment to lose. I’ve left the poor man in the library looking at a stack of your sketches. I told him I would be back in seconds.”
“Oh, Lizzy, how could you show him my poor sketches?” cried Georgiana.
“Listen, not only are they remarkable drawings, but also you will have something to talk about, so you need not feel so shy,” added Lizzy, taking her sister’s hand and almost pulling her out of the room.
Mrs Darcy left Georgiana at the library door, running away before the latter had a chance to change her mind. With her heart hammering, Georgiana observed Mr Butler through the open door. He was sitting at a table by the window and so engrossed with the drawings before him that he was unconscious of her presence. Dressed very smartly in a dark blue coat, and with his hair falling in fair tendrils against his collar, he made a pleasing picture. His long fingers seemed almost to caress the paper, so gently did he turn the pages. Georgiana watched his hands and noted not only his movements, but also his quiet strength. “He does have an expression of kindness,” she thought…
© Jane Odiwe, Mr. Darcy’s Secret, Sourcebooks, February 2011
Jane Odiwe is the author of Effusions of Fancy, Lydia Bennet’s Story, Willoughby’s Return and Mr Darcy’s Secret – all Austen-inspired books. She a member of the Jane Austen Society, the Society of Authors and the Romantic Novelist’s Association. In addition to her many writing talents, Jane is an accomplished artist. She lives with her family in North London and Bath, England. You can visit her on her website Austen Effusions and her blog Jane Austen Sequels.
Grand Giveaway of Mr. Darcy’s Secret
Thanks Jane for sharing this excerpt from Mr. Darcy’s Secret. It is a glorious, romantic and humorous ride to the Lake District with the Darcys. Please check out my review and enter a chance to win one of five copies available by leaving a comment by midnight March 9, 2010 PT sharing what intrigues you about this new novel or what you enjoy most about Jane Odiwe’s writing. Winners to be announced on Thursday, March 10, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only.
© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose