Jan 142015
 

Author Excerpt

Hello, dear readers!  I am very excited to welcome back Author Monica Fairview to Austenesque Reviews today!  She is one of the few people that was visiting Austenesque Reviews when it was just beginning, back in 2009.  Which was around the time of her release of The Other Mr. Darcy – one of our faves from that year!  I’m so happy to have Monica come visit and share an excerpt from her new release Mr. Darcy’s Challenge (Volume Two), which is the second book in her Darcy Novels series.  

Monica FairviewThank you, Meredith, for this opportunity to visit your wonderful blog once again. I’m delighted to be here on Austenesque Reviews to discuss my latest novel, Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, the second (but not final) novel in my Darcy Novels series.

Unlike Mr. Darcy’s Pledge, Mr. Darcy’s Challenge is centered on a number of “challenges” that Darcy has to deal with. In the first novel, Darcy had to undertake a journey of self-knowledge in order to recognize and appreciate what Elizabeth meant to him. It was a journey from resistance and darkness to hope and determination.

Mr_Darcys_Pledge_Cover_MEDIUM_WEBIn Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, Darcy’s dedication to Elizabeth is no longer in question. His journey of self-discovery therefore takes him in a different direction. Darcy starts out by dreaming of being a knight in shining armor, but as the novel progresses, he comes to realize that there are personal challenges that cannot be wished away with a command or a flick of the hand. He learns that being a gentleman (or a knight) involves putting the needs of others before his own, and accepts that sometimes the honorable path may contradict completely with his own desires. He has to be willing to do things for Elizabeth even knowing there is a good chance he will not be able to win her.

That is not to say that the novel is gloomy, though Darcy does have a few moments of despair. There is humor in there, too. The Bennets provide comic relief. Mrs. Bennet is torn between finding her daughter and experiencing sea-dipping. Mr. Bennet, meanwhile, deals with stress by “making sport” of everyone and everything.

In the chaos, Darcy makes mistakes. For example, he underestimates the extent of Wickham’s envy and greed and pays a high price for that. It takes the length of the novel, but Darcy has to dig deep inside himself to find the roots of his honor and discover a new kind of pride in himself. He is challenged to become a better human being.

1_Cuckfield_Stagecoach_near_Layton_Hill

Cuckfield Stagecoach near Clayton Hill

Of course, internal journeys go hand in hand with actual journeys. To learn who you are, you have to leave a familiar environment and venture somewhere new. In the case of Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, this is the trip from London to Brighton, accompanied by the Bingleys, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Lizzy and Georgiana.  Everyone that matters comes on the journey and Darcy has to deal with them under rather trying circumstances. Along the way, he gradually comes to terms with who Elizabeth really is, including her family. By the end of the trip, Darcy shows an actual moment of empathy with Mrs. Bennet, which is no small feat!!

3_Clayton_hill_ascent

Clayton Hill Ascent

I’ve chosen a passage below that in a (not too serious) way, symbolizes the obstacles Darcyhas to face. This particular obstacle, by the way, was a very real one. During the Regency period, Clayton Hill was on the London-Brighton road and was notorious for being a place where carriages were stranded in bad weather.  Not only that, but because the road was clay and on an incline, it was the custom for the coachman to ask passengers to descend from their carriages at the bottom of the hill and climb to the top, which was a half-hour walk. Interestingly enough, there is a manor at the intersection after the hill called Wickham. I wonder if Jane Austen ever got stuck in the mud at Clayton Hill and named her villain after the manor? [Incidentally, William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, grew up in that manor.]

4_Wickham_Manor

Wickham Manor

 

I am pleased to give you an exclusive excerpt from later in the book. In this excerpt, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as well as Mr. Bingley have gone on ahead in the other carriage, while Georgiana has been suffering an excruciating ride trapped between three people who are clearly at loggerheads. Darcy and Elizabeth have quarreled and are barely on speaking terms, and Caroline seems determined to impose her presence even if she knows she has no chance of getting Darcy’s attention. To make matters worse, their carriage gets stuck.

***

Mr. Darcy's ChallengeThe carriage was stuck in the mud. Caroline, of course, was too particular to come out and assist them. As the rain poured down, they were drenched and knee-high in mud while Caroline remained inside, cool and collected as may be.

