It is my pleasure to introduce a new book by author Shannon Winslow to our readers today. Writer of several popular Austenesque novels, Shannon will be releasing Miss Georgian Darcy of Pemberley on July 21, 2015.
A companion novel to her best-selling The Darcys of Pemberley, the story is told from the point of view of Mr. Darcy’s little sister Georgiana and parallels the events we experienced in the first novel. Here for your enjoyment is a preview and exclusive excerpt.
What’s Georgiana Darcy’s story? Jane Austen tells us so little in Pride and Prejudice that we’re left to wonder. How did the early loss of her parents shape Miss Darcy’s character? And what about her near-disastrous affair with Mr. Wickham? Is that the true source of her shyness? She adores her brother and his new wife Elizabeth, but will their guiding influence be enough to steer Georgiana clear of new trouble as she comes of age and falls in love again?
This work is intended as a companion of sorts to The Darcys of Pemberley (sequel to Pride and Prejudice), with the timelines of the two running parallel. Both novels are unique and complete in themselves, but together they supply a richer reading experience than either one alone. The earlier book focused primarily on Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship during their early married life. There was a third Darcy represented in the title, however. Now she and her courtship story take center stage in Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley.
Perhaps if I had not been so fully occupied with my own situation, I might have noticed the change in my sister’s state of health sooner. I might have marked the alteration in her appetite. I might have likewise detected her especial glow of spirits and the more tender care my brother suddenly took of her. But all these clues were lost on me. As I wrote to Andrea, the news took me completely by surprise. When Elizabeth told me, I reacted just as I reacted to nearly everything else at the time; I promptly burst into tears.
“My dear, my dear,” cried Elizabeth. “Why so sad? This is happy news! Indeed, I thought you would be as pleased about it as your brother and I are.”
I blotted my tears and schooled my countenance into a more appropriate expression as quickly as I could. “I am pleased,” I managed to say in a shaky voice. “Very much so! I don’t know what is the matter with me. I do beg your pardon, Lizzy.”
“Never mind about that. I was only worried that I had somehow distressed you, which is the last thing I would have wanted.”
“It was the shock; that is all.”
“Yes, the shock,” she repeated, although I felt sure we were both thinking that some part must be attributed to my fragile emotional state in general. “I should have prepared you for it and not just blurted the thing out to you so precipitously. I have known about it for weeks, and your brother nearly as long. But, once we decided it was time to tell you, I’m afraid I was too excited for patience. I had hoped it would cheer you. This is something we may all look forward to with pleasure.”
“I agree. And it really does cheer me, I promise you.” I then embraced her to carry home my point.
“Good,” she said decisively upon drawing back again. “Then go say as much to your brother. He wanted me to break the news, but he is waiting in the library to hear how you bear it. Perhaps you will not think it necessary to bother him with how much of a start I gave you just now. I must have a flair for the dramatic. Someday ask me to tell you the clever way I found to deliver the news to him. Then, I think, you will be more satisfied with the manner in which I told you.”
Elizabeth laughed with delight at her private joke, but I did not wait to demand her explanation then. Instead, I hurried to the library to congratulate William.
Their excellent news really did go a long way towards breaking through my perpetual state of gloom. I could feel the clouds that had long shrouded my spirit lifting a little more each day after that. Some credit for my improvement must also go to the season itself, for I could not help but feel more optimistic with the days growing longer, the flowers blooming, and my power to take regular airings restored. Resuming my charity calls proved likewise beneficial. No matter how determined I might have been before to imagine myself the most unfortunate creature in the world, it was no longer possible once confronted with irrefutable evidence to the contrary. Although I will not discount the genuine pain that stems from matters of the heart, others had the same and so much more to deal with. At least I had no worry, as many in the parish did, for my health or for how I was to keep my family clothed and fed. When I compared my privileged circumstances to what some suffered, I was truly ashamed for every minute I had ever wasted on self-pity.
No, I would not have the idyllic life I had imagined with ________. That had been pure fantasy. It was now time to take a more realistic view of things, to assess the actual state of affairs honestly and without undue emotion. I was young, after all. I had excellent prospects, and every other cause to hope for a bright future. It was not sensible to suppose that ________ was the only man on earth with whom I could ever be reasonably content. That would be far too perverse to be true. Romantic love was all very well, but it was not the only determiner of happiness in marriage. Many highly successful unions were founded on more practical considerations, I reminded myself. Friendship came first; love might follow. It oftentimes did, I understood. It would probably be the same for me.
In the most logical portion of my mind, I believed these things. My heart, however, remained less convinced. It lagged far behind in its willingness to give assent to a different standard of happiness, especially when I considered the model of a good marriage closest to me. Every day I observed William and Elizabeth’s example. Every day I saw how they loved and doted on one another, so much so that I occasionally had to avert my eyes from it. To do otherwise would have been to feel myself the voyeur.
They did not mean to embarrass me or make a show. Indeed, I daresay they had no idea their mutual ardor was blazing bright enough for anybody else to see. It was just that, in the privacy of their own home, they were less guarded in their behavior than with strangers. I think they sometimes forgot I was even present. Then there would be a brief, caressing touch between them, a significant look, a knowing remark…
I do not pretend to understand all the mysteries of what passes between a husband and his wife. I only know that my own heart yearns to discover these same marvels for itself. What I mean to say is that my brother and his wife did not settle for less than the ideal, and I hoped not to either.
And yet, one does not always immediately recognize who is (or is not) one’s ideal partner. Consider how wrong I had been about Wickham’s character. Now, in ________, I had imagined a lover where there was only a friend. And Elizabeth herself had proved the truth of this idea by misjudging my brother at first. It was from her own experience that she had recently recommended to me that I should keep open to other possibilities. “Your future happiness may not lie where you think,” she had said.
Perhaps she was right. In fact, I earnestly hoped she was. With ________ lost to me now, I had no choice but to look elsewhere for the companion of my future life.
Shannon Winslow specializes in writing fiction for the fans of Jane Austen. Her popular debut novel, The Darcys of Pemberley, immediately established her place in the genre, being particularly praised for authentic Austenesque style and faithfulness to the original characters. Since that bright beginning, the author has followed with two more Pride and Prejudice sequels (Return to Longbourn and Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley), a stand-alone Austen-style story (For Myself Alone), and a novel starring Jane Austen herself (The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen). With no shortage of inspiration, Winslow promises more romance and happy endings to come.
Her two sons now grown, Shannon Winslow lives with her husband in the log home they built in the countryside south of Seattle, where she writes and paints in her studio facing Mt. Rainier.
- Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley, by Shannon Winslow
- Heather Ridge Arts (2015)
- Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (280) pages
- ISBN: 978-0989025911
Cover image and book description courtesy of Heather Ridge Arts © 2015, text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2015, Austenprose.com