Getting this next novel started has been a bit of a struggle. I wanted to do a P&P book from Darcy’s point of view, but what could I bring to the story that would be something new?
The “what if”s always intrigue me, especially when it comes to two people happening to meet when they so easily could have missed their opportunity to get together. When I think of my own marriage (or those of my 2 sons) for example, it’s so clear that a small change anywhere along the line could have made all the difference. (see more on that here)
As he quitted the room, Elizabeth felt how improbable it was that they should ever see each other again… (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 46)
In this case, though, I’m thinking of Darcy and Elizabeth. What if Mr. Bingley had rented some other house and not Netherfield. What if Darcy had not accepted the invitation to spend some time there? What if he had become engaged (or even married) to someone else before meeting Elizabeth?
So I decided it would be interesting to start this book (tentatively titled Fitzwilliam Darcy: In His Own Words) before the timeline of Pride and Prejudice to take a look at those questions. I’ve got less than 50 pages written so far, and the idea is still evolving. (I don’t plot my books, as you may already know). So I’d love to hear what you think of the concept. Here’s the prologue as it stands now (remember it’s Darcy telling the story):
I still occasionally suffer that recurrent dream – a nightmare, really.
I awake at Darcy House in London. Morning light is filtering through the draperies at the windows, painting ghostly shadow patterns across the opposite wall. I feel a great sense of well being at the start of a new day. All is right with the world, or at least my portion of it.
Then I turn toward the other side of the bed and see… not Elizabeth, as I expect, but the Honorable Miss Amelia Lambright. Only of course she is no longer an honorable miss, not when she has spent the night in a man’s bed. Then I suddenly remember why she is there. Her name is Miss Lambright no more; she is Mrs. Darcy now.
My heart lurches and I break into a cold sweat, not because the former Miss Lambright is so horrid unappealing, but because she is not Elizabeth.
I tell myself it surely must be a hallucination or some trick of the light. So I shake my head to clear any cobwebs, rub my eyes and blink. Still, the wrong woman is before me. Please, God, let it be a dream!
I fight to awaken, to claw my way back to the world where I belong, the world where Mrs. Darcy has not blonde but dark, satiny hair and sparkling eyes. My throat is constricting; I cannot breathe. I cannot find my voice to call out. Elizabeth, where are you? I must find her! My life depends on it.
When on these disturbing occasions I at last come to myself, it is many minutes before my heart and breathing return to normal, and longer still until my mind can quiet itself.
Even after I have verified that Elizabeth is indeed beside me where she belongs; beheld her face, a peaceful portrait of repose in whatever meager light offers; pulled her warm, familiar form to fit close against mine; and heard her sleepy but unmistakable voice murmuring my name with affection…
Even then my soul quakes within me for how close the vision from which I have just awakened came to being true, how close I came to missing Elizabeth altogether. Then she and I would have been only two ships sailing the same stretch of sea, perhaps even passing within sight of each other occasionally but never happening to come into a common port together, at least not until it had been too late.
My happier outcome depended on the slimmest thread of unlikely circumstances being precariously strung together without error. At any one of a dozen junctures, the course of my life could have carried me in a completely different direction.
When I consider this, I shudder. Then I thank God for His providential care in guiding me safely through. I thank Bingley for Netherfield. And Wickham. Strangely enough, now, years later, I can think back with some philosophy, enough to acknowledge the part he unwittingly played.
Were it not for Wickham and his nefarious but timely intervention, I would likely be married to Amelia Lambright today.
What do you think? Are you intrigued? What other ideas would you like to see me explore in this (or another) novel?
3/8/21 UPDATE: The book is in final edit and cover design. A cover reveal is planned for April 14th. The publication date is May 4th. Stay tuned! Official blurb:
What was Mr. Darcy’s life like before he met Elizabeth Bennet? – before he stepped onto the Pride and Prejudice stage at the Meryton assembly? More importantly, where is he and what is he doing all the time he’s absent from the page thereafter? And what is his relationship to a woman named Amelia?
With Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words, the iconic literary hero finally tells his own story, from the traumas of his early life to the consummation of his love for Elizabeth and everything in between.
This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Darcy’s point of view – a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us. As it happens, Darcy’s journey was more tortuous than she let on, his happy ending with Elizabeth in jeopardy at every turn in his struggle between duty and his heart’s desire, between the suitable lady he has promised to marry and the woman he can’t stop thinking about.
Update 4/14/21: Here’s the cover! Everything’s on track for publication May 4th in Kindle, KU, and paperback. (Kindle pre-order now available at Amazon). Harry Frost begins recording the audio version soon!
Everything in life happens for a reason. Looking forward to your finished story.
Glad you like the idea, Janis. I’ll get to work on it!
Ok definatly intrigued need to know more though who us the this miss lambert ….also what happened to the situation with ANNE …..CURIOUS!!!!
Excellent, Wendy! Stay curious, and I will try to come up with the answers to all your questions!
Phew! For a minute I thought Darcy was married to someone else but thank goodness that didn’t happen!
Helped by Wickham? Well alas, knowing his character and his determination to best Darcy, I can imagine how that might have happened! I do hope he knows how much he helped Darcy fulfill his dreams?
I’m hoping ODC get together early on, even if they have to deal with problems at least they can handle them together. That’s my favourite type of story!
Thanks for the suggestion, Glynis. Most romances keep the couple apart until the end, but this won’t be a standard romance. Actually, I’m not sure yet what it will be! As I said in the post, the idea is still evolving. Haha!
Intrigued! I hope you stick with this story.
Thanks for the encouragement, Leslie. Despite the slow start, I am determined!
Oh, yes! Very intrigued with this premise indeed! Good luck!
Thank you, Carole! I am encouraged. ;D
Love it. Looking forward to reading more!
I read a few books from Darcy’s perspective years ago. In fact, they were my first forays into reading JAFF. Still, there are very few out there, and I think you can pen a great version. It could end up being the “starter” JAFF for many more readers. 🙂
What a lovely thought, Robin! I know there are a few out already from Darcy’s point of view. But I haven’t read them, so I have no idea what they contain. Hopefully mine will be an interesting original. 😀
I have read several other stories from Darcy’s POV but they followed canon closely, filling in time when he was away from Elizabeth which gave us a different view. I have also read stories in which he was, indeed, married to someone else before Elizabeth. So it is that I look forward to your interpretation of that premise. I am sure I will enjoy it. Good luck with your writing.
Thank you, Sheila! I know there are others, but since I haven’t read them, I will be writing my own ideas. At this point, at least, I’m not planning on contradicting anything in P&P or my other Darcys of Pemberley novels. But who knows? As I said, I don’t have the story all neatly plotted out; I will just go where it leads me!
I do know you don’t read other variations. So I will be interested in your version.
So, Charlotte as head housekeeper lives!
I’m intrigued. It sou ds very interesting, and I look forward to reading the finished product.
Thanks for letting me know, Lyn!
Intrigued! Can’t want to see where this leads! Thanks for sharing with us!
My pleasure, Lori! Glad you’re interested. 🙂
I find myself wanting to read more of this story. I want to know the part Wickham played.
Oh, that Wickham! You can depend on him being up to no good. Haha! Thanks for your comment, Debbie.
That would be a nightmare for so many! But it is true, whether you believe in God or fate, or whatever. So many things are hit or miss, sometimes just by a hair on our head. I can’t wait to read your story!
So glad you’re interested in this scenario, Teresa! Thanks for leaving a comment. 😀
You had my heart racing at the thought of Elizabeth not being the one any in my mind Mrs. Darcy. Interesting storyline, I anxiously await this book. Please do continue.
Excellent! A little heart racing once in a while is a good thing, Melanie. I will carry on!
Curious to know if you’ve watched the recent musical version of P&P now streaming on Amazon Prime? It’s a super condensed version, for sure, but the songs reveal characters’ inner thoughts really well, particularly from Darcy’s perspective. First he sings about being from two different worlds that cannot come together. Then he sings that Elizabeth has taken the bravado out of him. Finally he sings: “Because of you, Elizabeth, I am a better man, yet no better than any other man, and that’s the last twist.” I’m a bit addicted, I admit.