Ebenezer will take the front. Georgiana, put your shoulder to mudguard. Miss Darcy, if you will position yourself on the right there,” said Darcy. “I will count to three. On the count of three, we will all push as hard as we can.” He called out to the man in front. “Postillion – prepare to handle the horses.”

Yes, sir.”

Ready?”

What about at the count of four,” said Elizabeth, “what do we do then?”

I am sorry to say there will be no count of four,” he said, unsmiling.

Georgiana noted the tension between them and wondered at it. It had not been like this at Pemberley. Had there been some kind of a quarrel? When? The two had scarcely seen each other since the Bennets had arrived in London.

As Darcy said three, they all pushed as hard as they could. The rain was coming down in great streams and Georgiana’s ringlets were flattened down, covering her eyes so that she could scarcely see what she was doing. She could only imagine how bad she looked. What if someone came by and saw them?

The carriage shuddered, jerked forward and then started to slide backwards. For a terrified moment, Georgiana though it was going to roll back and knock her down, but it merely sank back into the mud with a resigned squelch.

We need to keep at it,” said Darcy.

Georgiana pushed with all her might this time, grunting with effort as she anchored herself solidly in the road and leaned forward. Briefly, it appeared they had succeeded. The carriage moved forwards a couple of inches, but then was stuck again.

Mr. Darcy,” said Caroline, pulling down the window sash halfway and peering out at them. “You must come in from the rain. You will catch your death.”

Georgiana felt a stab of resentment. Perhaps if they had one more person’s help, they would be able to get the carriage out.

It seemed her brother had a similar thought.

Miss Bingley, would you be kind enough to step out for a moment? You need not push with us, but the lighter the carriage, the easier it will be to extract it from the mud.”

He opened the door and offered her his hand, bowing. Since his glove was caked with mud, she hesitated, but decided she had no choice but to be gracious.

Anything to help you, Mr. Darcy,” she said, with a smile, tucking her parasol under her arm and putting her arms out to him. Darcy hesitated, then picked her up and swung her over to a rock on the side of the road where she erected her parasol and stood sheltering under its flimsy protection.

Very chivalrous of your brother,” said Elizabeth, with a little smile.

He is always civil to those he knows well. He has known Caroline Bingley for years.”

Next you will tell me she is like a sister to him.”

There was an ironic note to her statement, or was it a note of jealousy? Georgiana was glad to clear up that misapprehension at least.

Miss Bingley has been hoping to marry my brother for years, but William has been blind to it. We are so accustomed to having the Bingleys around they seem part of the family. It is only lately that he has become aware of her intentions and he has done his best to discourage them. However, as you will no doubt have noticed, it is nigh impossible to discourage Miss Bingley from anything.”

She was prevented from saying more when Darcy returned to resume the attempt to extricate themselves.

This time, when they pushed, there was a loud whooshing sound and the wheel suddenly surged forwards. Unfortunately, great globs of mud flew out. One splotch landed on Elizabeth’s chin, another on Georgiana’s bonnet and the third splattered onto Darcy’s face.

Elizabeth began to shake with laughter. “I am sorry,” she said. “I cannot help it. You should see the expression on your face.”

Her brother’s countenance held such a ridiculous mix of surprise and outrage that Georgiana could not help laughing too. William’s first reaction was to look towards them in disapproval, but suddenly he, too, burst into laughter. The three of them squelched about in the mud, laughing away, while Caroline Bingley stood under her parasol and stared.

How wonderful that you find the situation diverting,” said Caroline. “However, may I remind you that we still need to walk to the top of the hill.”

The laughter died out as everyone contemplated the climb ahead of them.

