A Matter of Honor: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds — A Review

A Matter of Honor: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds (2019)From the desk of Debbie Brown:

Abigail Reynolds continues to outdo herself, to the delight of JAFF readers throughout the world. Her name is one of the most recognizable in the genre, and for good reason. She’s been providing unique ways for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet to fall in love for over a decade. While many authors run out of fresh ideas after one or two solid books, her prolific writing keeps improving.

In her recently released A Matter of Honor, she’s given Darcy and Elizabeth some new obstacles. She mostly ignores Longbourn and Pemberley and, while Hunsford and Rosings loom large in the plot, her book goes to Kent only briefly, spending most of its time in Scotland.

The story begins six months after Elizabeth refused Darcy’s insulting marriage proposal and accepted his letter the following morning, but their paths haven’t crossed since. Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are returning to Netherfield, each praying he can win the forgiveness and love of his respective Bennet sister. Both gentlemen are shunned by the entire Meryton community, and they’re turned away from Longbourn. When Bingley discovers the reason, he angrily confronts Darcy. “You ruined [Elizabeth], and with her, you ruined the woman I love. Because of you, Miss Elizabeth has had to leave Longbourn forever. The Bennets are in deep disgrace.”

Darcy didn’t do anything wrong, but he figures this is an easy fix: he’ll just talk to Mr. Bennet and offer to marry Elizabeth, which is what he’d planned to do anyway.

Nope. Mr. Bennet won’t budge. “Lizzy does not wish to marry you, and she will do so only over my dead body…  She is out of your reach. I am the only person who knows where she is, and I will not tell you.”But it’s Darcy he’s talking to here, and you just know he’s not giving up so easily. It’s a matter of honor, after all─honor and love. The search is on! Continue reading

Alone with Mr. Darcy: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

Alone with Mr Darcy Abigail Reynolds 2015 x 200From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

Way back in 2011 when reviewing What Would Mr. Darcy Do? for my blog I wrote, “I would like to hereby bestow the title of ‘Queen of the Austen Retelling’ to Abigail Reynolds.” Although many years have passed since my proclamation, not much has changed. Every time I get to read a new work by Reynolds I’m always so excited to get a slice of her creative energy that makes her works so exciting. It also doesn’t hurt that her variations typically involve the always handsome and charming Mr. Darcy in some type of a Pride and Prejudice reimagining. With this being said, I quickly devoured this work and got these thoughts on paper immediately, such is the effect that Reynolds has on my reading habits!

In her latest release, Alone With Mr. Darcy, we find Elizabeth and Darcy paired together by fate after the Netherfield ball, with Elizabeth encountering him, injured from a riding accident, while she herself is walking home alone. An impending snowstorm makes them seek shelter in a small cottage for a few days to wait out the weather and tend to Darcy’s injuries. While nursing him back to strength, she learns a lot about him and his feelings towards her from his frequent outbursts and semiconscious state, although she is not sure what is fact and what is fiction. Fortunately, the two survive and even befriend a small kitten that Darcy finds in a woodpile. Darcy offers to marry Elizabeth after the ordeal in order to protect her reputation, but she declines and they decide instead how to keep the events of the past few days from becoming public. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, that is exactly what happens. Through a series of misunderstandings and shady dealings, her reputation becomes tarnished throughout Meryton and Darcy is nowhere to be found. Will she be able to marry any young man and set the rumors to rest or will she be destined to scandal? Continue reading

The Darcy Brothers, by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds – A Review

The Darcy Brothers by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail ReynoldsFrom the desk of Monica Perry:

When I first heard that some of the authors from austenvariations.com were planning a Pride and Prejudice: Readers’ Choice collaborative story wherein Mr. Darcy had a younger brother, I was all excited curiosity–a story with two Mr. Darcys?  Yes, please! Would Mr. Theophilus Darcy be strong and stoic like his elder brother, a model of amiability like Mr. Bingley, or perhaps more of a rakish Mr. Wickham? Participating in the Readers’ Choice voting each week and having so much interaction with the writers was great fun, and I was eager to read this published version of The Darcy Brothers.  Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds are authors whose works I’d read and loved in the past, and The Darcy Brothers was no exception.

