Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow — A Review

From the desk of Katie Jackson:

In a November 1814 letter to her niece, Jane Austen wrote that “nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without love.” She had brilliantly illustrated her point with many unenviable couples in her novels serving as warnings of what her protagonists should strive to avoid. Likewise, readers found in her most famous story, Pride and Prejudice, a hero dutifully resigned to such misery and a heroine determined to evade it. Prolific Austenesque author Shannon Winslow explores that hero’s path from misery to love in her latest Pride and Prejudice adaptation, Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words.

Fitzwilliam Darcy believes that he is destined to fulfill his familial duty by securing a society-approved mate for himself and proper mistress of Pemberley—and by choosing prudently, hoping for mutual respect at best, and knowing that love was neither desirable nor wise. “My early years had taught me, again and again, that to love was to suffer pain. To love was to surrender a part of oneself, to give the object of that love power over one’s life – power to wound or to destroy, either by accident or with intent.” (189) Therefore, Darcy resolutely heeds his late father’s advice by discreetly selecting a decorous lady from a suitably wealthy and consequential family, ever mindful of his family’s expectations and his own responsibilities. “To choose the wrong path, to be careless of the way, to neglect minding every step, was to invite calamity of a kind most painful and permanent.” (171)

After George Wickham nearly absconds with Darcy’s young sister at Ramsgate, Darcy finds himself shaken to his core by the barely avoided catastrophe and questions his own wisdom. Wishing to counteract his tendency to brood, he seeks diversion with his cheerful friend Charles Bingley at Netherfield Park. “In part, I had come to Netherfield hoping for a cure.” (1546)

Unbeknownst to Darcy, however, his dutiful resolve is about to become untenable once he encounters the saucy smile, fine eyes, and pert opinions of the incomparable Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Their charged interactions have the potential to further unravel his determination as he tentatively steps off his sensible path and veers toward a life he’d never imagined might be his. Far too soon, though, reality invades Darcy’s hopeful dreams to remind him of his prior obligations. As he settles “one final contest of will versus inclination, of duty versus desire” can he summon the courage to choose the path that follows his heart? (3968)

It is rare to read a first-person narration from Darcy’s viewpoint, and it felt like we were having a fireside chat as he explained his perspective of all of the events that transpired not only in Pride and Prejudice but also during those previously silent times when he was away from Elizabeth. Hence, the story was at times quite unputdownable. My only frustration was that I was hoping for a bit more romantic yearning from him, but he was far too true to his stoic character to melt from Elizabeth’s presence overmuch. He also felt honor bound by his other commitments, however tenuous they may have been. Still, I was quite content with his cerebral musings about how he’d fallen in love without suspecting or allowing it and was grateful for his loss of control. As he said, “My happier outcome depended on the slimmest thread of unlikely circumstances being precariously strung together without error. At any one of a dozen junctures, the course of my life could have carried me in a completely different direction.” (109)

Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words provides an enjoyable opportunity for Pride and Prejudice enthusiasts to have a cozy tête-à-tête with their favorite fictional gentleman.

5 out of 5 Stars

  • Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, by Shannon Winslow
  • Heather Ridge Arts (April 30, 2021)
  • Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (283) pages
  • ISBN: 978-0989025973

AMAZON | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

Book cover courtesy of Heather Ridge Arts © 2021; text Katie Jackson © 2021, Austenprose.com

A Preview & Giveaway of Lovers’ Meeting: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Catherine Lodge

Lovers' Meeting by Catherine Lodge 2021Happy Friday, dear readers. 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, and a chance to win a copy of the book.

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

‘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.’

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

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A Preview & Giveaway of Elizabeth and Darcy Beginning Again: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Elaine Jeremiah

Elizabeth and Darcy by Elaine Jeremiah 2021Happy Friday dear readers. I hope that you have some fun plans in store for your weekend—like reading!

I am happy to welcome Austenesque author Elaine Jeremiah back to Austenprose today. We last visited with her in 2019 when she published By Time Divided, her second novel in her Love Without Time series. Next up for Elaine is also a Jane Austen-inspired story, Elizabeth and Darcy Beginning Again which releases on February 2, 2021.

This Pride and Prejudice variation spins a different narrative from the original from the point at which Elizabeth Bennet is walking to Netherfield Park and she unexpectantly meets Mr. Darcy. Things take a surprising twist.

Elaine has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt for your enjoyment to give you a finer understanding of the beginning of her novel.  Be sure to leave a comment to qualify to win an eBook of the novel.  Enjoy!

Thank you for visiting today. Best, LA

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Little does Elizabeth Bennet think the journey across muddy fields from her home at Longbourn to Netherfield Park will change her life forever.

But an unexpected encounter with the proud and haughty Mr. Darcy leaves her injured and vulnerable. Worse still, she is left alone with him for a significant amount of time. Her reputation at risk, she is forced to make a decision about her future. Now her life will never be the same again.

Can Elizabeth ever be happy? Or will she always loathe Mr. Darcy?

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

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The Vanishing at Loxby Manor, by Abigail Wilson — A Review

The Vanishing at Loxbury Manor by Abigail WIlson 2021From the desk of Sophia Rose:

Mystery surrounds a family, a ruined abbey, and a sudden disappearance making a young guest and friend of the family fearful about her visit. The atmospheric suspense, attention to the historical setting, and complexity in the characters made The Vanishing at Loxby Manor, the latest release by Abigail Wilson, a must-read.

