Friday, December 12, 2014

Monica Fairview and Mr. Darcy's Challenge

It is with pleasure and no small amount of excitement that I welcome back author, Monica Fairview. Her novel, Mr. Darcy's Challenge is now available and I am anxious to read it and see what happens following Mr. Darcy's Pledge. (Here is the link to my review.) I know, dear readers, that you will enjoy the extract that follows the post. There is a giveaway too for one lucky person! Yay!

Thank you, Janet, for this opportunity to appear on More Agreeably Engaged as a stop on my blog tour for Mr. Darcy’s Challenge. I do love Janet’s original artwork, don’t you?  I could look at it for hours.

Since I started my blog tour, I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between Jane Austen variations and sequels. Since I’ve done both, I can tell you they are a completely different kettle of fish. With sequels, you are more limited in what you can do with the characters. When I wrote The Other Mr. Darcy, for example, I found myself constantly challenged because I was writing about Caroline Bingley, and readers did not really want a happy ending for her. Yet since I was writing a romance, and Caroline was the main character, it was rather unavoidable. I was limited as to how I could approach her character, however, since I was picking up the novel from where it left off.

When writing a variation, however, you can allow free reign to your imagination, which is an absolute delight. Obviously, the characters should be consistent, but your plot can start anywhere and take on any twists and turns you choose. You are faced with a challenge of a different sort: how to make sure the characters remain plausible even in very different situations. I must admit I am enjoying that challenge so far.

Speaking of challenges, Darcy has a few of his own in my latest novel. I chose the title deliberately because Darcy daydreams about becoming Lizzy’s champion in shining armor. I love the idea that he needs a Challenge to prove his worth to her, and that’s what he does when he rides off later in the novel to rescue her.

In the extract below from Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, however, we are not yet at that stage. He and Elizabeth have quarreled, and Darcy is seeing her for the first time after their big fight.  In this extract, Darcy has just been to visit the Gardiners to inform them and Mr. Bennet that he has found Wickham. He does not know Elizabeth is in town. The moment is both poignant and comic.

As the door shut behind him, he set his walking stick firmly on the ground, looked down the stairs with resolution and smoothed out the inside of his beaver.  

“Mr. Darcy!” said a much too familiar voice. “What are you doing here? Is there news?”

Darcy was so stunned he dropped the hat. It tumbled down the stairs and lay in the street on the dirty cobblestones. He stared at it for too long, unable to gather his thoughts together. By the time he registered the danger, a cart had come by and reduced it to pulp.

“Oh,” said Elizabeth. “I am sorry to have startled you and ruined your hat.”

He felt naked without it, totally naked and exposed. He could hardly say so, however. Years of practice in uttering polite phrases prompted him to answer. “It was entirely my fault. Say no more of it, I beg you.”

His voice was so strained it sounded unfamiliar to him. He tried to steady his breath, which was coming as fast as if he had arrived from running uphill rather than from inside the Gardiner’s house, but the more he tried to appear in control, the more breathless he became.

He watched her from the corner of his eye. She was wearing an alluring walking dress in a very attractive shade of green that showed off her ripe figure to perfection. It brought out the sparkle in her eyes and the wine-red color of her lips.

They stood there, staring at the ruined hat as if at some precious object that had been irredeemably destroyed. The specter of their last encounter stood between them.

Dodging the traffic, a street urchin dashed across from the other side and took it up, and, without so much as a glance towards Darcy, ran back to the other side where he proceeded to dust it and pat it back into a parody of a top hat, crooked and torn.

“Are you not going to stop him?” asked Elizabeth, curiously.

Darcy shrugged. “The hat – if it could still be called that – is no use to me. If he can sell it or use it himself, then I will not begrudge him that.”

The urchin’s theft – if that was what it could be called -- had served a useful function, in fact. It had given Darcy time to recover from the unexpected encounter. His pulse was still unsteady, but at least it was not galloping like a horse running from a fire.

“I did not expect to see you here,” he remarked. It was a colossal understatement. 

“We arrived last night. My mother was convinced my father would call Wickham out and be killed. Nothing would ease her fears but being here where she could prevent him.”

“I see,” he said, trying to think of something better to say but failing.

“You have not yet told me the purpose of your visit to my uncle and aunt,” she said. “Has Wickham been found?”

Darcy took a deep breath. “Yes, he has.”


He was behaving like an idiot. She needed reassurance and he was not providing it.

“I have found Wickham, but Miss Lydia was not with him.”

About the Author:

Monica Fairview

Monica is a longtime admirer of Jane Austen and likes to write down her fantasies about living in the Regency period. She has written two traditional Jane Austen sequels,THE OTHER MR. DARCY and THE DARCY COUSINS and a story in the anthology JANE AUSTEN MADE ME DO IT. Her new series consists of traditional Pride and Prejudice ‘what-if’ variations. MR. DARCY’S CHALLENGE is the second in the series. 