From the very first page, as Theo and Fitzwilliam Darcy reluctantly make their way to Rosings Park for Easter, we see the way they typically interact (read: Theo pushes Darcy’s buttons and Darcy gets his trousers in a twist). In the wake of childhood tragedy and the more recent near-elopement of their young sister Georgiana with Theo’s friend Mr. Wickham, their relationship is strained and they’ve all but given up on getting along. Darcy is dismissive and distrustful of Theo, and Theo delights in vexing him because he knows he’ll never live up to Darcy’s impeccable standards anyway. When Theo makes the acquaintance of the charming Miss Elizabeth Bennet they form an easy friendship, and Darcy begins to feel that twisting sensation again, a little nearer his chest this time. Each brother’s affection for Elizabeth is noted by the other and although they don’t see eye to eye, each wants the other to be happy. How far would a Darcy go to make it happen, even if it goes against his heart’s desire?  Bargains are struck and along with some meddling assistance from Georgiana, Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam, and a surprising series of events at Rosings, Darcy, and Theo begin to see themselves, and each other, in a different way. Darcy realizes he has underestimated Theo, withheld the praise and affection a younger sibling craves and used him as an easy scapegoat; likewise, Theo sees he’s had a childish understanding of Darcy’s responsibilities as heir. Can they overcome their pride and start again, and will it last? Continue reading

The Darcy Brothers Virtual Book Launch Party with Authors, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds

The Darcy Brothers by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds We are very pleased to welcome Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds to Austenprose for the official virtual book launch party of their new novel The Darcy Brothers, released today by White Soup Press.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Darcy Brothers is an original variation based on Austen’s classic in which Mr. Darcy has a charming younger brother named Theo who meets Elizabeth Bennet and vies for her affections. Written by five Austenesque authors, you may well ask, as we did ourselves, how they could pool their talents and create one novel together? Abigail Reynolds has kindly supplied a revealing guest blog to share the experience with you. And, any  celebration would not be complete without gifts. Please enter a chance to win one of the four fabulous prizes being offered by their publisher by leaving a comment. The giveaway details are listed at the end of this post. Good luck to all!

DESCRIPTION (from the publisher)

Easy-going Theophilus Darcy is the opposite of his controlled older brother. Where Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud and awkward among strangers, Theo is a charmer. Fitzwilliam took his studies seriously, while Theo was sent down from Oxford for his pranks. Still, the brothers were the best of friends until tragedy and George Wickham tore them apart.

What if Theo were to meet Miss Elizabeth Bennet? Would he charm the young lady’s stockings off… or would he help his brother win her hand? Find out as the two brothers lock horns in this unique Pride & Prejudice variation collectively written by five respected authors.

The Darcy Brothers was first conceived as an interactive group writing project and has developed into a full-length novel featuring the charismatic Theo Darcy.

Continue reading

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World (A Pride and Prejudice Variation), by Abigail Reynolds, read by Rachel E. Hurley (Audible Audio Edition) – A Review

The Pride Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge (2013)This is my tenth selection for The Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge 2013, our year-long event honoring Jane Austen’s second published novel. Please follow the link above to read all the details of this reading and viewing challenge. Sign up’s are now closed for new participants, but you can join us in reading all the great reviews and comments until December 31, 2013.

My Review:

This Pride and Prejudice variation asks readers “What if Elizabeth Bennet had accepted Mr. Darcy’s first proposal?” After reading this question in the book’s description my first reaction was, ACK, why would she?

