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Mrs Darcy’s Diamonds - A Jane Austen Jewel Box Novella.
Thank you, Janet, for hosting me on your blog today to talk about my new novella.
It’s no secret that I’m very fond of jewellery and so when the idea to write a series of novellas based on Georgian pieces came to me, I got very excited. I discovered recently that one set of my ancestors were jewellers, silversmiths, and pistol makers, so I think my passion for jewellery must be in my genes!
The first in the series is Mrs Darcy’s Diamonds - I’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing this book, which features most of the characters from Pride and Prejudice. Lady Catherine is a joy to write because she is so horrible, but I’ve had a great time making sure that Elizabeth keeps the upper hand, and even Mr Darcy weighs in to give full support to his darling wife. Almost from the beginning Lady Catherine de Bourgh makes life as difficult as she can for Elizabeth, and the ring is a bone of contention between them. And when the ring is lost, it’s not only Lizzy’s reputation that’s at stake, as she discovers a scandal that seems not only serious enough to ‘pollute the shades of Pemberley’, but also capable of causing its very downfall.
Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage is one focus of this story. As newly weds they are still learning about one another, and I really enjoyed writing scenes which explore their growing relationship. But, Georgiana Darcy also has a strong tale of her own in this novella, and she is experiencing what it’s really like to fall in love. Added to the mix are the Bennets, Bingleys and Wickhams, Lady Catherine, of course, her daughter Anne and Mrs Jenkinson - all characters that are such fun to write! Last, but not least, are two characters of my own, Antoine and Louise de Valois, French cousins, who create havoc the moment they arrive at Pemberley. I have so enjoyed writing this story and I hope you enjoy it! My next novella in this series will be Miss Darcy’s Parisian Pin, which follows on from the conclusion of Mrs Darcy’s Diamonds.
Pemberley, Derbyshire - 12th December 1812
Elizabeth Darcy was seated at her dressing table, deep in thought. Newly wed, just a bride of four weeks, Elizabeth contemplated her reflection in the ancient looking glass. The silver filigree mirror was flecked with tiny specks where the metal mercury at the back was worn away, giving her reflection and that of the room a dream-like quality. The scent of lavender, dust-sweet, rose from the drying flowers arranged in a Chinese bowl on the table near the window. Framed within the scallop shells and scrolls she saw the winter sunlight fall in dazzling bars across her Chippendale bed, sparkling on the grey satin of the rumpled counterpane, and glittering the silver thread on the embroidered panels. Soft depressions in the piles of pillows bore witness to the fact that the Darcys had not long risen, and Elizabeth felt the familiar pang of pleasure inside as she recollected last night’s passionate embraces in the arms of her beloved husband. This was, no doubt, her favourite room in the whole house. It was her very own, one of several rooms that Fitzwilliam Darcy had declared were to be her kingdom, for her sole use and pleasure. Her darling husband had his own suite of rooms but it was an infinite measure of delight to her that, as yet, he appeared to have no interest in sleeping in his own chamber.
Her new ring felt strangely unfamiliar on her finger. Fitzwilliam had given it to her last night. She played over the scene in her mind, remembering how as she lay in his arms, he dropped a kiss on the top of her head, before propping himself up on one elbow to gaze at her so intently that she was almost unable to meet his eyes.
‘I didn’t think it was possible to love you any more than I do,’ he said pushing a handful of dark curls from her forehead and kissing her tenderly on the lips.
Reluctantly pulling back again Elizabeth watched his eyes flicker over her face, lingering over her reclining figure. Under his studied scrutiny, she held her breath hardly daring to move, as his mouth came down on hers again, kissing her so sweetly that she experienced a longing to be loved such as she’d never felt before.
‘I have something … just a trifle I wish to give you …’ he whispered.
Leaning away from her, she saw him feeling under the pillows before he drew out a small leather box.
‘Fitzwilliam!’ Elizabeth’s delight was plain to see. ‘But, this is too much coming on top of the beautiful necklace you gave me on our marriage.’
‘Nothing could be too much for my wonderful wife - besides, I must admit that I feel it absolutely necessary. As you know, my aunt will be here in the morning, and it will fall on you to entertain her whilst I am on business. And then there is the upcoming ball - you’ve had so much to do and organise. I just wanted to say how much I love and appreciate all you do.’
A large diamond encircled by sixteen smaller diamonds, set in a gold ring, winked at her from its velvet-lined box.
‘Oh, it is the most divine jewel I have ever seen! The diamonds are exquisite. Goodness, how many there are!’
‘Sixteen in total - one for each of the children we shall have.’
Elizabeth looked up in alarm at Mr Darcy’s serious expression. His looks were certainly sincere. Then just as the thought of the idea of sixteen children and all that would entail was sinking in she saw his mouth twitch in amusement, which set her off into peals of laughter, as his face changed with a teasing lop-sided grin.
‘Fitzwilliam, you are a rogue! For a moment I thought you were in earnest. My darling, I thank you, but I really do not need such extravagant gifts. Everything I do for you and for both of us, I do with pleasure and joy - I am the one who should be bestowing presents on you. My life and the time I spend with you is the treasure of my existence - you are the diamond of my days.’
He leaned forward to take her hand, placing the ring gently on her finger. Her hand was cold but his was warm to the touch, and she closed her fingers round his wrist relishing the heat. Instinctively, she lifted his hand to her cheek, and no more words were needed, as he held her so closely she could feel the drumbeat of his heart against her own.
Elizabeth felt she’d come home, she felt safe in his arms and knew nothing would ever come between her and the man she loved.
‘Fitzwilliam …’ she whispered. ‘I did not know … I never guessed that I could feel like this … that being together could be so heavenly.’
Mr Darcy smiled and pulled her closer still. ‘It can be even better.’
Ooh, what a marvelous and tantalizing excerpt. You have me ready to read more this minute. Thank you so much for sharing with us about this first book in your new series. I enjoyed reading about your jewellery ancestry too. Thanks to your post at Austen Variations it was fun to view some of your lovely pieces. Thank you for coming by and letting me be a part in getting the word out about this new novella. I hope you will come back and visit again when you have another release in this series.
Thank you also for giving away an eBook to one of my lucky readers! Yes, readers, there is a giveaway of this fabulous novella and it is international. We want to hear your share in the conversation so leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway. Be sure to include your email address in your comment. To prevent unwanted spam, put your email address with an (at) instead of @. Winners will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight on September 18, 2014. Good luck to all.