Charity Halliwell once thought to marry the oldest Cavanagh son, Piers, until her family’s sudden move to Ceylon and his letter ending their prospects left her bereft and vulnerable. An attack in the dark of the tea plantation has left her disgusted at her naiveté in venturing outside on her own and quelled her spirit as well as her dream of ever marrying and having a family. Now, when her parent’s journey to join her brilliant chemist of a brother in America, Charity longs for her old neighborhood and friends as a comfort. She knows from Selene’s letters that Piers will not be there as he lives away from the family.

The first night of her visit to the Cavanaghs is enough to convince her that she made a mistake seeking solace in the past. Mrs. Cavanagh isn’t exactly welcoming and mischievous Selene sneaks into Charity’s room to admit that her mother wanted her to leave Charity to her own devices. However, Selene has been a hoyden kissing a groom and flirting with others. She wants the only man in a neighborhood with a title, but she will toy with the others. On this night, she mentions a secret plan to have her way and then whisks off into the night with Charity’s dark cloak about her never to return.

The youngest Cavanagh, Avery, is sent to search for Selene on the road to Gretna Green and Piers returns to support his family trying to ignore the spark between Charity and himself that he purposefully extinguished. She has since learned that he challenged Selene’s lord to a duel and then didn’t show which had him branded a coward and ostracized from polite society. Charity has her own reasons for keeping her distance from any man let alone Piers, but she is certain that Selene never ran off with the groom she kissed and she is equally certain that Piers is no coward whatever the reason he didn’t show to that duel. She will stand by the family and help get to the truth even if she must brave a mysterious shadowy enemy. Continue reading

A Preview & Excerpt of Sons of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Reimagining, by Elizabeth Adams

Sons of Pemberley by Elizabeth Adams 2020Hello Gentle Readers. I am happy to welcome Austenesque and romantic comedy writer Elizabeth Adams to Austenprose today in celebration of her latest novel, Sons of Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Reimagining.

I have read several of Elizabeth’s novels and short stories and have always enjoyed her creativity and humor. I recently re-listened to the audiobook of The 26th of November and continue to be amazed by her skill at turning an important date in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice into a mind-bending farce in the vein of the popular movie Ground Hog Day. I laughed. I gasped. I applauded.

Elizabeth’s latest Jane Austen-inspired novel is another take on Pride and Prejudice that re-imagines the lives of the characters if the mother of Fitzwilliam Darcy had not died when he was a boy. It is an insightful family saga that includes all of our favorite characters, but spins the plot in new directions and then brings us back to familiar ground.

Here is a description of the book from the publisher and a dramatic excerpt from the novel to give you a taste of what you can expect.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

What if Lady Anne Darcy was alive to meet Elizabeth Bennet?

A sweeping tale of tragedy, devotion, and betrayal—spanning over 25 years and two generations—this family saga explores the life Fitzwilliam Darcy would have had if his mother had not died young.

An up-close view of the Darcys’ marriage and Fitzwilliam’s childhood … a retelling of the circumstances that shaped the man we have come to love … a reimagining of the friendships and relationships that formed each iconic character … a tale of love, loss, heartbreak, and triumph—that is Sons of Pemberley.

EXCERPT

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Georgana’s Secret: (Proper Romance Regency), by Arlem Hawks – A Review

Georgana's Secret by Arlem Hawks 2021From the desk of Katie Patchell:

Captain Frederick Wentworth: bold, self-confident, and passionate. At fifteen, I thought him boring, far preferring Mr. Darcy’s distant, sophisticated persona. Now at twenty-five, I find that Wentworth, Jane Austen’s final hero, has captured my attention. As I sit here and type this, I ask myself ‘What’s changed?’ For one, Wentworth has energy–vibrancy–that leaps off every page. There is no brooding silence or long caution with him. A man of action, he strides through life with a joie de vivre and a strong sense of compassion for those he encounters. Now that I look at this list, I wonder at my ability to ignore this very worthy hero for years! Before I crack open my copy of Persuasion for a re-read, let me introduce you to a novel starring Captain Wentworth’s equal in character and bravery. In Georgana’s Secret, Arlem Hawks’ debut Regency novel, readers meet a hero and heroine bound irrevocably to each other and the sea’s mercurial waves.

Dominic Payton loves the ocean. It is his life, career, and passion. Despite his mother’s growing pressure to look for a wife, he knows that few women would be willing to live an unconventional, often dangerous life on a Navy frigate. To care for his single mother–and because life isn’t worth living away from the sea–Dominic accepts a promotion to become HMS Deborah’s newest lieutenant. Under the guarded eye of Captain Woodall, Dominic begins to prove his knowledge and skill. Yet it is the role of friend that quickly becomes the most challenging; George Taylor, Captain Woodall’s skittish young cabin boy, is greatly in need of a confidante…and pugilistic mentor.

Georgana Woodhull has a secret. Three years ago she vanished from Society and her abusive grandmother’s power. While Society at large believes her to be locked within the shadows of her ancestral home, she instead treads the boards of the HMS Deborah as a lowly, stoop-shouldered cabin boy for her father. The dark humor at her situation hasn’t escaped her–before her mother’s death three years prior, the sea ruled her dreams. It was a wild freedom that ever called to her. Now, all she longs for is a fresh start on land. Continue reading