Like the two other novels by this author that I have read, the story begins on familiar ground at a certain point in Austen’s novel and then quickly takes a left turn—changing the course of the plot and the characters’ lives. In this case, it starts at a very critical moment, the first proposal scene when Mr. Darcy so arrogantly assumes that the less-socially-endowed Elizabeth Bennet would jump at the chance to accept his generous offer of marriage. Reynolds’ Lizzy is still repulsed by the thought of this man as her husband and frozen with disgust. Since Austen’s last sentence in Elizabeth’s refusal contains the title of this novel, I was all anticipation of reliving Elizabeth’s famous put down:

“From the very beginning — from the first moment, I may almost say — of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immoveable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

Continue reading

Mr. Darcy’s Refuge: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

Mr/ Darcy's Refuge, by Abigail Reynolds (2012)From the desk of Lisa Galek: 

What if, during their disastrous first proposal, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet were hit by a real disaster – a flash flood that trapped them together in Hunsford Parsonage? How would they respond? How would they survive together? And would they still, against all odds, learn to love one another?

Many Austen fans will by now be familiar with Abigail Reynolds’ series, The Pemberley Variations, a group of novels which reimagine how the events of Pride and Prejudice might have been different if only one or two details were changed. In the ninth installment, Mr. Darcy’s Refuge, Darcy travels to Hunsford Parsonage to propose to Elizabeth, but this time, he makes his way through a rainstorm. After he finishes confessing his love for Elizabeth and, in the process, insulting her family, Elizabeth begins to refuse him when disaster strikes. The storm outside has become a deluge, flooding Hunsford, forcing the villagers up to the high ground of the parsonage, and blocking the road to Rosings. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are now trapped together in this house, forced to care for Mr. Collins’ parishioners and to live together in this painfully awkward situation until the flood waters recede.

I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say that by the time the weather improves, these two have come together (Darcy and Elizabeth will always find a way), but then other obstacles begin to stack against them. Though Mr. Darcy is not reliant on his family’s support, they all heap their disapproval on him anyway. Lady Catherine makes an appearance to register her annoyance with the marriage, while her brother, the Earl of Matlock (Colonel Fitzwilliam’s father) appears on the scene and offends everyone with his crude suggestions about the couple’s engagement. Mr. Bennet also makes his way through the flood waters to condemn the match (Mr. Darcy has not asked his permission, after all) and then spends the rest of the novel attempting to forbid his most favored daughter from marrying Mr. Darcy. Continue reading

Giveaway Winners Announced for Mr. Darcy’s Refuge

Mr Darcy's Refuge, by Abigail Reynolds (2012)43 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of two digital copies available of Mr. Darcy’s Refuge, by Abigail Reynolds. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Patricia F. who left a comment on September 04, 2012
  • Erna who left  a comment on September 05, 2012

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and email address by September 19, 2012. Digital download Internationally.

Mr. Darcy’s Refuge is a new Pride and Prejudice variation from Abigail Reynolds. To learn more about it, visit Abigail at her website: Pemberley Variations; Blog: Austen Authors; Facebook: Abigail Reynolds and on Twitter: @AbigailReynolds

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy’s Refuge Blog Tour with Author Abigail Reynolds & Giveaway

Mr/ Darcy's Refuge, by Abigail Reynolds (2012)Please help us welcome Austenesque author Abigail Reynolds today during her blog tour in celebration of the release of Mr. Darcy’s Refuge, the ninth novel in her popular Pemberley Variations series.

Whenever I read one of her creative and romantic takes on roads not taken in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I feel a bit like I am in an Austen Twilight Zone. Readers familiar with Austen’s classic story will recognize characters and settings, but Reynolds always mixes it up, placing new impediments and challenges to Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s romance. There are always surprises, and, this new novel is no exception. The first few chapters had me laughing out loud as the story unfolds from Darcy’s point of view. He is even more arrogant and assuming then we ever realized. Ha!

Abigail has kindly shared her thoughts on her writing career and her new book. Leave a comment to enter a chance to win a copy of Mr. Darcy’s Refuge. Enjoy!

I’ve just spent the weekend at the Decatur Book Festival enjoying the company of readers and authors of Austen-inspired books, both fiction and non-fiction. One topic that arose repeatedly was how the world of publishing has changed in the last two years, and even in the last two weeks – yes, really, we discussed some significant changes that have taken place in the last fortnight!  It made me think about how my personal writing process has changed as well.

