From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:
We are pleased to welcome author Catherine Lodge to Austenprose today during the blog tour of her new novel, Lovers’ Meeting.
This new Austenesque book’s title and description intrigued me. There appeared to be a Shakespeare connection from Twelfth Night by using “lovers’ meeting” in the title, and later by opening the book description with a direct quote. Here is the original Shakespeare passage from Act II, Scene III:
“O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear! your true-love’s coming
That can sing both high and low;
Trip no further, pretty sweeting,
Journeys end in lovers’ meeting—
Every wise man’s son doth know.”
This is one of Shakespeare’s most romantic passages, therefore, I was curious to know if the author
used it as an inspiration for her Pride and Prejudice variation. She did. Those of you who are familiar with Jane Austen’s classic story will be amused to discover how she merged the meaning of Shakespeare’s quote into the story of the romance of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.
Here is the complete book description, an exclusive excerpt from the novel.
Have a great weekend and happy reading!
‘Journeys end in lovers’ meetings, every wise man’s son doth know.’ — William Shakespeare
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the disastrous first meeting of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly provided each with a ready-made set of prejudices to apply to the other. But when a horrific rural accident reveals Darcy to be a man of active, intelligent benevolence, and Elizabeth, in the absence of her appalling family, to be an extraordinary lady of courage and decision—then surely the course of true love will run smoothly.
But alas, the lovers’ meeting is not the end but a new beginning. For though they have found each other, a seeming multitude of complications—a catastrophic flood, the last wishes of a dying friend, Lydia’s misfortunes, a dastardly Member of Parliament, and even their own fears— contrives to come between them and their ‘journey’s end.’
Miss Bennet and Bingley were sitting together making sheep’s eyes at each other and were no help at all in sustaining conversation. When Elizabeth came and sat next to him, he was so surprised that he almost recoiled. “I must thank you, Mr Darcy,” she said, “for our books. How did you know how very much I wanted to read that particular collection of verse?”
He looked at his hands. “I noticed that you were reading it that night at Netherfield when I was writing letters and the others were playing cards.”
He glanced up into her face and watched, fascinated, as she blushed. “And it was particularly gracious of you to give me your own copy.”
He had to say something. “After my behaviour in the marketplace, it was the least I could—”
She put her hand on his sleeve. “My father gave us to understand that there was more to your actions than appeared on the surface. I am sure I speak for my sisters when I say that, insofar as forgiveness is necessary, you may be assured of ours.”
Two inches further down and she would have touched the skin of his wrist. He hardly heard what she said for the sight of her hand on the green wool of his coat. For a moment, he could only think of how delicate her kindness was, how beautiful that little hand.
She seemed not to notice his lack of speech, for she took back her hand and exclaimed, “And there is the missing needle!” She knelt at her aunt’s feet and plucked it from the carpet before tucking it into her own sleeve. “I was always losing my needle when I was a child, and what is more, I am determined my cousins’ samplers will not be the sorry failure mine was.”
He managed to force out an enquiry, and she said, “I laboured for weeks over an alphabet sampler, and presented it proudly to my papa who pointed out what not one of us had noticed: that I had entirely omitted the letter Q.” She laughed. “I tried to persuade everyone that I thought Q was an ugly letter, and that ‘queen’ should be written with a K but I do not think anyone believed me.”
Miss Bennet looked up at this. “And you told everyone the cow in my sampler had five legs.”
“That was its tail, as well you know.”
Mr Gardiner came in and was just as pleasant and well-bred as his wife, with nothing of the shop about him. Tea was served, and the fortunate discovery that Mrs Gardiner had spent much of her early life in Lambton served to carry the conversation forward. She must still have had correspondents there for she and her husband knew that he had prevented the enclosure of Lambton Common and were gently complimentary.
Elizabeth was sitting beside her uncle, her eyes shining, and his heart lurched as he realised she approved. He tried to think of a way to turn aside the compliment
without sounding self-righteous, but his thoughts tangled, and he had to hope they took his silence for modesty. He drank his tea and listened to Elizabeth and her family discussing their evening at the theatre. When Mr Gardiner asked him a question, he had to admit, to himself at least, that he had heard no voice but hers.
He managed some sort of answer and was at once pained and relieved when Bingley announced he had to go. He retrieved his hat and greatcoat and they made their goodbyes. He thought Bingley a little ridiculous in his effusions; however, the moment he bent over Elizabeth’s hand himself, he knew his own struggle was over. He had lost himself as completely as any other poor fool.
As they rode away, he gave in completely. He would marry her, and the relief of that decision was like dropping a heavy weight. He knew he would be failing in his duty, but he no longer cared so long as he had her by his side.
After all, he could make damn sure they had nothing to do with her appalling mother and those two—no three—appalling sisters. He knew she would be relieved about that.
Chapter 8, pages 49-52
- “Wonderful story. Wonderful writing.”— Debbie Brown, Goodreads
- “What a lovely romance…I highly recommend this story.”— Sheila Majczan, Goodreads
- “I absolutely adored witnessing the evolution and awakening of the dutiful Mr. Darcy. This is a richly satisfying tale!”— Katie Jackson, Regency Proofreading
Catherine Lodge is a retired English lawyer and lecturer, currently living in North Yorkshire. She spends her days reading, admits to a slightly shame-faced addiction to Minecraft, and volunteers to explain IT to the senior citizens at her local library (despite the fact that some of them are younger than she is). She is also prepared to send a fifty-pound/dollar/euro Amazon gift card to the first person who can prove that Colonel Fitzwilliam’s first name is Richard. So there.
Lovers’ Meeting, once known as A New Beginning to online readers at A Happy Assembly and fanfiction.net, is Catherine’s second novel. She published Fair Stands the Wind in 2017.
- Lovers’ Meeting: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Catherine Lodge
- Quills & Quartos Publishing (February 1, 2021)
- Trade paperback & eBook (210) pages
- Genre: Austenesque, Regency Romance
Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Cover image, book description, excerpt, & author bio courtesy of Quills & Quartos Publishing © 2021, text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2021, austenprose.com.