Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have been married for almost a year, and their heated argumenets are a thing of the past. All that passion is now directed into more satisfying pursuits. But how long can the honeymoon last? The couple’s idyllic life together at Pemberley is jeopardized by secrets they begin keeping from each other, the troubles of their closest friends, and the threat of a villain in their midst. The Darcys of Pemberley is the tale of two romances: the continuation of Darcy and Elizabeth’s story, and the courtship of Miss Georgiana.
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is my favorite novel, hands down, no contest. I love the story so much that I didn’t want it to end. What happens after the wedding, I wondered? How would Elizabeth and Darcy deal with the first major crisis in their marriage? Who is Georgiana’s secret love? What trouble will Wickham get into next? Will Lady Catherine ever get her comeuppance? Questions like these became the inspiration for The Darcys of Pemberley. My goal was to continue the Darcys’ story as I imagined the original author would have – her style, her sensibilities, and taking great care with the characters she created.
August 1, 2011: After six long years of hard work and perseverance, this novel is finally published! It’s available at Amazon (paperback and for Kindle), and at B&N (paperback and for Nook). For all other e-book formats, follow this link to Smashwords. Now available in audio form as well!
Here’s the opening scene:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that even the most ignoble person on the face of the earth appears more praiseworthy after death. Thus, as the news of Mr. Collins’s odd and untimely passing spread far and wide, the reputed quality of his character improved accordingly. The significant defects of his disposition, so recently impossible to overlook, were all but forgot, and the general consensus developed that he had been a fine clergyman, and a kind and generous human being.
As his relations, the Bennets of Longbourn were amongst the first to hear of the sad event. Although they had not been especially close to their cousin, his death could not help but make some impression on them. Mr. Bennet felt the loss most acutely. Having come to regard Mr. Collins’s correspondence as a priceless source of amusement, he would not have given up the association on any grounds less consequential than those supplied by the present impediment. Mrs. Bennet, though not ordinarily quick-witted, on this occasion immediately perceived how insupportable it would be to keep the burden of this tragedy to herself. Hence, she made haste to publish the tale abroad, beginning in Meryton with her sister, Mrs. Phillips, who was always anxious for the latest news.
“Sister, Sister, have you heard?” Mrs. Bennet paused to enjoy Mrs. Phillips’s admission that she was yet in ignorance of whatever it was to which her sister was privy. “You will never guess what has happened – I can scarce believe it myself – so I will keep you in suspense no longer. Mr. Collins has met a premature end!”
“No! Are you certain? How did it happen? Tell me everything,” begged Mrs. Phillips.
“It is true, indeed, for I have just had it from Lady Lucas who got the story straight from Charlotte. I will tell you all, but you must prepare yourself. It is quite a shocking and distasteful business.” Mrs. Phillips leaned a little closer as Mrs. Bennet continued in a hushed tone. “It seems that Mr. Collins was having his dinner when he realized that he was in danger of being late for an appointment with his esteemed patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She is a very grand lady, you know, and Mr. Collins never dared to keep her waiting. Well then, in his hurry to finish his meal, he apparently swallowed wrong and choked on a mouthful of mutton.”
“Oh yes, Sister. Can you imagine? It must have been an awful sight to behold. Anyway, no one could do a thing for him, and within minutes Mr. Collins expired right there on the dining room floor!”
“How perfectly ghastly! I wonder if he suffered much,” said Mrs. Phillips with a mixture of pity and excited curiosity. “It sounds to me to be a very dreadful way to go.”
“Yes, I quite agree. In fact, I shudder every time I think of it.”
The sisters took a moment to do just that.
“He was such a fine, sensible young man, and so particularly attached to our family,” mourned Mrs. Bennet. “Despite our small differences, I really was quite fond of him, as you will doubtless remember.”
“I must say that I always liked him myself.”
“Indeed, it is a tragedy, especially when I consider that it might have all turned out so differently had he married one of my girls instead. Mary, I think, could have been persuaded, and I am sure she would have taken much better care of poor Mr. Collins,” Mrs. Bennet concluded sorrowfully.