Mr. Darcy's Letter, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)It took me 25 months to write and edit Mr. Darcy’s Letter, which was released in December 2011. In contrast, I started writing my latest release, Mr. Darcy’s Refuge in mid-January of this year, completing it in 7 months.  Why so much faster?  The easy answer is that I started cutting back on my day job early this year, giving me more free time to write, but that doesn’t completely account for it, since I probably spent one-third the hours on it overall as I did on the last book.

The biggest difference was that I could write every day.  When I have to take a break from writing for a week or more, I lose track of the flow of the narrative, and if I want to have good pacing, I have to go back and rework already written text before I start again. Even with detailed notes, I have trouble keeping scenes on track when there’s a large gap in time. It’s much harder to keep characters consistent and I have to do more revisions in order to keep the tone consistent through the book.  Interestingly, when I look back at my books, the ones that are most popular with readers are the ones that I wrote the fastest.

Certainly a book can be written too quickly, without enough care being taken to make it into a quality product, but can it also be written too slowly?  Obviously, in my case, it can be.  But what about Jane Austen?  We have a reasonable amount of information about how long it took her to write her books.  What does it show us?

The Annotated Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austenm edited by David M. Shapard (2011)Let’s look at Sense & Sensibility, which Jane Austen referred to as her ‘suckling child’ – an interesting metaphor since it implies that she both loved it and felt drained by it.  She had finished the first draft, then entitled Elinor and Marianne, quite quickly, since she read it aloud to her family before she was 20 years old.  She returned to it two years later to do a full revision, changing it from an epistolary novel to a traditional narrative.  Twelve years later she took it out again for yet another full revision, this time changing the name to Sense & Sensibility.  It was published in 1810, fifteen years after she read the first draft to her family.  She had been working on it for her entire adult life.

The Annontated Persuasion, by Jane Austen and David Shapard (2010In contrast, she started Persuasion when she was 39 years old, and wrote it from start to finish, including revisions, in just under a year.  Naturally, she was a more experienced writer at that point, but I also wonder how the speed of her writing affected the book.  I think of Persuasion as a delight – the tone, the themes, the characters, the background, all seem to flow seamlessly together as I read it.  Sense & Sensibility, on the other hand, reminds me in some ways of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’ where there are gaps of style, consistency, or just basic characterization.  I think of it as Jane Austen’s problem novel.  While more polished than Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays,’ the flow of Sense & Sensibility isn’t as smooth as Persuasion, nor are the characters as consistent, and it’s sometimes hard to follow why certain characters care about other characters.  It makes me wonder if Jane Austen also had to struggle with changing vision and loss of flow when the writing of a book spanned so many years.  After all, a character created at age 19 would have to go through a major metamorphosis before meeting the standards of an author at age 34, and it would be almost impossible to erase all the traces of the earlier characterizations.

My writing will never come close to equaling Jane Austen’s, or even make it into the same order of magnitude.  I write light fiction for my own pleasure and that of my readers, and I’m very content producing the literary equivalent of comfort food rather than haute cuisine.  Still, given how much I adore Austen’s writing, it’s very nice to be able to find some potential similarities in our experience as writers!

Thank you for sharing your insights on your writing Abigail. Jane Austen also wrote for her own amusement and that of her family, so you share more than a few similarities.  Best wishes for a great success with Mr. Darcy’s Refuge.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Author bio:

Abigail Reynolds is a great believer in taking detours. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian and theater at Bryn Mawr College and marine biology at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. After a stint in performing arts administration, she decided to attend medical school, and took up writing as a hobby during her years as a physician in private practice.

