First, let me thank everyone who has already read one or both of my two new releases, Leap of Faith and Leap of Hope, especially those who have gone the extra mile and posted a review. I appreciate your confidence and support more than I can say!
The ink is barely dry on these novels, number six and seven, and I’ve already started work on number eight, tentatively titled The Ladies of Rosings Park. I only have a couple of chapters at this point, but so far it’s been a lot of fun to write – my favorite story with a fresh take. If everything goes well, the new book will become the fourth in my The Darcys of Pemberley series – not expanding the series chronologically but laterally, like Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley did in 2015.
This one, as the name implies, will tell events (during the timelines of P&P and TDoP) through the eyes of Anne de Bourgh alternating with Lady Catherine. (Mrs. Jenkinson might even get a chapter or two!) As you might imagine, the mother’s take on things will be a little different than the daughter’s, and Lady Catherine, of course, is never wrong!
Here’s the prologue to give you a taste. I hope you’ll leave me a comment afterward to let me know what you think. I’m open to suggestions or how I can incorporate your scathingly brilliant ideas!
Two things Anne de Bourgh understood from a very early age: first, that she was loved by her father, and second, that she would one day marry Fitzwilliam Darcy.
These unalterable facts served as the sure foundation of her young life. If her mother censured some weakness in her character or deportment, Anne could depend on finding unconditional approval in her other parent. When she might have been tempted to fret for her future prospects, especially in light of her sickly constitution, she was reassured that an excellent match had already been made for her. Her continued social consequence and connubial contentment were secure.
“My sister and I arranged it all between ourselves,” Lady Catherine frequently told her only child, sometimes varying her exact words but never her conclusion. “And the men mean to make no difficulty about it. When the time comes, you shall marry your cousin. It is not only the cherished wish of your mother and aunt, it is a solemn promise and therefore to be considered a settled engagement. The two great estates will thus be united in one family. There could be no connection more highly desirable on either side, no alliance more perfectly natural.”
Anne, being still too young to understand the mysteries of love between a man and a woman, could see no reason to question her mother’s decree on the subject, especially since her dear papa concurred when pressed.
“It will be a fine thing for you,” he had said with conviction if not enthusiasm. “A fine thing indeed, my pet.”
No evidence to the contrary, Anne believed she should be as happy with her cousin as with any other man. Had he not always been kind to her?
But nothing lasts forever, it seems, not even sure foundations. One pillar of support crumbled when Anne’s father suddenly died a month short of her fourteenth birthday. A few years later, the other – her betrothal to Fitzwilliam Darcy – was cast into serious jeopardy upon the arrival at Rosings of a young woman named Elizabeth Bennet.
“Her daughter, Miss de Bourgh, will have a very large fortune and it is believed that she and her cousin will unite the two estates.” (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 16)