We are very happy to share the news of the recent publication of Alexa Adams’ next novel, The Madness of Mr. Darcy, just released on September 14, 2014 by Presumptuous Press. Those who are familiar with Alexa’s Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice series: First Impressions, Second Glances, and Holidays at Pemberley, and those who enjoy Austenesque fiction, will be interested to learn about this new Pride and Prejudice continuation featuring Mr. Darcy several years after the events in the original novel. Here is a brief preview and exclusive excerpt to peak your curiosity.
The year is 1832 and regrets beleaguer Fitzwilliam Darcy. All he ever cared for has been taken from him: his pride, his sister, and his true love, Elizabeth Bennet. Now, having nearly murdered a man in a fit of rage, he might lose Pemberley, too. More than just his home, his very identity is at stake. In desperation, he seeks the help of Dr. Frederick Wilson, owner and proprietor of Ramsey House, a madhouse for fine ladies and gentlemen. Is Darcy’s confinement the inevitable end to his tortured descent, or will he rediscover what he lost in the most unlikely of places?
“Lady Matlock! How nice to see you again,” he greeted, rising.
She exchanged the necessary pleasantries, settled herself on a sofa, looked at her husband with furtive inquisitiveness, and said, “I suppose you are here to speak of poor Darcy.”
“That is why I asked Sir Frederick to visit us, Anne, but his time here need not be entirely devoted to business.”
“It need not comprise of business at all!” she retorted. “I appreciate your interest, Sir Frederick, but I do not think my cousin can benefit from your unique treatment at this time, nor do I think he would appreciate such intervention. You are, of course, welcome to all the hospitality of the house, but your professional services are unneeded.”
Lord Matlock glanced at Sir Frederick before replying. “I do not propose to have Darcy committed, my dear. I think if Sir Frederick were to speak to him, he might find the kind of assistance provided helpful.”
“How can the dishonor of being proclaimed insane possibly assist him now?” she questioned rhetorically. “He is already thought strange and unsociable. His life would be further damaged were it known he is mad.”
“I think you have some misconceptions regarding Ramsey House,” Sir Frederick interposed. “It is not a madhouse, at least not in the traditional sense. Think of it as no more than my home, as it is, to which certain select members of society, in need of some regulation in their lives, are invited to reside until able to resume their normal routines. Most of my guests, though a few are rather eccentric,” he chuckled, “are not really mad at all. Only lost. It is much like a spa, really, only I specialize in a very specific disease.”
”Your Ramsey House, Sir Frederick, is not Bath,” she quipped. “I assume you know what my cousin did last autumn, do you not?”
“And how is such behavior supposed to blend harmoniously into the genteel establishment you describe?”
Sir Frederick continued, “Your cousin, I suspect, is just the person to benefit from the regimen at Ramsey House. He has been suffered to isolate himself from the world, indulging brooding and unhealthful thoughts. I have known other such cases. With treatment, Mr. Darcy will be able to resume his former life.”
“It has been a long time since Darcy lived a normal life. It was long before Georgiana’s death, maybe eight years or more so, that he first seemed to lose his way.” The earl stared out a nearby window, reminiscing.
Lady Matlock ignored her husband. “What do you mean by treatment?”
“Ramsey House is really a rather radical place, Lady Matlock.” Sir Frederick could not repress a smile at her alarmed response to these words. “What distinguishes it from the other many variations on a madhouse, if you will, is that I prescribe that same exclusive treatment to quality patients that the poor have been benefitting from for three decades or more. My colleagues like to think that a gentleman, being unaccustomed to work, cannot benefit from it. They could not be more mistaken! His lordship, remembering his days of service to the kingdom, can surely attest to the inanity of the assumption.”
“Indeed,” said his lordship, somewhat surprised, “I never knew the spoiled young gentleman who did not improve for a solid week of marching!”
“Precisely! It was the experience of being drilled by you, sir, which first taught me the connection between mental balance and bodily exertion. I developed the theory through my travels and studies following Waterloo. As a guest of Ramsey House,” he refocused his words on Lady Matlock, “Mr. Darcy will be asked to spend his mornings in healthy exercise, your ladyship, in order to pump blood to the brain and bring the humors into alignment. In every other sense, his life will resemble that of any country gentleman’s as much as possible, but he will be forced to socialize, reinforcing the proper manners and behaviors to which he has for so long been under no obligation to attend. Unlike other such places, we encourage the gentlemen and ladies to socialize regularly, so important in encouraging unexceptionable manners! This is the benefit of accepting only the best quality of person amongst us.” He shook his head sadly. “If we allowed the true maniacs in, we would have to operate very differently than we currently are at liberty to do. Lord Matlock,” he turned towards that gentleman, “you said Mr. Darcy’s behavior changed long before his sister’s tragic death. When did you last see your cousin himself, or rather, what he was?”
“It was in the year Twelve,” her ladyship replied on his behalf. “You remember, Lord Matlock, that last Easter he spent here. He never visited Rosings again, much to my mother’s annoyance.”
“And how did his behavior change after that?” he pursued.
“It was very strange,” his lordship said. “He left London that season seeming mostly himself. Perhaps a bit glum, though nothing like what was to follow. Something happened that summer, and he never was quite the same again.”
“That was twenty years ago,” Sir Frederick said with some wonder, and a slight tone of accusation. “How is it that you never sought to intervene before he became violent? You must have suspected he was not well.”
The earl and countess looked at each other a bit guiltily. Neither spoke for a moment, until Lady Matlock provided their excuses for such neglect. “Cousin Darcy was always taciturn,” she rationalized. “It was not immediately apparent that his behavior had changed so much, and by the time it was,” she glanced again at her husband, “it was too late.”
A devoted reader of Jane Austen since her childhood, Alexa Adams is the author of Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice (First Impressions, Second Glances, and Holidays at Pemberley), the novellas Emma & Elton: Something Truly Horrid and Jane & Bingley: Something Slightly Unsettling, and the short story collection And Who Can be in Doubt of What Followed?: The Novels of Jane Austen Continued. Her next novella, Becoming Mrs. Norris, will be published on November 1st. Alexa resides in Delaware with her husband, daughter, and cat. When not daydreaming of life a few hundred years ago, she enjoys mythology, theater, yoga, and crafts. Please visit her on her blog Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice, follow her on Twitter as @ElegantExtracts, and check out her latest news on her Facebook page Alexa Adams Author.
The Madness of Mr. Darcy, by Alexa Adams
Presumptuous Press (2014)
Trade paperback & eBook (308) pages
Image of the cover and excerpt courtesy of Presumptuous Press © 2014; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2014, Austenprose.com