Monica Fairview’s real claim to fame is that she lived in Elizabeth Gaskell’s house in Manchester as a teenager, when it was crumbling and neglected, so you could say she has the smog of NORTH & SOUTH in her blood. After that, Monica lived in the USA for many years, where she taught literature to captive victims (not necessarily captivated). She now lives in Surrey within the Greater London area and loves visiting historical properties when it isn’t raining.

Visit Monica at 
her website
Austen Variations
her blog
on Facebook
Twitter @Monica_Fairview
and Pinterest

Below are the links to where Monica's books may be purchased.
Links to sites carrying Mr. Darcy’s Challenge


I had never thought about the different challenges associated with writing a sequel as opposed to a variation, Monica, and I like your thoughts on the subject. I do find that it is important as a reader to try to allow for the characters to be affected or even changed 'somewhat' by the circumstances they encounter. 

With this tantalizing excerpt, I cannot wait to read more! The hat scene was perfection and I could see it all unfolding in my mind as I read. Darcy's response about the street urchin was spot-on for the man we know and love! I know my readers will be as excited as I am to read more and with the giveaway opportunity, someone will get the chance to do just that. Your generosity is much appreciated. 

Thank you for your lovely comments about my artwork. They were very much appreciated. The cover design for this second book is lovely too. I thought the first one was gorgeous but any shade of purple is wonderful in my eyes.

I'm so happy that you stopped by on your blog tour, Monica Fairview, and that you are hosting a giveaway for my readers. That is especially fun this time of year. Monica is giving away one eBook copy of Mr. Darcy's Challenge to one lucky reader from US or UK only. Please leave a comment to be entered. You know the drill so please leave your email that I may contact you if you are the winner. Giveaway ends midnight December 18, 2014.


  1. Thank you for having me on your blog, Janet.It's always a pleasure. I enjoyed your remarks at the end of the post. Hope to be back here soon!

    1. It is my pleasure, as always. I hope you have much success with this book and I feel quite confident that you will! I will be eagerly awaiting a return visit!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was a fun read. I liked the street urchin. He was quite resourceful. skamper25 (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Debbie - -thank you so much for saying so!! Yes, I must admit I did enjoy that aspect of the scene :)

    2. I'm glad you stopped by Deborah Ann. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I enjoyed the first book and look forward to reading this one - so what has Wickham done to Lydia or what has Lydia done?

    1. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed Mr. Darcy's Pledge, Vesper. Good luck winning a copy of this one!

    2. That is a very good question, Vesper, and one I want to know the answer to, as well.

  4. I never gave the distinction of how a writer approached the characters in a variation or sequel much thought. Interesting, about that, Monica!

    LOL! That scene made me laugh when I read it. There were so many amusing points in the book.

    Janet, please don't enter me, thanks!

    1. Thanks, Sophia Rose. I'm glad you stopped by anyway!

  5. Thanks for stopping by, Sophia Rose!!

  6. I'm in the middle of Volume I now. Can't wait for this one!

    1. You will have perfect timing, finish the first and have the second already released. Maybe no waiting time!!! Good luck with the giveaway, Bonnie.

  7. Loved the excerpt, Monica! Wonder where Miss Lydia is? :-)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Pamh5230 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. Pam, I'm wondering about Miss Lydia too! Hmmm???

  8. Read both books and loved them--don't enter me as I have the books. Congrats to whoever wins. Thanks for everything.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, MaryAnn and leaving a comment. Glad to hear that you loved both books.

    2. Thanks for saying so, MaryAnn!! I'm happy to hear it!

  9. I also did not think much about the difference between sequels and variations as I love both genres. Now that Monica has explained this, I prefer variations as it give a lot more room to maneuver before Darcy and Lizzy get together. The excerpt is the icing to the wonderful post and I'm excited to read the book.

    But I'm a bit disappointed that the giveaway is for UK and US readers only. If it's a print edition, I can understand the cost of shipping the book is going to be expensive. It's easier if it's an e-book because international readers like me get an equal chance to win. Though I don't understand, I respect the decision made.

    1. Thanks, Luthien -- glad you enjoyed the excerpt. There are several other opportunities to win copies going on at the moment :)

  10. Thanks for the giveaway.

  11. Really enjoyed this post and especially learning about yet another author inspired by Austen. It always makes finding a book just that much easier when I am seeking the next read.

    Love the tidbit about Monica's living experience. I am going to check out all of the links and enjoy doing that with part of my day.

  12. I really enjoy variations better than sequels. I cannot wait to read more of Mr. Darcy's challenges and how he overcomes them.
    clutterkitty @ gmail . com

  13. Wonderful post! I cannot wait to read book 2!
    Thank you for the giveaway!
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

    1. Good to see you here, Becky, and thanks for your kind comment.

  14. Please don't enter me in the giveaway, just popping by to say congrats, Monica! I read book 1 and I can't wait to read book 2. Lovely, lovely story and great take on Mr Darcy :)

  15. Thank you, Joana. You're a dear to say so!

  16. Love the excerpt! Poor Darcy always spellbound and lost for words in Elizabeth's presences.

    Thank you For the giveaway opportunity My email address is tdungnvu (at) yahoo (dot) com