Another related topic followed exceedingly quick upon the heels of these heartfelt lamentations. As was common knowledge, Mr. Collins, until his demise, stood to inherit the Longbourn estate upon the death of Mr. Bennet according to the terms of the entail. This fact had not endeared him to the family in life but had been forgiven him most magnanimously the instant he was no longer in a position to take advantage of it. So Mrs. Phillips, very delicately and with the utmost tact, inquired what this unexpected event might mean for the ultimate disposal of the Bennet estate. A lengthy speculation ensued, but Mrs. Bennet, who never fully comprehended the former arrangement, could not begin to fathom how it needs must be altered now.
Darcy’s Discussion about Impending Fatherhood:
The Darcys stayed the night at Heatheridge. As they prepared for bed, Elizabeth revisited the subject. “What interesting ideas you expressed about fatherhood this afternoon, husband. I was quite surprised by them.”
“Why should you be? I did not relate anything the least bit shocking or even out of the common way. As far as I can ascertain, the vast majority of men leave the tending of their small children entirely to the female sex. Even my own excellent father, from what I remember, had little use for me until I was old enough to ride and shoot. He had even less time for my sister. Yet I would never be persuaded that we were neglected or unloved,” Darcy said defensively.
“No, of course not.” After pause for reflection, Elizabeth continued in a more playful tone. “It does no good, however, to tell me what ‘common’ men, or even ‘most’ men consider normal and reasonable practice, because I could never think of you in those terms. I hold you to a higher standard. I have long since learnt that everything about you, Mr. Darcy, is entirely exceptional,” she said, running an appreciative hand and lingering eye over some of his especially fine attributes.
This having the desired effect, he gathered her into his arms. “You have the most charming way, Mrs. Darcy, of transforming any discordance between us into an invitation to something infinitely more agreeable. The result is that I can never seem to remember what we quarreled about.”
“It is terribly clever of me, you must admit. I wonder if I am the first woman to discover this secret to total harmony in marriage.”
As her outstanding husband proceeded to accept her invitation, Elizabeth was momentarily diverted by the thought that, despite apparent indifference toward their own infants, men seem to have no lack of interest in the activity that leads to their existence.
Have been doing my blog homework again tonight (am babysitting again!) and have come across a lot of discussion about fanfiction, which up until this point wasn’t really a genre which had come to my attention, as I mainly read tangible books, rather than online fiction.
Parents just home, so not enough time to read and critique this, but will return I promise
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I enjoyed both excerpts, you do seem to have an Austenesque way of writing…Amazing! 🙂
Thanks, Susan! That’s about the nicest compliment you could give me.
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Bought the book yesturday and cannot.put it down! Wonderful! Will you be writting a follow up?!?
I’m so glad you’re enjoying TDOP, Jenny! It was truly a labor of love writing it.
I’m working on “Return to Longbourn” now, which will be the next installment in my P&P series. In the meantime, check out my related short story, “Mr. Collins’s Last Supper“, and watch for my next novel, “For Myself Alone“, coming out in a couple months! And I’d love to hear back from you when you’ve finished TDOP.
Finished it! Really fantastic! It really had the tone of Austen while keeping it your own! And I am do happy that I see you are going to answer my next.question of the inheritence of longbourn and hopefully what goes on with Lydia too! I already downloaded Mr Collins.last supper! Cant wait to read.that too!(btw sorry for the lack of grammar i am writting on my kindle ). So happy I happened upon this you made a fan out of me! Looking forward to for myself alone too!
Yay! Tell your friends, and stay tuned for news of FMA’s debut in a couple months!
My entry to Austen was the A&E video series ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and I fell in love with the characters of Elizabeth (Jennifer Ehle) and Darcey (Colin Firth …sigh…). Then I read the original Austen book…took me a bit beyond but left me yearning. Then I read a review of your ‘Darcey’s of Pemberley’, ordered it and just finished my first reading. Wonderful! It satisfies all my desires of ‘what happened next’ and the writing is so smooth and in keeping with the original novel that I was never, once, conscious of an error or mis-step. Thank you!
You are most welcome, Joan!!! Its a delight hearing back from satisfied readers who love those characters as much as I do. Thanks so much for leaving the comment!