***

Thank you so much, Monica for paying us a lovely visit!  I’m looking forward to reading Mr. Darcy’s Challenge and seeing more of Darcy’s journey of self-knowledge!

~~~

 Connect with Monica

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~~~

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Today, Monica Fairview brings with her TWO ebook copies of her newly released novel, Mr. Darcy’s Challenge (Volume Two), for me to giveaway to TWO lucky winners!

Mr. Darcy's Challenge  Mr. Darcy's Challenge

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, a question, or some love for Monica!!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Monica!
  • This giveaway ends January 20th!

 

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  55 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Monica Fairview”

  1.  

    Now why couldn’t you have Mr. Darcy slip and drop Caroline in the mud…lol!!!! It is so interesting to learn all these tidbits about Jane. Especially with this hill and manor! Thank you for that and your generosity!

    •  

      Lol, Carole! Now why didn’t I think of that? It would have been so easy to have his foot slip!! I’m glad you enjoyed the information. I love it when I find little things like that. Of course, we can’t know for sure, but I can imagine a wet and muddy Jane Austen deciding to name her hero Wickham after climbing Clayton Hill. There were several name-places with Wickham in the area, so it’s quite possible.

  2.  

    Sounds fun. I need to see if the first one is available at my library.

  3.  

    Thank you, Meredith and Monica, for another fascinating glimpse into the author’s process. I love reading about how authors thought about their characters when crafting their stories and the deeper meanings behind the plot twists! It sounds as if you’ve really understood Mr. Darcy.

    •  

      Many thanks to *you*, Abigail. I know not everyone sees Darcy the same way but I’ve tried to follow his journey to its logical conclusion. I think Darcy is a thoughtful person. It takes him some time to understand his feelings because he is not really used to questioning himself, but Elizabeth makes him look inwards and he emerges a better person. That’s how I see him, at least.

  4.  

    If only Caroline had been covered in mud as well

  5.  

    Looking forward to reading your latest!

  6.  

    I would love to read this!

  7.  

    Monica, well done! Please do not enter me as I have both the eBook and the print copy. I have to admit that I much prefer to hold this one in my hands. The cover is stunningly gorgeous.

    Thank you very much for the pictures and the background of traveling in the area they were in. This morning I had been researching travel from Scarborough to Derbyshire so had transportation during the wet months on my mind. I’m with the others that have already commented – he should have dropped Caroline in a mud puddle. A deep one filled with brown, gooey, churned-up water – about waist deep.

    When I first got this book (it was loaned to me by Sheila L.M. – thank you, Sheila), I devoured it. Then I was sent a paperback copy by Mrs. Deborah Fortin, one of the sweetest characters in your story. After reading the above, I think I need to go back and start with the first book and read them both again, one right after another. Needless to say, I am really looking forward to reading book #3 in this series. When might that be available?

    •  

      Thank you, Joy, for your kind words!! I know you are looking at this with an author’s eye and I appreciate your comments. Sounds like you’ve got a book in the works. How exciting! When are you planning to be finished?

      I’m hoping to have #3 ready in the summer, but of course it’s always hard to predict.

      •  

        Thanks for asking, Monica. My Bingley/Jane story (Finding Their Way) is undergoing some final revisions. I was hoping for the end of this month, but my stupid health is fighting me. It’s always something. I’m just hoping that I will be able to finish it enough to publish. We shall see.

  8.  

    Carolina covered in mud like a strawberry can be covered in chocolate, and then having her climb that hill would have been great! I really have to manage to program a larger budget if I’m to buy all the wonderful books I want to read…

  9.  

    Ah, that was a fun excerpt! Just looking at the picture of the hill, I can see why they found the climb daunting. The whole story was very engaging and I look forward to the next in the series.

    Please do not enter me, Meredith.

    •  

      I was fascinated when I read about this, because if it happened at Clayton Hill, it must have happened in other places. I can only think that the passengers must have been resigned to having to do this kind of thing. Of course, the clay/chalk downs have a particular kind of soil so perhaps it wasn’t common in other places. Thank you for stopping by, Sophia!

  10.  

    How kind of Caroline to get her snooty bohonkus out of the carriage so the rest of them could be useful and push. I think I’d have been very tempted to ‘accidentally’ throw some mud on Caroline.

    It’s funny to think of Jane Austen naming Wickham after a troublesome location!

  11.  

    Maybe Caroline falls flat on her face in the mud as they climb up the hill…that would be awesome. Thanks for sharing part of your book. I look forward to reading it soon!

  12.  

