Some months ago I posted a P&P variation story at DarcyandLizzy.com.
I named the story Desperation and posted it in installments over several weeks. Reaction to the story by D&L’s readers was very favourable and encouraging. So encouraging, in fact, that I took the advice of several people and finally published the story earlier this week.
At this time it is available at amazon.com in kindle format only. Renamed Desperate Hearts, it has been authored under a pen name. You see, a collaborator took on some of the editing and rewriting so of course I wanted to list us both as co-authors. But my collaborator, who worked under the presumption of doing me a good turn without expectation of reward, did not wish to have her name on the book as a co-author. So I created a pen name from family names on my mother’s side.
The day after it was published I discovered that someone had already reviewed it! “Well-written and enjoyable — You won’t regret buying this little gem.” Read the entire four-star review on amazon. (Thank you, Jules!)
In celebration of my very first published work of fiction (much less Austenesque fiction) I want to give away two kindle copies to two ESCD readers. To enter the give-away, please comment on this blog post by midnight of Jane Austen’s birthday: Friday, December 16th. Winners will be selected by random drawing, and will be announced here on Sunday, December 18th. The link to leave a comment is in the upper left-hand corner of this post.
Desperate Hearts excerpt:
“Give it up, Caroline. He is not interested in you.”
“Why whatever do you mean, Charles? I expect he will make me an offer any time now.”
Charles Bingley shook his head to shake off his disgust with his sister. This had been going on almost since the first moment Caroline had laid eyes on his dear friend Fitzwilliam Darcy – and on Darcy’s beautiful homes in Derbyshire and London – and decided that she would make the perfect wife for him. More importantly, that he would make the perfect husband for her. So what if he did not have a title? He was wealthier than almost any man in England, had a bigger estate than almost any man in England – and he was far handsomer too.
“Darcy is not considering matrimony at this time, Caroline. And even if he were he is not looking for you – nor will he. I am sorry to cause you pain, but there it is. It has been more than three years since you first set your cap for him and he has not even asked if he could court you much less marry you.”
“Then Charles, please tell me why he keeps inviting me to Pemberley and Darcy House if he feels no attachment to me?” His sister gave him a look of triumph.
Charles shook his head again. “Caroline, Darcy is my friend. He invites me to his homes. He allows you to accompany me. Although if you keep chasing him he may not be so willing to allow you to join me on future visits.”
Caroline’s look of triumph crumbled into a pout. She was unaware that it was a most unbecoming expression on her hard-edged features. Petulantly she whined “Brother, I believe you have persuaded Mr. Darcy not to marry me. I don’t know why, but it is most cruel and high-handed of you. It is a brother’s duty to introduce his sister to eligible gentlemen for marriage. Well, you introduced me to Mr. Darcy. Now you do not want us to marry. Are you jealous that I, your younger sister, would be marrying before you?”
Bingley was just about at his wit’s end. “You are mistaken, Caroline. I would be the happiest man in the world if you would marry and move out of my house, and if your husband were responsible for paying your bills for fancy gowns and turbans and all the other frippery you claim to need. I never told Darcy not to consider you. In point of fact, he is the one who approached me on this subject. He has told me more than once that although we are friends and you are my sister he has no interest in a match with you. He could not be any plainer in his intentions. Why do you make me say these hurtful things when you must surely already know this yourself?”
Caroline’s face crumpled completely and she burst into tears, not a very good look for her either. “You are the most hateful brother in the world” she spat at him as she ran past him, out of the sitting room, and up the stairs to her apartment.
Charles Bingley, being a soft-hearted man who loved his sister, did not like to have these arguments with her, and felt terrible that he was obliged to speak to her this way. If only she would accept the reality that she would never be Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy – but Bingley suspected that would not happen until Darcy married someone else. And Darcy showed no inclination towards marrying any time soon. Which was most unfortunate, because Bingley was growing weary of these repeated scenes with Caroline – scenes that resolved nothing but left both of them in a most unhappy state. And then … Bingley began to muse on the events at Sir William Lucas’ party last week, as well as Darcy’s attentions to Miss Elizabeth since she had been at Netherfield attending her ailing sister. Had his friend at last found a young lady who can engage his affections? He grinned hopefully.
I hope this excerpt will tempt you into reading my little contribution to JAFF. (It is a novella, not a full-length novel. So you should be able to read it by the time you finish your second pot of tea!) After you read it, I would be most grateful if you would leave a review — even a very short review — at amazon.com, GoodReads, or your own review blog (and I will happily provide a link to your blog if you will be good enough to notify me when it’s posted.) Thank you so much!
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