Just saw an email about your ‘Return to Longbourn’ and realized I was missing another wonderful P&P follow-up – just got off-line from ordering it out ‘post-haste’.
Now eagerly awaiting your next inspired revelations of ‘…and then …’ character-developments.
‘Return to Longbourn’ arrived at my door yesterday. I immediately dug into the tale and lost myself in Mary’s own story: a sad yearning for ‘something’ and her uneasy journey into her future.
Just finished it and am wiping a few tears through the smile of delight. Thanks again for advancing what might have been gone forever in the far-distant past of Austen’s time.
Wow! You made quick work of that, Joan. I’m so glad you enjoyed these two. Hope you’ll try “For Myself Alone” too.
I just finished reading The Darcys of Pemberley and I thought you put so much thought into it and you made it sound like the sequel that Jane Austen would have written to Pride and Prejudice. Keep up the great work with your other books and thanks for the great reading material.
Thanks, Katelynn! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
i loved that too! I love learning new words, every time I come upon a word that I don’t understand the meaning, I look it up. Shannon, you use them perfectly into sentences. i’m enchanted with this book.
That’s so good to hear, Blanca. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Maybe I have a new, loyal fan for life? I hope you’ll read my others as well – 2 more in the series, 2 unrelated to DOP, and 2 more coming soon!
I first heard of you from my friend Shelley Ring’s blog and am so glad I did. I just finished this book and can’t wait to read more. Thank you for your work, it is a delight to read. Please keep up the good work, I am now addicted. I told my husband there could be worse things I am addicted to and he said he had no problem with this addiction:)
Haha! As far as addictions go, this one’s pretty harmless. The main problem is limited supply. You can read faster than I can write!
I’m so glad you enjoyed DOP!!! It’s sequel (Return to Longbourn) will be out in late February. In the meantime, please give For Myself Alone a try.
Thanks so much for leaving me a comment, Bess. I LOVE hearing back from readers! Shannon
Funny you should mention For Myself Alone as I am 12% done with it. Isn’t it interesting how Kindle let’s you know these things? Anyway, I am enjoying this book and cannot wait for Return to Longbourn. I guess I really wanted to make sure I left you a comment, after some problems last night. 🙂 Happy Writing!
I just finished The Darcys of Pemberley where got my most recent “Elizabeth and Darcy” fix. I found the story authentic but full of entertaining surprises without resorting to sensationalism, overt sexuality, or becoming blatantly ridiculous. I loved your treatment of Lady Catherine and especially her daughter Anne. By the way, our family lived for 11 years on the Pine Lake Plateau which is now known as the community of Samammish. So, we are kindred spirits in more ways than one. I shall now enjoy Mr. Collins’s Last Supper!
Hello Ms. Wislow, I am your newest fan. I recently finished The Darcy’s of Pemberley, and immediately purchased Return to Longbourn. I could not put The Darcy’s of Pemberley down until I’d finished it, and it appears such will be the case with Return to Longbourn. I believe Miss Jane Austen would have been so pleased with your sequels to my favorite of her works. Mary Bennet may not have been a terrifically engaging character in Pride & Prejudice, but I love her so very dearly in Return to Longbourn.
Long may your pen reign supreme!
Such praise! I’m blushing… but delighted you’re enjoying my books so much. And I hope you’re right about JA being pleased. I’ve tried very hard to be respectful of her original work. Read For Myself Alone after RTL, and maybe by then my new book (a Persuasion tie-in) will be out!
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Dear Shannon Winslow,
Our Publishing Company (Hungary) would like to get in touch with you about your book: ‘The Darcys of Pemberley’. Have you received our message to firstname.lastname@example.org? Thank you in advance!
Yes, Reka, I received your 2 emails. I tried to answer them, but my replies came back “undelivered.” They were apparently blocked by your spam filter.
Dear Shannon, thank you for your reply! We are sorry for the inconvenience. Would you be so kind to send us your message to this e-mail address: email@example.com. Thank you!
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Thank you for writing thiis
My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed TDoP and I hope you will read more of my collection. 🙂