|Available on Amazon|
I have been looking forward to today's post for quite some time. Jennifer Redlarczyk is with us this Wednesday, and it is her first visit to More Agreeably Engaged as a guest. She often stops by to comment on other posts but she is the visiting author today! I'm thrilled to have her here. I forgot to mention that today is the three month anniversary of the release of Darcy's Melody. Happy Book-iversary.
Jennifer has some great things in store for you, Dear Readers. She shares two fun scenes from her new release, Darcy's Melody, one from Chapter One and one from Chapter Two. I think you are going to love both. I certainly did. Next, if you check out her links at the end of this post, she has a fabulous Pinterest Page that follows her book by chapters. That took some work and time. Last is her YouTube channel link. This one is very special, if will notice on the end credits. Wonderful job, Jen. I loved both of these as well as your Chapter excerpts. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.
In the year 1811 the war with France continues to rage, sending many injured men home to England where accommodations are limited. Raising funds to build an additional structure at the London Hospital for the wounded has become a top priority for Lady Eleanor Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock. She has not only enlisted members of the ton to assist with her committee, but women who are well-known throughout the trade community. It is within this endeavour that Elizabeth Bennet and Georgiana Darcy first meet through a mutual love of music. In this particular scene, however, Darcy and Elizabeth encounter each other under very different circumstances.
FROM CHAPTER ONE
Tuesday, 21 May 1811
Ballard’s was an eclectic treasure trove of rare first editions and unusual books located on the thoroughfare of Piccadilly. Although it appeared somewhat dingy and dimly lit from the outside, inside the ageing building the atmosphere was inviting, and a vast array of literature beckoned lovers of the written word.
Promptly at one o’clock, Fitzwilliam Darcy entered the bookshop and walked directly towards his favoured section. While paging through a military war journal, he instinctively glanced toward the back of the shop. Even with several patrons milling about the establishment today, Darcy’s eyes were drawn to a young lady who appeared to be examining a small book in the poetry section.
Closing the journal, Darcy ambled over to where the woman stood and began perusing the titles on a nearby shelf. After taking a book in hand, he purposely turned his head towards the young lady. Captivated by her large, dark emerald-green eyes sparkling with mischief, he felt his lips curve into a half smile when she spoke.
“Pray, sir, may I trouble you to hand me the book of Cowper poetry on the upper shelf?”
Darcy nodded. “With pleasure. Cowper is an excellent choice.”
As he reached for the book, she continued, “One poem in particular reminds me of Oakham Mount in Hertfordshire. I find I am rather desirous of its solace today if only through the eyes of the poet.”
Handing her the book, he answered in kind. “I understand your sentiments for I, too, am from the country and have longed to return to Derbyshire.”
Arching an eyebrow in his direction, she inclined her head and said, “I thank you, sir.”
“You are most welcome.”
As she turned the pages of her selection in search of the poem, Darcy heard the young lady gasp when both of her books slid out of her hands and onto the floor. “Oh dear,” she sighed, stooping down to retrieve them.
“Allow me,” he immediately offered. Both reaching for the books, Darcy felt her small, warm hand carefully slip a folded piece of paper into the palm of his own. The young lady had not replaced her glove after perusing her own book, and her skin was soft to the touch. Leaning closer, the faint scent of lavender seemed to strengthen, causing his chest to tighten and his heart to quicken in response.
Feigning innocence, she looked up at him and said, “Again, sir, I am in your debt. Perhaps I should make my purchases before I have another mishap.”
“Permit me to carry these to the desk for you.”
Acknowledging his offer with a slight curtsey, the young lady whispered, “Sir, I think we are being observed.” Then speaking louder, she added, “Thank you again. You are most kind.”
“Your servant.” He bowed. With his senses heightened from being forewarned of impending danger, Darcy spoke softly in return, “How did you come? I would not have you leave here unescorted.”
“There is a carriage waiting, sir. A manservant is nearby and a maid is within.”
“Then leave now and be careful.”
So now that Darcy and Elizabeth have met each other, let’s see what happens after they are properly introduced. At this point in the story, Mrs. Gardiner, Jane and Elizabeth have all been invited to Darcy House at Lady Matlock’s instance. Their purpose is to present Georgiana with the workings of her hospital charity and to invite the young woman to participate.
Since meeting Elizabeth at the bookshop, Darcy has learned more about her standing in society. Needless to say, he was not particularly happy at the prospect of his sister interacting with three women who resided in Cheapside. Shall we observe?
FROM CHAPTER TWO
Walking back into the room, Darcy returned to his former position near the mantelpiece, where he quietly resumed his previous demeanour. Taking note of him, Elizabeth retrieved a large envelope from her satchel and excused herself from the rest of the group.
“Mr. Darcy, may I have a moment of your time?”
“Miss Elizabeth Bennet.” He nodded.
“Sir, at your aunt’s suggestion, I have prepared some documentation detailing our proposals and projected expenditures to date. May I leave them for your perusal?” Holding out the envelope which he promptly took, Elizabeth gifted him with one of her mischievous smiles. Then quickly donning a more serious face, she whispered, “Sir, I must warn you, it might be a rather boring read since it does not contain any errant pages from my uncle’s War Journals.”
Momentarily caught off guard, Darcy purposely scowled at her tease. Even though he had avowed to remain distant, he could not resist challenging this self-assured young lady from Cheapside. In response, Darcy decided he would purposely provoke Elizabeth, testing her ability to hold her own against his remarks.
