By the way, I'm so glad that you did not change sections of your British Literature course! Think what a difference that would have made for you and for us fans! Now I'll give the floor to you! :)
I didn’t read Jane Austen until I was forced to do so in college. Pride and Prejudice – sounded depressing and I actually considered changing sections of my British Literature course when I saw it on the reading list. After I read the book, I was hooked. For Thanksgiving break, my roommate and I were both staying on campus, so we borrowed my professor's VHS set of the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice that we binge watched twice.
Like a good dealer, I got my next roommate addicted as well. Days where one of us was sick or having a really bad day we would pop tape #4 into the VCR, curl up in our pajamas, and watch Colin Firth dive into a lake.
I had never heard of fanfiction and was wandering Target one day when I discovered Linda Berdoll's Darcy Takes a Wife. I devoured the book, then proceeded to continue my dealer-like tendencies by passing it on to everyone I had already hooked on Pride and Prejudice. As I was ordering my 4th copy of the book on Amazon, the site suggested some variations by Abigail Reynolds. After ordering a few of her books I started getting more suggestions and finally realized Pride and Prejudice variations were a genre all their own. Since then, I've been hooked.
As I was writing the epilogue to Recognizing Love I discovered the heart of why I love variations so much. Not only do they provide an opportunity to spend more time with my favorite characters from all fiction, the stories provide a plethora of ways for Elizabeth and Darcy to find happiness. No matter how wrong things go, there is some way they can find each other in the end. In this mini excerpt Elizabeth is talking to her Aunt Gardiner.
“When I think of all the whims of fate, I feel positively faint. How very different my life would be if we had come to Pemberley the day before, or if Mr. Darcy had not ridden ahead of his party. I wonder if we ever would have met again.”
“You would have come together again, Lizzy. Some things are simply meant to be. If you had not seen him at that time then you would have seen him at Jane and Bingley’s wedding or run into him on the streets of London. I cannot believe life to be so fragile that we have only one moment in which to find and seize our happiness. You might as well ask what would have happened had you not told him of Lydia’s plight or had he not chosen to join us in our search for her. Still, the two of you would have found one another again.”
“I hope that you are correct and there is some master plan for our happiness that offers multiple chances. Much as I am determined to act of my own free will, I would not mind having a safety in reserve.”
If they can do it, maybe there is hope for the rest of us to find a happily-ever-after, no matter what shape our lives may be in at the moment. I certainly hope so.
Today’s excerpt takes place after Darcy and Elizabeth are engaged. He and Bingley have just arrived in Hertfordshire and are joining the Bennets for dinner at Longbourn.
Darcy had not partaken of a meal at Longbourn before but he suspected Mrs. Bennet had set her best table for him. While he would have rather sat next to Elizabeth, he was content to have her directly across from him where he could look upon her face. He could only be grateful they sat next to Mr. Bennet instead of his wife, leaving that pleasure to Bingley and Miss Bennet.
As Mrs. Bennet and Miss Kitty discussed a recent call upon Lady Lucas, taking great care to describe her gown, Mr. Bennet shook his head before turned to Darcy and muttering, “Welcome to the family.” The gentlemen shared a look as Elizabeth covered a laugh with her napkin. Darcy had been largely ignoring them, a skill he imagined Mr. Bennet had mastered long ago.
Elizabeth rejoined the ladies’ conversation, laughing at some comment, and Darcy marveled at the complete change in expression that came over her whenever she did so. This picture was how he envisioned her when they were apart, face glowing with diversion, and her eyes a bit saucy. The dining room of Pemberley would be a lively place from the day he brought her home. Far too often it was a quiet room where he and Georgiana might discuss events of the day. In the future he expected laughter to become commonplace.
“Mr. Darcy? Are you woolgathering?” she asked and finally broke his reverie.
“My apologies. I suppose I was. Forgive my inattention.”
“And what weighty thoughts consume you so?”
“You are mistaken. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow.” The eyes in question glowed in response.
Mr. Bennet chuckled, reminding Darcy they were not without an audience. He wished, not for the first time since they sat down, that she was beside him so he could speak words only she might hear. Soon enough.
Talk turned to Pemberley and Bingley described his latest visit with his sisters.
“I cannot say that I was surprised when I received Darcy’s letter informing me of his engagement and intention to come to Hertfordshire. We had all noticed a change in him after Miss Elizabeth’s visit.”
Mrs. Bennet sighed dramatically. “And never did any of us have an idea of his attachment while he was here.”
“How did Miss Bingley respond?” Miss Kitty asked with a wicked grin, and her sisters all sent her quelling glares.
“They do enjoy being the first to have any on dit,” Bingley said quickly as he fidgeted with his napkin.
“We are advised to accept God’s will for our lives and not covet what is outside our reach,” Miss Mary said with her usual solemnity. “Disappointment may be inevitable, but one can find comfort by adhering to one’s duty.”
