From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
We are very happy to welcome Austenesque author Kara Louise to Austenprose today to introduce you to her latest novel, Mr. Darcy’s Rival.
Kara has several Jane Austen-inspired novels in print including Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, Pirates & Prejudice, and Darcy’s Voyage.
I hope you enjoy this exclusive excerpt and guest blog with the author.
Mr. Darcy has learned he must prepare himself when he and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, make their yearly visit to his aunt, particularly when it comes to Lady Catherine’s expectation that he marry her daughter, Anne.
This year, however, will throw in a few additional obstacles to Darcy’s peace of mind with the presence of a nephew on the de Bourgh side of the family, and quite unexpectedly, Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
An interrupted proposal, a letter written and unknowingly lost, a harsh accusation, and a rival all conspire to thwart Mr. Darcy in securing Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s affections when he visits his aunt at Rosings.
Will Elizabeth find the handsome and engaging Mr. Rickland more suited to her than Mr. Darcy? And will a novel she reads that was written secretly by Miss Anne de Bourgh help smooth the path to the couple finding true love?
Thank you, Laurel Ann, for allowing me to come and share my new book, Mr. Darcy’s Rival, with your readers. To begin, I thought I would give you these two definitions.
Mr. Darcy: (from Wikipedia) Fitzwilliam Darcy, generally referred to as Mr. Darcy, is one of the two central characters in Jane Austen‘s novel Pride and Prejudice. He is an archetype of the aloof romantic hero, and a romantic interest of Elizabeth Bennet, the novel’s protagonist… well, I think we know the rest.
Rival: (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary) 1) a person or thing that tries to defeat or be more successful than another; 2) something or someone that is as good or almost as good as another person or thing; 3) one of two or more striving to reach or obtain something that only one can possess
In Mr. Darcy’s Rival, we are introduced to a new character. Mr. Matthew Rickland is the nephew of Sir Lewis de Bourgh and has been at Rosings for about two weeks before Darcy and his cousin arrive. This gives him a little advantage over Mr. Darcy in having been able to spend time with Elizabeth Bennet and getting to know her quite well. She finds him a friendly, good-natured, and most proper gentleman.
When Darcy and his cousin arrive at Rosings, there is the typical surprise at discovering Elizabeth is just across the lane at Hunsford Parsonage. But only one man can win her heart. Will both men strive to do whatever he can – and how far will each go – to attain it?
When I first announced I was writing a book titled Mr. Darcy’s Rival, several people expressed their excitement saying they love stories where Mr. Darcy has a rival. I don’t think it is particularly rare, as even in Jane Austen’s novel, Mr. Wickham is somewhat of a rival in the beginning. My last novel, Pirates and Prejudice, had a rival, and I know there have been many more written by other authors.
Darcy forced himself to turn the page of his book. It would not do to have his cousin notice he was not devouring the book, as he normally did.
Despite being so different from the type of woman others expected him to marry – and even the type of woman he expected to marry – he could not put Miss Elizabeth Bennet out of his thoughts.
Since he had come to Kent, each encounter had revealed more and more about her he found engaging. She had such lively intelligence, a quick sense of humor, and then there were her very fine eyes. She took delight in such simple things. He could readily see how the other two men admired her. He was certain Fitzwilliam would heartily approve a marriage between himself and Elizabeth.
He thought of Rickland and grumbled. Ever since returning from their walk yesterday, the man’s attitude towards him had altered. He either avoided him, ignored him, or when he could do neither, he was blatantly uncivil to him.
It was worse after the incident in the turret. Rickland had not directly accused him of anything, but Darcy knew he had been angry when it was discovered the telescope was pointed directly at the parsonage. He wished to defend his actions, but he could not. It was true he merely happened to see Elizabeth walking outside the parsonage in the garden. He watched her lean over to smell the flowers. As he had watched her, he could readily imagine her walking through the flower garden at Pemberley, and he chose not to look away.
She had had such a lovely look upon her face. She was alone and appeared most content. He would like to believe it was due to him. Were her affections as engaged with him as he were with her? The joy he saw written in her face and in the liveliness of her movements was certainly how she made him feel. He had never felt so much joy in the presence of a woman. Only Georgiana came close.
Darcy lifted his eyes and looked at Rickland. He wondered, for the first time, if the man had more than a passing interest in Elizabeth. Could he be a rival for her affections? He shook his head. He had readily seen from the beginning Rickland enjoyed Elizabeth’s company, but he attributed it to her lively and engaging manners. He surmised Rickland would not have any real interest in a woman unless she had a great fortune. He bit his lip and furrowed his brow as he contemplated this.
“Is the book that bad?” Colonel Fitzwilliam suddenly asked. “Or are you just in a foul mood this evening?”
“No, I am not in a foul mood. I am rather…“ He clenched his jaw. “My mind is engaged in a dilemma of sorts.”
He could not prevent his gaze from going over to Rickland, who was seated next to Lady Catherine, listening inattentively to her most recent complaints. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Anne looking at him. When he looked her way, she met his gaze for a moment before looking back down to begin writing again.
“A dilemma, eh?” The colonel asked, apparently curious for more information.
Darcy shook his head. “Nothing of great import.” He looked back at his book and abruptly turned the page, despite not having read it. He gripped the book tightly as he considered his last statement. On the contrary, it was of great import, if he were to make an offer of marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
Kara Louise began writing Jane Austen inspired stories in 2001 and has currently written nine novels, including Darcy’s Voyage and Only Mr. Darcy Will Do, which were both published by Sourcebooks. Her seven other novels are self-published, including the most recent release, Mr. Darcy’s Rival. She is also one of the contributing authors from the austenvariations.com blog. Kara and her husband live in St. Louis, Missouri area near her son and first grandchild. They live on five acres in a wooded area with their five cats, one dog, and a Shetland Pony.
Mr. Darcy’s Rival: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Kara Louise
Heartworks Publication (2015)
Trade paperback & eBook (362) pages
We received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image courtesy of Heartworks Publication © 2015; excerpt Kara Louise © 2015, austenprose.com
Hello Dear Readers,
Have you read any of the other novels by Kara Louise?
If you enjoy Austenesque fiction with witty dialogue, engaging plots, and endearing characters, Austenprose recommends them.
Drop us a line below and share your thoughts on this review and what you are currently reading! We would love to hear from you!
Laurel Ann Nattress, editor