A life-long lover of Jane Austen’s novels, Abigail began writing variations on Pride & Prejudice in 2001, then expanded her repertoire to include a series of novels set on her beloved Cape Cod. Her most recent releases are Mr. Darcy’s Refuge, A Pemberley Medley, and Morning Light, and she is currently working on a new Pemberley Variation and the next novel in her Cape Cod series. A lifetime member of JASNA and a founder of the popular AUSTEN AUTHORS group blog, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of animals. Her hobbies do not include sleeping or cleaning her house. Website: Pemberley Variations; Blog: Austen Authors; Facebook: Abigail Reynolds and at Twitter: @AbigailReynolds

GIVEAWAY OF MR. DARCY’S REFUGE

Enter a chance to win one of two digital copies available of Mr. Darcy’s Refuge, by Abigail Reynolds by leaving a comment either asking Abigail about writing her Pemberley Variations series, her new novel, or a remark about Jane Austen’s writing style by 11:59 pm PT, Wednesday, September 12, 2012. Winners to be announced on Thursday, September 13, 2012. Digital copies are available to download Internationally. Good luck to all.

Mr. Darcy’s Refuge: A Pride & Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds
White Soup Press (2012)
Trade paperback (238) pages
ISBN: 978-0615669755
Kindle: ASIN: B00919X9CW
NOOK: BN ID: 2940015170801

© Abigail Reynolds, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy’s Letter, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

Mr. Darcy's Letter, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)Guest review by Christina Boyd

In this latest self-published offering from the Pride & Prejudice variation author, Abigail Reynolds’s, Mr. Darcy’s Letter responds to the query: What might have happened had Elizabeth Bennet never accepted Mr. Darcy’s letter that defended his actions in separating his friend from her sister and acquitted him of any cruelty toward Mr. Wickham?  Reynolds’s poses a plausible scenario wherein Miss Elizabeth, conscious of society’s mores, refuses the risk of accepting this letter from a man, thus avoids the risk of being discovered and possibly forced to marry the last man in the world she could ever be prevailed upon. Consequently, she returns to Longbourn yet ignorant of Wickham’s debauchery and continues a dangerous acquaintance with that very scheming lothario and prevaricator.  As in Jane Austen’s masterpiece, how could her former prejudices against Darcy ever be removed so that she would eventually comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her?

Of course, her revelation of Darcy’s goodness takes further discovery but by the time she realizes her blunder – Wickham elopes with Elizabeth’s youngest sister, Lydia. And then, Darcy arrives too late in Lambton to learn of the Bennet family’s disgrace!  In an assembly of plot devices, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations, Reynolds artfully increases our suspense by illustrating the Bennets decline and how it taints Charles Bingley’s manners with Miss Jane Bennet. “‘Too many people know that her sister was seduced and abandoned, even if a marriage was eventually patched up somehow.  It would never have been an equal match between Jane and me.  She is a gentleman’s daughter, but her mother is not and now the family name is tainted.’”  Oh, how Darcy’s own words from the previous autumn seem to have come back to bite him in the arse!

As much as I enjoyed the overall romance of another Darcy and Elizabeth re-imagining, I was rather disconcerted by Elizabeth.  First she refuses his letter under the premise that a lady would never accept a letter from a gentleman she was neither related to nor betrothed. And yet, soon after Darcy and Elizabeth become engaged, they anticipate their vows?  On a fainting couch in the corner of Darcy’s dressing room serving as his study while at Netherfield!  “‘I want nothing more than to be your wife.  I wish I were yours this very moment, and nothing would ever separate us again.’ She tightened her arms around his neck, pressing herself closer to him, as if trying to make herself part of his very essence.” Reynolds creates such a riot of emotions that this modern-day reader, I suppose, must forgive Elizabeth’s lascivious zeal – it is Mr. Darcy after all!

In classic Abigail Reynolds style, her latest steamy and sensual romance novel is agog with machinations to drive the story to its final happy conclusion.  If reading about Elizabeth and Darcy sharing amorous favors before marriage is unsupportable, by all means, avert your eyes.  However should it take more to get your knickers in a knot, Mr. Darcy’s Letter should not be cast aside!  Enjoy!

