Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Miss Price's Decision...Eliza Shearer

My guest today is the delightful Eliza Shearer. She first visited my blog on September 27, 2017, when she released Miss Darcy's Beaux. Today she is sharing an excerpt from her newest book, Miss Price's Decision. I'm already curious as to what the looming decision might be. Are you? Have any of you read the book yet? If so, share your thoughts with us in the comments. There is a giveaway too!

Eliza, I'm so glad to have you here. I'll now turn this over to you.

I am delighted to be here today to present to you Miss Price’s Decision, a Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice variation. The protagonist is Susan Price, Fanny’s spirited  younger sister, who replaced her as Lady Bertram’s companion when she married Edmund.

In the excerpt below, Susan is staying at Mr and Mrs Yates’ London home. They are having a party, but Susan is unable to attend, because she has to keep unwell Lady Bertram company. However, late at night, she cannot resist the temptation to sneak downstairs to observe what is happening...

I hope you enjoy the excerpt, which features the presence of a More Agreeably Engaged favourite: the one and only Mr Darcy! Do not forget to comment below if you want to be entered in the giveaway, and if you do so, best of luck!

Miss Price’s Decision, Chapter 5 (excerpt)

There was music filtering through the carpet-covered floor boards and I could hear lively steps. Dancing! Last time I had danced it had been at Fanny’s wedding. I could not resist the thought of watching the gentlemen and ladies downstairs engage in a minuet, so went towards the door, opened it quietly and slid down the stairs, careful not to make any noise.
The ground and first floors of the house were awash with light. The servants had done an excellent job at filling the space with wax candles and keeping them topped up, and their glow was enhanced by the large mirrors strategically placed along the corridors. Keeping close to the wall, I tiptoed towards the drawing room double doors. I could hear music and laughter coming from the other side. My heart was beating as loud as a cannon, but I could not repress my curiosity. Bending my knees, I peeked through the keyhole.
The front room had been transformed into an impromptu ballroom. The furniture had been pushed to the sides or removed altogether, and ladies of a certain age sat on the chairs and sofas placed around the room. In the middle of the dance floor there were five couples dancing with gracious, flowing movements. Julia was one of them, although I could not see Mr Yates.
There were many more ladies than gentlemen in the room, so I wondered if the parlour had been turned into a card room for the evening. As if on cue, a group of men appeared from nowhere and came towards the double doors. As quickly as I could, I stood up and rushed down the passage towards the back of the house, away from the light and noise. They had not seen me, but to my despair, they were headed in my direction.
I reached the end of the corridor and I looked around, gasping. There were two doors, and I tried the first one; it was locked. I wrapped my hand around the handle of the second door. To my immense relief, it opened, and I entered a small room that smelt of books, tobacco and furniture wax. I closed the door behind me as carefully as my runaway heart would allow. Inside, there was only darkness.
However, the footsteps were not receding. I realised with sheer terror that the men were headed for the room I was hiding in. As the voices reached the door, I ran towards the wall opposite, hoping to find a window. My fingers touched thick damask curtains, and without a second thought, I hid behind them.
The door opened, and several male voices entered what I could only assume was Mr Yates’ study. Their candles drew puddles of light onto the floor, which grew and multiplied as the candelabra in the room were lit. Staying as still as possible, holding my breath and trying to ignore the tingling at the back of my neck, I prayed they would not spot me behind the curtains.
There was the clinking of glass and the pouring of liquids. Slowly, the acrid smell of tobacco filled the space, and with it, the hopes that my ordeal would be over soon vanished.
“So, Bingley, kindly expand on what Cole was saying earlier.” I recognised Mr Yates’ voice.
“I am not sure I understand what you mean.”
“Look at you! You have the unmistakably idiotic air of a man in love.”
“I must admit that I met a very beautiful girl in my time in Hertfordshire,” replied Mr Bingley with bonhomie.
“A passing fancy, I dare say,” added a serious voice which I guessed was Mr Darcy’s.
“Miss Bennet is a lovely young lady,” replied Mr Bingley with the same good humour.
“Her connections are most unsuitable.”
