Austenesque, Book Reviews

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

The Darcy Brothers final 2015 x 300From 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?

“How did one respond when the world no longer obeyed its natural order? The sky was blue, the grass green and his brother angry.  That was the way of things. Was it possible for such truths to change?”

Theo Darcy is a wonderful original character and I loved getting to know him not only as a foil for Darcy but as a fleshed-out person in his own right. We see him diligently applying his profession as a bewigged barrister (I’m going to go out on a limb here and say probably the cutest one ever) and a protégé of the famous Mr. Garrow, kicking back as men do with his best friend, Sir Montgomery Preston, and happily encouraging his sister’s most unladylike interests. Sir Monty is also a delightful addition and is hilarious alongside the new and debate-ably improved Anne de Bourgh! Continue reading “The Darcy Brothers: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds – A Review”

Austenesque, Book Previews

The Darcy Brothers Virtual Book Launch Party with Authors, 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!

BOOK DESCRIPTION

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.

GUEST BLOG

What’s even better than writing a book? Writing a book with other authors, of course! Group writing projects can be stimulating experiences that can push your writing to a new level, so when I had the chance to join a small group of writers I respected in writing a Pride & Prejudice variation novel, I jumped at it.

My partners were Monica Fairview, author of Mr. Darcy’s Pledge, Cassandra Grafton, author of A Fair Prospect, Maria Grace, author of the Given Good Principles series, and Susan Mason-Milks, author of Mr. Darcy’s Proposal. We had all participated earlier in a much larger group story, a P&P variation where Elizabeth Bennet had a brother, so when we started brainstorming for our new small group project, the next step was obvious – a  story where Darcy had a brother.

I don’t remember who came up with the idea first, but we knew right away it was the right one. The emails started flying fast and furious as we tossed around ideas. Eventually, we landed on the idea of Theo Darcy, two years younger than his brother Fitzwilliam and his opposite in many ways. Theo charms everyone while Darcy is always giving offense. Theo is sociable, witty, playful and full of interesting conversation, with a dry sense of humor. Everyone likes Theo – except his brother. And there’s nothing Theo likes better than poking a little fun of his oh-so-serious elder brother!

But now we had a problem. A big one. We’d created a great character, but also one who happened to be just what Elizabeth Bennet thought she wanted in a man. What was going to happen when they meet? We all know Elizabeth dislikes Darcy in the first half of Pride & Prejudice. What would happen if she started falling in love with his younger brother…and her feelings were returned? Would Darcy try to stop the match, or would he stand back to allow Elizabeth happiness?

Then it got really complicated because it turns out there are long-standing problems between the two brothers. Remember George Wickham (and who could forget him)? When Darcy went off to school and lost interest in Wickham and his hi-jinks, there was another boy for Wickham to attach himself to, a younger, more impressionable boy – Theo.

Needless to say, our dear Mr. Darcy does not react well to this! Especially when Theo decides to follow in Wickham’s footsteps and ‘study’ law. As we all know, Darcy is very good at jumping to conclusions, and not letting little things like evidence get in the way of his prejudices! Add to this a deep, dark secret which the brothers are determined never to discuss, and you have the recipe for the deep rift between the brothers.

By the time we were half-way through the book, we’d half-forgotten the original Darcy didn’t have a brother. Adding Theo to the mix let us explore so many different sides of Darcy, and the contrast between them added focus to the characters. When writing our own stories, we kept forgetting that Darcy didn’t have a brother in the original!

Having the opportunity to work with other writers whose work I admired was a tremendous privilege, not to mention a learning experience! It was exhilarating to have so much creative thinking power available for story dilemmas, and the synergy was unbelievable. The characters we created working together have greater depth, and their dilemmas are more multifaceted.

We quickly adapted our writing styles to work together so there wouldn’t be any big jumps. At first, we started out with one writer doing each chapter, but as the story progressed, we began to work more closely, switching back and forth by scene and discussing each detail in detail. Each of us probably spent almost as much time working on our fifth of this book that we do on a single book of our own!

But the end result is worth it. We’re all very proud of Theo Darcy – and more than a little in love with him! We hope you love him as much as we do.