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

Mr. Darcy’s Letter: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Abigail Reynolds
Intertidal Press (2011)
Trade paperback (262) pages
ISBN: 978-0615571416
Kindle: ASIN: B006G2E4XK
Nook: Not available

Christina Boyd lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two youngish children and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Bibi.  She studied Fine Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salisbury University in Maryland. For the last nine years she has created and sold her own pottery line from her working studio. Albeit she read Jane Austen as a moody teenager, it wasn’t until Joe Wright’s 2005 movie of Pride & Prejudice that sparked her interest in all things Austen.  A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

© 2007 – 2012 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

Giveaway Winners Announced for Mr. Darcy’s Undoing

Mr. Darcy's Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)46 of you left comments qualifying you for a chance to win one of three copies of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Terry who left a comment on October 1, 2011
  • Erna A. who left a comment on October 1, 2011
  • Carolyn Crist who left a comment on October 5, 2011

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by October 26, 2011. Shipment is to US and Canadian addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, and to Abigail Reynolds for the great excerpt, and for dutifully answering all of our probing questions on her new novel, Mr. Darcy’s Undoing.

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds – A Review

Mr Darcy's Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)Guest review by Christina Boyd

In her latest Pride and Prejudice variation, Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, Abigail Reynolds offers a fanciful story, replete with anguish and raw emotion, exploring another possible road not taken by Jane Austen herself.

Not long after Miss Elizabeth Bennet returns home to Longbourn from her visit to the Collins’ at Hunsford Parsonage in Kent – and that poorly executed marriage proposal from Mr. Darcy – she boldly decides to take responsibility for her mother and sisters happiness. Since the wealthy Mr. Bingley has departed without proposing to her sister Jane, she agrees to an engagement with a childhood acquaintance, a very gentlemanly Mr. Covington of Ashworth House. But as fate would have it, Mr. Darcy returns to Hertfordshire with Mr. Bingley in tow – intent to help him renew his addresses to Elizabeth’s sister Jane.  And just as Mr. Darcy is reinvigorated in his first attempt to repair his own difficulties with Elizabeth, he learns she is now betrothed to another man!

One would assume that Darcy’s suit was lost and he would graciously retreat to London or Pemberley.  But not our bewitched champion.  After brooding over several glasses of brandy, he decides to remain with the Bingleys at Netherfield Park for a week or two, for appearance sake of course, but also to satisfy his own selfish curiosity in discovering Elizabeth’s true feelings for her fiancé.  At first he thought it was madness that he would deliberately put himself in for such torture, but after he learns that Covington is not such the ardent lover, visiting Longbourn but once a week, he takes it upon himself to entertain Elizabeth while Bingley woos Jane. Better still, Darcy appoints himself “chaperone” for Elizabeth and her acknowledged suitor!

Considered by most to be a good match for Elizabeth, “The man seemed pleasant enough, but he had not struck Darcy as particularly well-educated or witty, but the truth was that if Covington had been the personification of every virtue known to man, Darcy still would have despised him.” p. 44. Although Darcy’s head tells him to allow her to be sanguine with her choice, his heart cannot.  Thus, he continues to pursue her and forge a most curious friendship.

As in Austen’s original, Elizabeth’s youngest sister Lydia elopes with Wickham and unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Darcy discovers the wayward couple, rescuing the Bennet family from social ruin. He witnesses Elizabeth sobbing in the arms of Covington and in a sheer act of self-preservation, decides he must escape to the Continent. “Their eyes met again for a long moment, and she looked away at first.  He moved towards the door, then stopped again just at the edge of the vestibule.  ‘Before I go, though, Miss Bennet, I must beg your forgiveness.’  ‘My forgiveness? For what?’ she asked. ‘For this,’ he said.  Before she realized what he intended, he leaned towards her and kissed her, a brief, tender touch of his lips to hers.” p. 89-90. (I remember the first time I read this. I swear my heart skipped a beat!)  Soon after his departure, Elizabeth breaks off the engagement to Covington, hence destroying her standing in society; Mrs. Bennet is inconsolable and all of Meryton shuns Elizabeth.  Months pass and finally Darcy returns for Bingley and Jane’s wedding, only to discover Elizabeth is unmarried! He renews his addresses and although she admits she loves him, she refuses him once again because she fears her disgrace can only scandalize him and his young sister.