Mr Darcy’s words were grave. He clearly did not approve of his friend’s admiration for the lady in question. He was also very close to where I was. I peered through a sliver between the curtains. In the candlelight, his profile was worthy of a Roman emperor about to address the Senate. I felt my stomach tighten. Why did I find him so captivating? He was handsome, to be fair, but there had to be something else.
“To be frank, if the family is wealthy enough, one may live with it,” said Mr Yates.  
“You old rascal! You are married to a Baronet’s daughter,” exclaimed a fourth voice, which I took to be Mr Cole’s.
“A disgraced Baronet, may I add. You missed the grand scandal of the Rushworths’ divorce.”
“You should have thought twice before eloping with the sister,” laughed Cole.
“Trust me, I had no inkling at the time that those involved would show such poor sense. But no matter; it is seldom spoken about now, and the rest of my connections are secure enough for the whole disagreeable matter to be mostly ignored as far as my career is concerned.”
“If only married all couples behaved in a more civilised manner,” said Mr Cole. “Indiscretions are bound to happen. If we are to hold marriage as sacrosanct, we have to necessarily accept that the flesh is weak.”
“You cannot possibly be speaking seriously,” objected Mr Darcy.
“I am perfectly serious. It would be much more reasonable for the husband and society as a whole to overlook the affair. They would then be able to continue to enjoy the charms of what surely must be a delightful lady.  Instead, I imagine that the poor creature was banned for life in some ghastly little cottage in the remote countryside. Do you know if that is the case, Yates?”
“I cannot say that I do. Get Bertram drunk sometime and ask him. On second thought, don’t bother. He hardly drinks these days.”
“Really?” said Mr Cole with a tinge of surprise. “I thought he would be here tonight. I have not seen him in years.”
“He has changed in recent times, and become quite a bore. I believe he is staying in Gloucestershire with those dullards, the Balfours,” replied Mr Yates. “I ran into him a couple of weeks ago and, judging from the pathetic look on Bertram’s face, I suspect he had high hopes of returning with a promise of love from a fair lady.”
“The charms of Venus are many, it seems,” replied Cole. “It must be the time of year.”
Tempora mutants, nos et mutamur in illis, my friend.”
“You were always such a show off, Yates!” Cole was laughing. “Now, kindly translate for those of us who were glad to forget our Latin as soon as we stepped out of university.”
“Times change and we change with them,” mumbled Mr Darcy.
Mr Darcy’s face was all I could see from my hiding pace, and when he said those words and his brow creased, my heart stopped. I knew at once why he looked so familiar. From my perspective, in that light, with that particular gesture, he could have been Jamie’s cousin. Mr Darcy was taller and his features were finer, but there was a definite resemblance between the men.
“So, Bingley, who is this pastoral nymph that has so bewitched you? Do you intend to make her your wife?” asked Mr Yates.
“I dare say you are making a mountain out of a molehill,” interrupted Mr Darcy. “Bingley just needs to spend some more time in superior company. His views will soon change.”
“And you will make sure they do, of course. Tempora may mutants, but certain things remain the same, don’t they, Darcy?” asked Mr Cole.
A tense silence followed, until Mr Yates intervened.
“Cole, I take it you are back in England for good, then.”
“In all likelihood. You will remember my uncle, who put me through university. He passed away last year, and given that his marriage to my aunt only produced two girls, I have become the de facto manager of the family estate.”
“I dare say you will soon find yourself married to one of your cousins,” said Mr Darcy.
“My cousins, although perfectly lovely and amiable young ladies, have been unwell for some time, so marriage in their case is quite out of the question. But allow me to express my surprise at your concern about such matters. Is it something that you are thinking about as well? Have you too fallen for a rustic beauty? Perhaps I should stop at this mythical place on my way to Bath. What is the village called, Bingley?
“Nonsense,” interrupted Darcy. “There was nobody interesting enough to tempt me.”
“You did acknowledge that Miss Bennet’s sister had fine eyes,” said Bingley.
Darcy did not reply. A brief silence followed, until Bingley spoke again.
“Cole, you mentioned that you are planning to go to Bath. When are you leaving town?”
“On Friday. My aunt and cousins stay there, and they are very eager to see me. My intention was to spend a few more days in London in order to enjoy the white-fleshed pleasures on offer in the darkest corners of the city, much wished for after months of dark-skinned paramours. Alas, it has proven impossible.”
I flinched at Mr Cole’s coarse words. Through the gap in the curtain I saw Mr Darcy’s jaw tighten as he crossed his arms.
“Darcy does not approve of your choice of entertainment, Cole,” mumbled Yates.
I could not see Mr Cole’s face, but another icy silence descended on the room.