“Frankly, Miss Elizabeth, I find it rather odd a young woman with so little formal education could have much knowledge of the financial workings in matters such as these.”
Elizabeth, obviously surprised by his response, squared her shoulders and looked directly into his eyes. “Mr. Darcy, in Hertfordshire, where I come from, I am considered to be my father’s son with regard to these types of matters. I must inform you I have been thoroughly trained in the affairs of my father’s humble estate, having assisted him since the age of sixteen.”
Darcy schooled his face into an expression of disbelief. “Come now, Miss Bennet. Surely you do not expect me to believe such assertions.”
“Sir, I have often acted as my father’s secretary, studying his financial ledgers and formal documents. With his encouragement, I have settled disputes with our tenants and attended to their needs. I can assure you I do comprehend a great deal in this respect.”
Yes, that did raise her ire, he thought with the intent of continuing to annoy her. “I must confess I am curious to know what sort of man your father is. It is highly unusual for any gentleman to entrust the running of his estate to his young daughter.”
“Mr. Darcy.” She glared at him in defiance. “My father may not have had the means to educate me in the manner of the more affluent, but I must defend him in saying I was given every advantage a young man under his care and tutelage would have had.”
While she waited for his response, Darcy studied Elizabeth’s face, taking delight in the fire he saw in her eyes. “You are very singular, indeed!”
“Pray, Mr. Darcy, have you never encountered any ladies of the ton who are bold enough to invade a gentleman’s domain in this fashion?”
Rubbing his chin for a moment before responding, he finally answered, “With the exception of my aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I would definitely have to say … no.” Then giving her a patronizing grin, he continued, “Where many ladies of my acquaintance are well educated, I find most accomplished women choose to devote their time to more refined activities, such as music or drawing. They have studied the modern languages and have sought the improvement of their minds through extensive reading. They do not take pleasure in the invasion of a gentleman’s domain in this manner, as you have intimated.”
“An accomplished woman!” declared Elizabeth, looking rather indignant.
Before she could further respond, he put the envelope on the mantelpiece and said with another attempt to provoke her, “I must say I am looking forward to examining your work, Miss Elizabeth, and I shall bring forth any pertinent comments, should I find something amiss.”
“Amiss?” Her eyes sparkled as though she were accepting his unspoken challenge. “Mr. Darcy, I shall eagerly await your evaluation. Of course, I should warn you, sir, all of my efforts have been reviewed and met with the approval of your aunt’s very own solicitor.” Turning up the corners of her mouth in a self-assured smile, she attempted to mock him.
Darcy was exhilarated by her response, but continued to give the appearance of indifference. “So be it, Miss Elizabeth, I shall endeavour to give these documents my full attention.”
“Thank you, Mr. Darcy.” Elizabeth curtseyed then turned with the intention of re-joining the ladies.
“Miss Elizabeth,” he said, halting her with his words. She boldly looked back at him arching her brow. Darcy would not placate Elizabeth with an apology for annoying her since he had purposely meant to unnerve her and she bore it well. He would, however, offer up his thanks where Georgiana was concerned.
“If I may, I would like to extend my gratitude for the kindness you, Miss Bennet, and Mrs. Gardiner have shown to my sister this afternoon.” His face relaxed, revealing a half smile. “It is greatly appreciated.” He bowed.
Surprised by his sincerity, Elizabeth softened her own expression and replied, “Mr. Darcy, your sister is a lovely, sensitive, young woman. It has been our privilege to speak with her today.
So what do you think? How did you like this second meeting? Did Darcy behave as you might have expected. Please let me know in your comments and you will be entered in the giveaway for two eBooks of Darcy’s Melody. Thanks for stopping by and thanks so very much to Janet Taylor for hosting me and my new book today. Jen Red ♫
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a private music instructor living in Crown Point, Indiana where I teach voice, violin and piano and work as an adjunct music professor at Purdue University Northwest. As a teen, I was introduced to Jane Austen by my mother who loved old books, old movies and old songs. In the summer of 2011, I stumbled upon Jane Austen Fanfiction at a Barnes and Noble store and became obsessed with this genre. From there, I met several talented JAFF authors and devoted readers who were active on social media and eventually became a moderator for the private JAFF forum, DarcyandLizzy.com. It was there that I first tried my hand at writing short stories. I have the greatest appreciation for the creative world of Jane Austen Fanfiction and am thrilled to be a part of the JAFF community.
You can find me at: DarcyandLizzy.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on YouTube. On my Pinterest page I’ve posted inspiration pictures for each chapter of Darcy’s Melody, and on my YouTube channel you can listen to the recordings I made of Lizzy’s songs. ~ Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red) ♫
|Available on Amazon|
It's giveaway time! Isn't that wonderful! As Jennifer already mentioned, she is giving away two eBooks and the giveaway is international. Be sure to leave your contact info, if I do not already have it, for your chance to win. I always feel bad when I'm unable to contact a winner and have to choose another. I hope that will not happen this time. Leave us a comment and tell us if Darcy behaved as you expected. What do you think of these scenes, the Pinterest page and the YouTube video. Do you have a favorite? Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck to all. Giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 21st of October, Trafalgar Day.
Jennifer, thank you for being my guest today. It has been such a pleasure to have you stop by. I enjoyed your post. The scenes were delightful, and your Pinterest page was awesome. I liked how you had it set up by chapters. Your video was lovely, too. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of viewing it and listening to it. Last but not least, I really like your book cover. It is so pretty. Congratulations and best wishes with Darcy's Melody.