Summoning the intellectual passions of the period, and likening to Austen’s “poetry as the food of love,” some of the more poignant, yet scattered, virtuous moments were while reading aloud and making poetic references to William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience: The Tyger.  One of Abigail Reynolds earlier works, originally self-published in 2007 as Without Reserve, Austen purists will be quite undone with Mr. Darcy’s Undoing by some of the wholly uncharacteristic manners of her Darcy and Elizabeth.  As one of Reynolds’ most erotic novels yet, it overflows with eyebrow raising, sexually charged sequences, vivid sexual dreams and explicit premarital sex.  Indeed, Abigail Reynolds has taken much liberty with our Darcy and Elizabeth as they go against all reason and character to satisfy their carnal desires, behaviors more suited to that of reckless Lydia and seducer Wickham. (A more recent Reynolds work, evidence of her having developed into a top sequel author, What Would Mr. Darcy Do?, portrays a very captivated Darcy and conflicted Elizabeth, sans the gratuitous sex.)  Nevertheless if you take pleasure from an inventive, fiery, Regency romance, Mr. Darcy’s Undoing is sure to whet your whistle.

3.5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-1402240942

Christina Boyd lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her dear Mr. B, two youngish children and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Bibi.  She studied Fine Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Salisbury University in Maryland. Although life has taken her on a merry adventure through a myriad of careers including modeling, flight attending, marketing & sales, owning a paint-it-yourself ceramic studio… she has for the last nine years created and sold her own pottery line from her working studio. Albeit she read Jane Austen as a moody teenager, it wasn’t until Joe Wright’s 2005 movie of Pride & Prejudice that sparked her interest in all things Austen.  A life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, Christina has read and owns well over 200 Austen inspired novels… and cannot comprehend the neglect of the collection in such days as these.  Visiting Jane Austen’s England remains on her bucket list.

© 2007 – 2011 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

Mr. Darcy’s Undoing Blog Tour with Author Abigail Reynolds: Excerpt & Giveaway!

Mr Darcy's Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds (2011)Please join us today in welcoming author Abigail Reynolds on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, a new Pride and Prejudice “what if” story published today by Sourcebooks. Abigail has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt from the novel for our readers. Here is her set-up to the scene…

In Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, Elizabeth and the Gardiners follow their original plan to travel to the Lake District, so there is no meeting at Pemberley.  Instead, Darcy decides to return to Hertfordshire to court Elizabeth.  Their first meeting is at another Meryton assembly where he dances with Elizabeth.  She thinks him aware of her recent engagement, but he knows nothing of it.  In this excerpt, he reflects back on their dance.

Excerpt of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing:

Darcy was cautiously pleased with how the evening was progressing. Although the degree of shock with which Elizabeth had greeted him had not been promising, she had agreed to dance with him, spoken with him with an air of comfort, and even teased him a little, if he was not mistaken. He had ached for her from the moment he saw her, standing by her sister with her back to the door, and the exquisite plea­sure of touching her hand as they danced had only reinforced his desire to win her. He could not quite bring himself to dance with another woman so quickly, so instead determined to demonstrate his attention to her reproofs by conversing with her family. Unfortunately, the only member of her family then available was her mother. Taking a deep breath, he approached Mrs. Bennet, giving her his compliments and enquiring after her well-being.

His reception was initially cold and ceremonious, but he persisted in his civility, just keeping himself from rolling his eyes at some of Mrs. Bennet’s ridiculous manners. Soon, however, the compliment of having such a man’s attention outweighed her former anger towards him, and she began to take advantage of the opportunity to tell him all the news of the neighbourhood.

“My sister Phillips’ eldest son married last spring to Harriet Letsworth, and that was quite the occasion,” she said. With pride, she added her coup, “And you have no doubt heard, Mr. Darcy, of my daughter’s engagement.”

