Hello, dear readers! I am very excited to welcome back author Suzan Lauder to Austenesque Reviews today! Last month you may remember we participated in a cover reveal for Ms. Lauder’s new release, Letter from Ramsgate, and we enjoyed speculating about where this new scenario may lead Darcy and Elizabeth. Today Suzan shares a lovely “deleted scene” from her new release! We hope you enjoy this glimpse of Lady Cecilia/Lady Amelia!
Meredith has read so many Austenesque novels, I wonder if anything is new to her any more. (Well, I have read some of her latest five-star books, and new themes do exist!) However, no matter how many times we read it, we love to hate a catty love interest for Darcy, and I appreciate Meredith hosting this stop on the Letter from Ramsgate blog tour so I can share one that never made the book.
This cut scene is different in Letter from Ramsgate because I realized the story would be more effective if Darcy’s love interest weren’t another Miss Bingley. Instead, Lady Amelia in Letter from Ramsgate is not only pretty, rich, and well-connected, but also kind-hearted and interesting. However, in this early draft, she’s called Lady Cecilia, and she’s nasty! Her name was changed later so “Lady C” wouldn’t be confused with Lady Catherine. Amelia means “rival,” so it was a perfect substitute.
You’ll also notice that as an homage to Amy D’Orazio’s excellent writing, the wife of the heir to the Matlock earldom is called Lady Saye. Her name was also changed in the published version because her excellent The Best Part of Love will be coming out after Letter from Ramsgate, and Amy deserves the name first. In Letter from Ramsgate, she’s now Laura Fitzwilliam, Lady Courtland, a surname from Austen’s writing.
Smooches to my fabulous editor, Gail Warner, for helping me pare this down to a reasonable length to share with you. The vignette is still a bit long, but worth it!
“Miss Darcy, I should love to hear you play and sing,” Lady Cecilia said in a melodic voice, turning towards Georgiana and tilting her head just so. She appeared to show interest, yet her expression remained posed and perfectly unflappable.
“I play a little, but I do not sing.”
“Mr. Darcy says that you enjoy painting watercolours as well.”
“Georgiana has some lovely scenes that she painted last summer when she was at Ramsgate,” offered Lady Saye.
“Did you enjoy Ramsgate, Miss Darcy?” Lady Cecilia asked in a perfunctory way that made Georgiana feel it was not a topic of interest.
“I did, very much. I met a dear friend there.”
“That sounds lovely.” Lady Cecilia’s voice tinkled but her face remained motionless. One could not tell if Lady Cecilia had any emotions at all. “What is the name of your friend?
Do I know her?”
“Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”
“I do not know any Bennets. Perhaps she runs with a different crowd. After all, if I do not know her, she is likely unimportant.” Lady Cecilia’s tone was flippant and Georgiana felt she had to defend Elizabeth, so she exerted herself to speak more than her wont with a new acquaintance.
“She is from Hertfordshire and not in town often, but she is an accomplished and kind lady.”
“I am sure she is.” Lady Cecilia’s smile was condescendingly sweet. She turned away from Georgiana dismissively and addressed Lady Saye. “Have you met Miss Bennet?”
“No, I have not.”
“I suppose she is a provincial sort of girl. Miss Darcy is too young to understand our society. Perhaps she could benefit from some guidance in that area. When she is out, she will find friends more suited to her station. I must tell you, Lady Saye, you are looking quite well for one who is newly out of her confinement.”
Georgiana continued to observe her. Lady Cecilia’s comments were increasingly ones intended to subtly undermine. What could her brother see in this woman? She was perfect and doll-like, yet false and cutting. It was intimidating.
The door opened and her brother entered. Lady Cecilia’s demeanour immediately blossomed as she engaged him in conversation.
“Shall we have your company at the Henderson’s ball tonight, Mr. Darcy?” she gushed in a hopeful tone with a pleasant expression that didn’t appear forced. Georgiana was fascinated. It was as if another woman were sitting there, and as much as Lady Cecilia still looked perfect, a sort of naturalness glowed from her. It was obvious she admired Mr. Darcy very much.
“I believe you shall.” He was not as warm in return and his body language said he was discomfited. The lady was all about pleasing him but he was merely formal and polite.
Lady Cecilia’s mother rose from her chair. “I apologise for leaving so soon after you have returned, Mr. Darcy, but we have taken a great deal of Lady Matlock’s time already.”
“Are you well, dear? It was not too taxing, was it?”
“She performed admirably considering they were perfect strangers,” Lady Matlock replied. “Georgiana is learning to shed her shyness.”
“How did you find our callers?” Darcy asked.
After a brief hesitation, Georgiana said, “They seem well-bred.”
“And Lady Cecilia is so elegant and pretty,” Lady Matlock continued. Georgiana could see her aunt’s insistence on promoting Lady Cecilia, and she was wary.
“She is pretty in the generally acceptable way but rather characterless.”
“Whatever could you mean by that?”
“She was putting on a pretence of kindness. I think she is a woman who is accustomed to playing false in order to get what she wants. You did not see it, Fitzwilliam, but she was as cold as ice to me, yet with you, she is all that is pleasant and accommodating.”
“That is unkind, Georgiana,” Lady Saye interjected.
“But it is true, Laura. She acted as if she was above you too. She wants Fitzwilliam for a husband, and that is why she acts differently with him. You must take care, brother; do not let her fool you. She may flutter her lashes and share her smiles with you, but she does not like me. She will get her hooks into you and then send me away.”
“Georgiana, that is enough,” scolded Lady Matlock, “You must respect your brother’s choices and be civil.”
Darcy scowled and looked down. “There is meanness in all the arts that ladies sometimes employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.” He drew up to his full height and regal bearing, but Georgiana recognized the troubled expression in his eyes when he said, “Please excuse me,” and quit the room.
Ooooh I wonder what has Darcy so troubled! I love it when author’s share their “deleted scenes.” It is always interesting to learn a little about what changes along the way when creating a story! You are so right, I do love meeting original characters and seeing competing love interests for Mr. Darcy! Can’t wait to meet Lady Amelia and see how she has changed! Thank you, Suzan!
Connect with Suzan
Meryton Press is generously giving away 4 paperback and 4 ebook editions of Letter From Ramsgate in conjunction with this blog tour!! Woot woot!
Commenting on this post and entering through the rafflecopter widget on this blog enters you in a chance to win!
- This giveaway is open worldwide (Paperbacks US only). Thank you, Meryton Press!
- This giveaway ends November 3rd!
~ Letter from Ramsgate Blog Tour ~
Thank you to Janet Taylor, Meryton Press, and Suzan Lauder for making this blog tour possible! Click the image above to check out the rest of the tour!