“Thank you, Mary,” Mr. Bennet said with a sigh as an awkward silence descended upon the group. Mrs. Bennet was not one to allow silence to reign at her table for long.
“Lizzy has ever been a dutiful child,” she said to Darcy. Unable to think of a response, he looked to Elizabeth who was staring at her mother in abject incredulity.
“Come now Mrs. Bennet, that is hardly true,” Mr. Bennet said with a sardonic chuckle, “and you must be glad she does not heed all your instruction, else she would now be Mrs. Collins.” Elizabeth frowned at her father.
“Never would I have done so had I any idea she had caught the eye of someone better,” Mrs. Bennet cried out in alarm.
“When was this?” Darcy asked.
“She did not tell you?” Miss Kitty asked. “’Twas the day after the Netherfield ball. Lizzy flatly denied him but he persisted until she had to leave the room. Then Mamma demanded she go back and accept him.”
“That is enough, Kitty,” Elizabeth said as her color rose.
Darcy’s horror must have been evident as Elizabeth quickly reassured him, “I tried to make my refusal as plainly and gently as I could, but Mr. Collins is not a man of great comprehension.”
“Nor would I have ever allowed that buffoon to marry you. Let that serve as a lesson for your matchmaking, Mrs. Bennet. At least you need never fear, Mr. Darcy. Lizzy is well able to refuse a proposal she does not desire.”
Elizabeth’s pleading look to her father and the twinkle in Mr. Bennet’s eye told Darcy that her father knew of his first proposal. That he shared company with Mr. Collins in being a recipient of her refusal was mortifying. That she had been kinder in her refusal of Mr. Collins allowed humor to finally break through his horror.
He looked to Elizabeth who appeared mortified by the conversation. “Yes, Elizabeth knows her own mind and would not be persuaded into accepting less than is her due.” He sent her a teasing grin as she met his gaze. “I must be grateful she accepted me.” Elizabeth visibly eased and grinned back.
“As if Lizzy would ever dare refuse an offer from you,” Mrs. Bennet said with a laugh.
Elizabeth smirked at her mother’s words and sent him a challenging look, seeming to dare him to share their tale. He blinked and feigned ignorance, an expression he had seen Elizabeth use often enough. She shook her head playfully as she laughed once more into her napkin.
They did not need words to converse after all.
Recognizing Love BlurbSecrets will surface...
Accepting Mr. Darcy’s proposal and allowing him to assume a love she does not yet feel pains Miss Elizabeth Bennet but she is certain she can love him…in time. After all of the miseries he endured to salvage her youngest sister’s reputation, how could she not come to love such a man?
Unfortunately, Lady Catherine arrives, bringing even thornier complications. With the many objections Darcy’s family will have regarding his marriage to the daughter of an unremarkable country squire, what more trouble can Lady Catherine stir up should she learn Elizabeth’s secret?In this Pride and Prejudice romance variation, what will Mr. Darcy do when he learns his beloved has accepted him although her heart is not engaged?
About the Author
Lizzy Brandon once attempted to switch sections of a Brit Lit course after seeing Pride and Prejudice on the reading list. How could a book with such a boring title possibly compete with Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, or Frankenstein? Luckily, her request was denied and she was introduced to Jane Austen’s amazing world of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.
Years later, Lizzy was thrilled to discover the world of Pride and Prejudice sequels and variations where her favorite characters could live on with countless adventures. After enjoying reading variations for years, she decided to try writing her own.
Blog Tour: September 13-28
From Pemberley to Milton: September 13Jane Austen Book Club: September 15
Babblings of a Bookworm: September 17
Just Jane: September 18
So Little Time: September 20
My Love for Jane Austen: September 22
Diary of an Eccentric: September 24
Austenesque Reviews: September 26
More Agreeably Engaged: September 28
Rafflecopter Giveaway: September 13-30
3 Paperback copies of Recognizing Love
3 $10 Amazon eGift Cards
Open worldwide. Winners will need to provide email or physical address to receive prize.
Thank you for being my guest today. It was such a pleasure reading how you "hooked" so many of your friends on P&P! A close friend of mine hooked me in the same way and I'm so glad she did! :) Several sentences in your post resonated with me! I feel similar to the lines below.
"As I was writing the epilogue to Recognizing Love I discovered the heart of why I love variations so much. Not only do they provide an opportunity to spend more time with my favorite characters from all fiction, the stories provide a plethora of ways for Elizabeth and Darcy to find happiness...If they can do it, maybe there is hope for the rest of us to find a happily-ever-after, no matter what shape our lives may be in at the moment. I certainly hope so."
I love reading stories with lots of Darcy/Lizzy time together. I am also a fan of falling action where they spend some time together after finally "getting together."
Thank you for visiting my blog today and best wishes with your book. I look forward to what you have in store for us in the future. Please know you are welcome to come back anytime.