Darcy’s wandering attention snapped back to her at these words. Miss Bennet engaged? Bingley would be devastated, especially if the look on his face when he danced with her was anything to judge by. This was a disaster; it would certainly make matters more difficult for him with Elizabeth as well. He cleared his throat, trying to mask his reaction, and said, “Miss Bennet is engaged? No, I have not had the pleasure of hearing the news.”

“Oh, no, not Jane!” replied Mrs. Bennet distractedly, her eyes travelling with satisfaction toward the figure of Mr. Bingley. “No, it is Lizzy who is to marry Mr. Covington—ah, yes, he has just arrived. My daughter Lydia is unfortunately not with us tonight; she is visiting Colonel Forster’s wife in Devonshire.”

Darcy was struck by a sharp shock of pain and disbelief at her unexpected words. His Elizabeth, promised to another man? It could not be! The possibility had never so much as crossed his mind that she might look on some other man with favour—that she might refuse him again, yes, but marry another, and so quickly? How could this have happened? His eyes sought her out involuntarily where she stood conversing with several acquaintances, and the taste of bile rose in his throat. He forced himself to say, “I do not believe that I am acquainted with Mr. Covington.” But I know enough about him already to wish he had never taken the first breath of life! he thought darkly. “Not know him?” cried Mrs. Bennet disbelievingly. “Mr. Covington is master of Ashworth House, and a fine gentle­man. Surely you must have met him last autumn, Mr. Darcy? There he is now.” With an embarrassing want of propriety, she pointed across the room to a well-built gentleman perhaps a few years younger than Darcy, with a handsome enough countenance though no particular claim to style, but fitting well into the company at hand. As Darcy watched with bitter jealousy, he approached Elizabeth and greeted her warmly, raising her hand to his lips.

Darcy’s eyes were fixed on Elizabeth, who welcomed the interloper with a somewhat absent smile, continuing her conversation and apparently including him without particular effort. Elizabeth, he thought despairingly.

Mr. Covington’s late arrival had not come as a surprise to Elizabeth; she knew he was quite busy at this season, and she was just as happy he had been absent during her dance with Darcy. She could not help but wonder what Darcy was thinking, if he had noticed the two of them together, and whether he was thanking heaven for his narrow escape. As Mr. Covington took her hand for the next dance, she braved a glimpse in his direction.

One look at his face told her something was terribly wrong. She saw her mother chatting away to him while he appeared oblivious, looking directly at Elizabeth. The realization suddenly hit her that he had not known of her engagement, that this was news to him; and a sudden wave of nausea passed over her. How cruel he must think she had been with her arch looks and teasing during their dances! She might not care for him, but he had been making a pronounced effort to be civil, and he did not deserve to be treated so. And what would Mr. Covington think if he knew she had been dancing with a gentleman who had loved her ardently and wanted to marry her? She felt heartily ashamed of herself, without quite knowing why.

Mr. Covington noticed her hesitation. “Are you well, Miss Bennet?” he asked with concern, noting her pallor.

Elizabeth swallowed. “Yes, quite well, sir,” she said. “Please, let us continue.”

End of excerpt…

I hope you enjoyed this visit with Darcy and Elizabeth!  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about Mr. Darcy’s Undoing or my other books.

Author Bio:

Abigail Reynolds is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology at Bryn Mawr College before deciding to attend medical school. She began writing Pride and Prejudice variations in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters. Her most recent releases are What Would Mr. Darcy Do? and an anthology of Pride and Prejudice stories, A Pemberley Medley.  Abigail is a lifetime member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of wild animals masquerading as pets.  Her hobbies include beading, reading, and finding time to sleep. Website: Pemberley Variations; Blog: Austen Authors; Facebook: Abigail Reynolds and at Twitter: @AbigailReynolds

Giveaway of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, by asking Abigail a question about her new novel, or any of the novels in her Pemberley Variations series,by midnight PT, Wednesday, October 19, 2011. Winner announced on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Mr. Darcy’s Undoing, by Abigail Reynolds
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (352) pages
ISBN: 978-1402240942

© 2007 – 2011 Abigail Reynolds, Austenprose