Miss Price’s Decision is available on Amazon and Kobo.

About Eliza Shearer

Eliza Shearer has been a Jane Austen fan for as long as she can remember, regularly convincing family and friends to join in on pilgrimages to Austen-related sites and events. She is the author of the Austeniana series of Austen-inspired variations, which include Miss Darcy’s Beaux and Miss Price’s Decision.

Having lived in different countries, Eliza is fluent in several languages and now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with her husband, two children, and tortie cat. Eliza is very partial to satin slippers, but like her namesake Elizabeth Bennet, she has never cared much for cards.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today, Eliza. It has been such a pleasure to have you stop by and share an excerpt with me and my readers. I am intrigued to have Darcy and Bingley in this excerpt. I love the idea of a variation of Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Pride & Prejudice. That is quite a combination and I know your story will be fascinating. The excerpt already is indicative of that! I appreciate so much that you included me in your blog tour. I wish you the best with this newest release.

Readers, Eliza Shearer is giving away one eBook of Miss Price's Decision. To be entered in the giveaway, leave us a comment telling us what you think of the excerpt. What do you think about the crossover of these three Austen books? I think it is a lovely idea and I'm eager to read it. The giveaway will end on the 27th of October at midnight. Good luck to all!


  1. Interesting conversation. And Miss Price eavesdropping. I wonder if she will be seen and what she will do with this information.

    1. That is a thought, Debbie! I wonder too. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Loved the excerpt although how could I not with Mr Darcy:). I have always loved crossovers as it's great to see all my favorite characters interact with one another. If only there was a JA cinematic universe like there is with Marvel but in the meantime so glad that crossover books exist!

    1. My feelings exactly! I enjoy crossovers too. You have a good idea! Maybe someone will act on it.

  3. It is refreshing to read of the characters of the books being friends. It adds something more to hear the men’s thoughts! I wouldn’t want to be hiding behind that curtain. I wonder if she will be caught!

    1. Yes, it does, Sally. That is a good point. I also was wondering if she would get caught. What is this about her thoughts about Darcy???

  4. I see Darcy is still as unlikeable as usual, in essence he never changes. Darcy , Jamie’s cousin?

  5. I always love it when characters from different books interact with each other!!

  6. Quite the eye-opener for Miss Price to get a private gentleman's conversation away from the ladies. :)

  7. That was an entertaining excerpt, and the story sounds very interesting!

    1. I think it sounds interesting, too, Kelly. I appreciate you stopping by.

  8. I love the way of showing male-only conversation through Susan Price's eyes! I can now place the story within P&P timeline... I was interested in Yates since his character is not in the focus of MP and is only sparingly described. This seems to be a not too favourable expansion of his character. Poor Darcy, he has to put up with so many worthless gentlemen (Well, so does Bingley, of course). Now, who is Jamie???

    1. Good points and good question, Agnes. You have given us all something to think on. Thanks for commenting and good luck!