Best regards, Abigail Reynolds

AUTHOR BIOS

In addition to their collaborative effort in The Darcy Brothers, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds between them have published over two dozen Austen-inspired books, including national bestsellers. Monica Fairview (Mr. Darcy’s Pledge) holds down the fort for the team in London while Abigail Reynolds (Alone with Mr. Darcy) supplies cute cat pictures from Cape Cod, Susan Mason-Milks (Mr. Darcy’s Proposal) inspires with views of the Seattle skyline, Maria Grace (Remember the Past) frolics in the Texas bluebells, and British expat Cassandra Grafton (A Fair Prospect) has the critical responsibility of keeping the team supplied with much-needed chocolate from her home in Switzerland.

Look for them at the Austen Variations group blog where they are all founding members.

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The Darcy Brothers tour banner x 450

Theo Darcy is touring the blogosphere. Follow him as he makes his debut.

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

ASK A QUESTION OR LEAVE A COMMENT 

TO ENTER A GRAND GIVEAWAY

In celebration of the official book launch of The Darcy Brothers, enter a giveaway contest for four prizes including three copies of the book (print or eBook) and one grand prize: a selection of Jane Austen-themed items and one copy of The Darcy Brothers (print or eBook). To qualify for the drawing please leave a comment with this post before 11:59 pm PT, Wednesday, February 11, 2015, stating why you would love to read the book, or what characters from Jane Austen’s original novel you hope have been included. The four lucky winners will be announced on Thursday, February 12, 2015. The items will be shipped internationally. Good luck to all!

GRAND PRIZE

Darcy Brothers JA pendant x 400

Jane Austen Silhouette – Sterling Silver Pendant

This charming Jane Austen silhouette pendant was inspired by “L’aimable Jane” – a circa 1810-1815 image of Jane Austen by an unknown artist.  It can also be used as a charm and added to your collection of charms. Handcrafted in Somerset, UK of 925 silver especially for the Jane Austen Centre Gift Shop, the pendant measures 15 mm and is presented in an exclusive Jane Austen Centre antique style box.

Darcy Brothers JA themed giveaway x 400

This Jane Austen themed ensemble includes six stylish postcards with quotes from Jane Austen, an ‘I’d Rather Be At Pemberley’ compact mirror, a hand woven dupion silk bookmark with Jane Austen quote, a pocket-sized edition of Pride & Prejudice, a Jane Austen silhouette pin, a Theo Darcy magnet and one copy of The Darcy Brothers (print or digital).

Our congratulation go out to authors Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds for the release of their new novel. Many thanks to Abigail Reynolds for her guest blog and to White Soup Press for their generous giveaways.   

  • The Darcy Brothers, by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds
  • White Soup Press (2015)
  • Trade paperback and eBook (398) pages
  • ISBN: 978-0692370308

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS 

Cover image courtesy of White Soup Press © 2015; text Abigail Reynold © 2015, Austenprose.com

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Regency Era

A Fair Prospect: Disappointed Hopes, A Tale of Elizabeth and Darcy, Volume I, by Cassandra Grafton – A Review

A Fair Prospect: Disappointed Hopes, Vol I by Cassandra Grafton 2013 From the desk of Kimberly Denny Ryder:

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of open-ended endings in movies and books. Just ask my husband, who has seen me yell after reading a book or seeing a movie that ends with the reader/viewer not knowing what has happened to the main characters. One example that comes to mind is Pride and Prejudice itself! I’ve always wondered what happened after the wedding (maybe that’s why I read so many Pride and Prejudice sequels!) So, when I heard that A Fair Prospect: Disappointed Hopes by Cassandra Grafton was actually the first in a three-part series and it wouldn’t actually have a proper ending, I was a bit skeptical.

In volume I of the A Fair Prospect trilogy, Disappointed Hopes, we find Fitzwilliam Darcy back in London after his failed engagement proposal to Elizabeth, obviously upset by her refusal of such a beneficial match. Elizabeth, on the other hand, finds herself on the way to London, the result of a request by an old family friend to meet in town. Already emotional after her encounter with Darcy, she finds comfort when finally reaching London and meeting this friend, Nicholas Harington. The son of a wealthy family not unlike the Darcy family in both holdings and standing, Nicholas’ family provides a formidable opponent to Darcy’s in the matters of Elizabeth’s heart. Darcy and Elizabeth’s paths cross unexpectedly in London when Bingley begins courting Jane again. Darcy is introduced to Harington, who seems by all to be the perfect suitor for Elizabeth now that Darcy has failed. Or, has he? Continue reading “A Fair Prospect: Disappointed Hopes, A Tale of Elizabeth and Darcy, Volume I, by Cassandra Grafton – A Review”