Hi, Ann! I went to see “Austen’s Pride” last winter (twice, actually). It was excellent, but I don’t think that’s the one you’re talking about. And I watched another one live streaming a few months ago. Don’t remember what that one was called, though. I’ll have to snoop around and see if I can find this one that you’re addicted to. Thanks for the tip!
Oh my word, you almost gave me a heart attack! Whew! Give us more Shannon, give us more. I will anxiously await this story’s unfolding. Brilliant beginning! (My only hope is that Wickham doesn’t become a good guy—seems to be a bit much of that lately.)
Haha! Don’t worry, Marie. I have no plans to reform Wickham. So far at least, all my P&P books agree with the original and also with each other. and I wrote a very different ending for him! (See The Darcys of Pemberley). So glad this Prologue hooked you!
Definitely intrigued. There are so many times in our lives when we have choices to go left or right, stay or go, answer the phone or swipe left, take one job rather than another, and on and on. Each choice changes our lives but we seldom are aware of the ramifications. There was a Dr. Who episode where Donna turned in one direction rather than another and the whole world changed. It’s one of those ‘what ifs’ that’s always fascinated me. This sample makes me want to know what happened. I’ll look forward to the finished story.
Exactly! It’s fascinating to think about the “what ifs.” While you’re waiting for this story, I hope you’ll take a look at some of my other books. “Leap of Faith” really puts “what if” to the test. Also, I’m wondering if you’ve seen the movie “Sliding Doors,” where everything hangs on catching or missing a train. Thank you for your interest!
THIS SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER!!! LOVE THE PATH YOU ARE TAKING MR. DARCY THROUGH! LOOKING FORWARD TO MORE!
Thanks so much for the encouraging words, Emma!
I’m definitely intrigued! There are some other books from Darcy’s point of view, as you well know, but most books are from Elizabeth’s. I think it will be very interesting to see what our hero thinks under different circumstances than in the original. Keep on writing!
Thanks for the encouragement, Sophia. I will do just that. 😀
Wonderful beginning…please keep going!! Can’t wait to hear Darcy’s story. 😀 I’m in Australia and I haven’t read your other books. I’ll have to look them up.
Thanks so much for saying hello, Diana! So glad you enjoyed this post, and I hope you will try one of my books that’s already ready to read in the meantime. 😀
Poor Amelia. So close and yet so far.
Haha! Yes, she has no idea that their relationship is doomed from the start and that the whole world is against her having him. But maybe she doesn’t even want to marry marvelous Mr. Darcy? Despite how wonderful he is, he may not be her cup of tea. Let us hope so for her sake. 😉
Brilliant! I love the premise and your style of writing is spot-on as always.
So glad you think so! I appreciate the encouraging words. 😀
Intriguing, yes! Suspenseful and on the edge of my seat for a moment there, whew. Always love new characters and backstory versions. Blessings on your journey with this book.
Thanks so much for your comments. Very glad you’re intrigued! I really enjoy poking around and shining light into those dark corners, seeing what I can discover about what’s been missing from the story. In this case, the dark corners in Darcy’s head!
The book description is intriguing, Shannon. YOu have totally caught my attention. Best wishes for its success.
Thanks so much, Laurel! Glad you’re intrigued. 🙂
I LOVE the Prologue and the excitement of more from Darcy’s POV. For once I am glad to be late to the party and just discovering news of your new book – less time to wait! I’m looking forward to reading this! 🙂
Thanks for your comment, Deborah! I’m delighted that you’re excited about this book. So am I, and I can hardly wait to get it out to readers!
Oooo I can’t wait! Just popped in and saw the update. Love your writing and especially tales from Darcy’s POV.
Thanks so much, Chris! I’m glad you’re excited about the new book; I am too. 😀
I am so looking forward to reading this story. I have enjoyed so many of your books. Good luck with the release.
Thank you, Sheila! I’m glad you’re excited about this new novel. Yay!
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