It’s raining Austenesque books! Last month, according to the industrious Meredith at Austenesque Reviews, there were 52 new Jane Austen-inspired books released in January 2020. 50 of those were Pride and Prejudice variations. That is a lot of Lizzy and Darcy!
I’d like to spotlight the two authors who went out on a limb and wrote non-P&P stories: Emma the Matchmaker: An Austen Inspired Romantic Comedy (Austen Series, Book 2), by Rachel John (audiobook), and Off Script (A Seeking Mansfield Companion Novel Book 3), by Kate Watson. My congratulations ladies. You win the Austenesque Sunshine and Syllabub Prize for bravery.
Among the throng of Lizzy and Darcy “what if’s” published last month was Two More Days at Netherfield, by Heather Moll, a variation of the classic love story with a twist. Moll’s story explores what happens when Elizabeth and her sister Jane’s visit to Netherfield is extended by two days. Could additional conversations with Mr. Darcy change Lizzy’s feelings for him?
This is Moll’s second Austenesque novel after her debut, His Choice of a Wife, released last year. It was a Pride and Prejudice variation also. I sense a strong flame burning for this novel and its characters by this author. Here is a book description from the publisher and an exclusive excerpt from the author for your enjoyment.
While her sister Jane is ill at Netherfield, Elizabeth Bennet overhears Miss Bingley and the proud Mr Darcy discussing his admiration of Elizabeth and her fine eyes. Not sure what to think of his praise after all of their previous disagreements, and more flattered than she wants to admit, Elizabeth teases him for the disparaging remark he made about her at the Meryton Assembly. Darcy is then forced to reconsider his opinion of a woman who has truly bewitched him more than any other.
The result of this unintended eavesdropping leads to confrontations and apologies on both sides and, eventually, the beginnings of a friendship between Darcy and Elizabeth. Their warming acquaintance impacts the courtship of Darcy’s friend and Elizabeth’s sister, the jealous temper of Miss Bingley, and even the behavior of Mr. Wickham after he arrives in Meryton.
How are the events of the winter drastically affected by the Bennet sisters choosing to spend two more days at Netherfield?
SETUP BY THE AUTHOR:
Hello Laurel Ann and thank you for featuring my new novel today. I’ve been a fan of Austenprose for years, so I am very pleased and proud to share Two More Days at Netherfield with you and your readers. This excerpt takes place on Monday, November 18—the day after Jane and Elizabeth returned home in canon. Darcy and Elizabeth have a friendlier relationship by this point in the story and are returning to Netherfield after a walk to Meryton. Darcy is deeply troubled by something that happened while they were there, and Elizabeth is trying to cheer him up and distract him by talking about their families.
They reached a fence separating one field from the next, and Darcy crossed the stile and reached back to hand her down. Elizabeth tried her best to appear unmoved when his fingers curled around her own. When she reached the other side, she smiled to show her thanks before they set off again. As he returned her smile, she felt herself flush.
“Your family situation is different, I imagine,” Elizabeth continued, acting unaffected. “You have one sister whereas I have four, and your titled connexions are greater than mine.”
“Connexions to people of rank aside, I agree my situation is dissimilar to yours. An only son, for many years an only child, I was spoilt by my parents. I was provided with whatever I desired as though I was entitled not based on my conduct but by my station. Although it ultimately encouraged me to be selfish, being an only son also made me conscientious, forward-looking, and responsible.”
After she accepted the truth of those positive attributes, an amusing idea came to Elizabeth. She tried to remember Darcy’s temperament, but a chuckle escaped. He raised an eyebrow as he looked at her.
“It is natural that as a beloved, nearly only child, you were spoiled by your parents. I laugh because you have something in common with Lydia: both of you were spoiled and overindulged!”
“Let us end that distressing conversation now.” Darcy spoke with his usual gravity, but Elizabeth knew not to be offended by his manner. At least he allowed her a brief laugh at his expense.
“Very well, sir, I would be delighted to defer to your preference for our next topic.” Elizabeth batted her eyelids and offered a submissive, unemotional smile. To her surprise, instead of an amused reaction, her attempt at soliciting his opinion in the manner of the ton’s marriageable young ladies made Darcy recoil.
“Never look on me that way again. Is that another skill of a lady who is deemed accomplished? Do all mothers instil in their daughters the talent for excessive attention to a gentleman’s preferences?”
“I cannot say it is so in my own case. My mother did not insist on her daughters being accomplished in spite of incapacity or distaste, and so I was allowed to leave off both drawing and affected pandering to single gentlemen.”
Darcy only smiled; it was genuine and reached his eyes, but she was hoping to hear him laugh.
“I was a trial to my mother, I suspect. I was fond of boys’ play and preferred them to dolls.”
“You would have me believe you shirked your lessons to play ball with the neighbourhood boys?”
“I never shirked my lessons, but I preferred to be out of doors. Moreover, my mother said I was noisy, and I hated cleanliness.” Elizabeth smiled at the memory. “I preferred games with a ball and running about the country at twelve to curling my hair and attending balls.”
“Given that description, I fail to see how the transformation from tomboy to respectable young lady took place.”
“I shall tell you precisely how it happened: my mother brought Jane out when I was fourteen, and a curiosity about finery finally overcame my deep affection for dirt.”
An unfamiliar sound filled her ears: Darcy was laughing. He laughed in a deep, jovial way. His boyish smile, combined with the warmth of his laugh, sent a shiver down her spine.
“I know what you are doing: you mean to distract and amuse me, and I thank you for it. I confess, however, that I disbelieve part of your narrative, for I observed how you appeared when you arrived in the breakfast room last Wednesday,” he said with a knowing smile.
“Darcy, if you had known me when I was younger, you would have been impressed it was only my petticoats that were covered in mud.”
His smile deepened again into laughter, and Elizabeth joined him with her own delighted burst of amusement.
Chapter 8, pages 68-69.
- “…a heartwarming novel that brings Darcy and Elizabeth together in a way that makes them partners in all things. Partnerships in love are the best kind.”—Savvy Verse and Wit
Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a master’s in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring Austen’s letters and unpublished works, joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of Two More Days at Netherfield and His Choice of a Wife. She lives with her husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether to clean the house or write.
Austenprose is pleased to be part of the Two More Days at Netherfield Blog Tour in celebration of its release. Please follow along to discover additional excerpts, guest blogs, and reviews.
- February 05 Savvy Verse and Wit
- February 06 From Pemberley to Milton
- February 07 Babblings of a Bookworm
- February 10 Diary of an Eccentric
- February 11 Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
- February 12 Austenprose–A Jane Austen Blog
- February 13 My Jane Austen Book Club
- February 14 Austenesque Reviews
Two More Days at Netherfield, by Heather Moll
Quills & Quartos Publishing (January 27, 2020)
Trade paperback & eBook (404) pages
Cover image, book description, excerpt, & author bio courtesy of Quills & Quartos Publishing © 2020; Text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2020, Austenprose.com