    LOL! I think that we all agree that this was a missed opportunity put Caroline in her “place”! Thank you so much for the enjoyable excerpt.

  13.  

    Congratulations on the new release….so excited to read it….thanks for the chance to win…

  14.  

    Your book sounds delightful! Please tell me that Caroline gets a taste of her own medicine at some point in your book, she is such a wonderful character to dislike!

  15.  

    Very enjoyable excerpt. The tension between Elizabeth and Darcy is palpable; makes me curious as to what caused it this time! I’ve read the first volume and very much look forward to this second book.

  16.  

    I really enjoyed this. But when it says Darcy said “Miss Darcy, if you would position yourself on the right there”, shouldn’t it be Miss Bennett? He’s just called Georgiana by name. As for everyone sad that Caroline Bingley wasn’t dropped in the mud, never mind. She’ll be back in that crowded carriage soon enough, and as everyone else is muddy, she’ll soon be muddy, too. Since she didn’t help push, maybe she can make up for it by carting all the luggage up – surely that got taken off the carriage before the passengers went to push it.

    •  

      Beatrice — thank you for pointing that out! I’ll change it in the original. As for her getting all muddy, you’re absolutely right. Hehe I can just imagine Caroline lugging up all the luggage!!! Thanks for your comments, Beatrice.

  17.  

    I wonder if her petticoat was six inches deep in mud. Poor Caroline! (My tongue was firmly in my cheek with that one.)

  18.  

    Monica,
    Looking forward to volume 2 of your Darcy Series. I loved the pictures and background information. It is fun to think of Caroline being “accidentally” dropped in the mud!! But you did make her grab Darcy’s muddy glove (yuk) and then get soaking wet! So there!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  19.  

    Thanks, Catherine!! True — that delicate parasol doesn’t offer much protection, anyway, is it. She’s going to get wetter still, no doubt as she climbs the hill, too 🙂

  20.  

    I enjoyed the excerpt very much. I agree that Caro should’ve been covered in mud. Now that would’ve been hilarious. At least she got drenched and had to grab (icky) the muddy glove. Hehehehe) i thoroughly enjoyed the book. Please do not enter me in the give away.

  21.  

    This is a fun excerpt. Thank you, Monica. And thanks to you & Meredith for the giveaway. I loved the first book & have been thinking I need to get the second!

  22.  

    Loved this excerpt–so funny!! 🙂 And Monica, I have a copy of THe Darcy Cousins that I just checked out from the library yesterday and can’t wait to read!! 🙂 I so enjoy your writing over at Austen Variations as well.

    At least they got Caroline out of the carriage…even if she’s not game enough to help. I’m surprised that she wasn’t annoyed at the thought that her weight in the carriage was preventing its moving forward…. 😉

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  23.  

    This book (and its sisters) is on my list of ones I must have. I think I have all of yours Monica. I have postponed buying either of them because I am one of those people who devours series and when I’m left waiting for the next one, I get cranky. LOL It’s just easier for me to buy them ALL at one time and devour them together. I would love to be part of the giveaway, I’ll just wait to read it. *grinning* Thanks for sharing the excerpt, I loved it.

  24.  

    This is truly an enjoyable excerpt, Monica. I love how it ended up being funny. Thanks for the giveaway too!

  25.  

    We read Darcy getting jealous quite often. It is nice to see Elizabeth feeling it as well. Great post Monica.

  26.  

    Actually, I want to change my comment, it’s a New Year and I should endeavor to be more gracious. Wouldn’t it be fun to read of a changed and redeemed Caroline? Something that helps her biting and caustic tongue to retire? I recently read a wonderful book about Lydia Bennett that was delightfully redemptive…so NOT expected!

  27.  

    I have read both of the first two books in this series and must say that I look forward to the third one, at which time I will re-read both before the third one. I did enjoy them and posted reviews. Thanks for sharing in this interview.

  28.  

    Thanks for sharing those interesting facts as well as that excerpt. I agree with a few of the comments above… Too bad Caroline didn’t get some mud on her! That would of been a good payback for not helping.

    Looking forward to reading this series!

  29.  

    Hi Monica,
    I loved the excerpt – thanks for sharing. The sarcasm and tension between Lizzy and Darcy is great and always fun. I look forward to reading more. Thanks for the giveaway. –Leslie

  30.  

    love the cover of your book! I can’t give you a decent comment with only short excerpt,but I am sure that you did a great jib depicting Caro in deep mud.

  31.  

    love this cover & love Monica’s books!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  32.  

    Loved this book, Monica! Hmmmm…Carolyn in the mud sounds wonderful to me, face first, though!!

  33.  

    Monica, your books are wonderful and I am so looking forward to reading this one. A wonderful way to start off the new year!

    Thank you so much for this giveaway, and good luck with “Mr. Darcy’s Challenge”.

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