Hi readers! I’m so excited to welcome author Elizabeth Adams to Austenesque Reviews today!! I’ve been a long time admirer of her work (see here and here), but this is the first time she has ever been a guest on my blog! Elizabeth is here sharing about her newest release – Meryton Vignettes (which I will be reading and reviewing next month!) and her new audio books for The Houseguest and Unwilling!
This has been a busy winter!
Making audio books was a really fun experience (the auditions may have been my favorite part) and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Both my narrators were amazing to work with and so talented, and I’m thrilled with the response they’ve gotten.
The short story collection focuses primarily on secondary characters, though two stories are from Elizabeth’s point of view. If you really use your imagination, all but one of them could be inserted in the original P&P at some point, though it might be a little far-fetched.
This particular excerpt is from Life After Darcy, a story centering on Caroline Bingley and what she does with herself after Darcy and Elizabeth marry. I’ll admit that it might be my favorite in the book and still makes me laugh. Getting in Caroline’s head was insanely fun and while I wouldn’t want hundreds of pages of it, a short story is just right.
Excerpt from Life After Darcy
Really, what did they expect her to do? Simply move on? Pretend he hadn’t existed? That she hadn’t imagined what their life would be like in the future? Spending summers at Pemberley and the season in town, going to Italy for their ten-year anniversary, presenting their daughters at court, dancing at their son’s wedding. Did they really expect her to just forget it all? Forget him?
Well, she would not. She may not have always loved him as she should, as she did now, but her heart had finally opened and she was not about to give up on this peculiar feeling, no matter what her sister said to her.
And really, what did Louisa know about it anyway? She was married to that drunken lump of a man. She had never burned with passion, consumed with feelings she couldn’t understand. She had never watched the man of her dreams fall helplessly in love with a woman that wasn’t worthy of him, couldn’t be worthy of him. No, Louisa understood nothing and she refused to listen to her.
Charles was even worse. He attempted to reason with her, telling her that she and Mr. Darcy would never have gotten along anyway, that they were ill-matched, that she should count herself lucky and try to find a man more suited to the life she wanted to live. He didn’t understand. None of them did.
Only dear, sweet Jane comprehended how hurt she was, how wounded her pride, how bruised her vanity. That he had been so near to her on so many occasions, and yet looked her over, was a blow to her self-worth. That he could prefer someone so different from herself challenged everything she had long believed to be true.
Could they not see how her world was set on its head? What was she supposed to do, now that every dream was lain waste to, every cherished hope lost?
After the wedding, a black day she refused to acknowledge as special in any way, she decided something must be done. She was not the sort of woman to collapse at the whim of a man. She was stronger than that. She saw the sniggers on the faces of her supposed friends, the ones who had known of her single-minded pursuit of him and seen it in action. She would show them how a true lady comported herself. She would not cower in the corner like a jilted miss. She would stand tall and show them what she was made of. Show him.
Oh, she knew that even if he realized his mistake (as she was sure he would—in short order), there was no way she could ever have him. Of course, Eliza could die in childbirth but she doubted that outcome. Country girls were oddly strong in that respect. But even though she knew he would never be hers, she did admit to a certain satisfaction in thinking about how he would wish he had wed differently. Perhaps even that he had wed her.
Her favorite fantasy, of course, involved Mr. Darcy realizing before a year was out that he had made a terrible mistake. He would explain all to her when they were both visiting Charles. It would be late and he would have had one too many glasses of brandy. She would come across him alone in the drawing room after returning to fetch her shawl or in the library long after everyone else was abed. He would unburden himself to her and she would become his confidant, his dearest friend, the one he turned to for solace and relief.
After a time of close friendship, he would tell her his feelings could not be repressed. He must tell her how he loved her passionately and beg her to become his lover, even though he knew she was engaged to a marquis. She would refuse him, firmly but gently, and for the rest of their lives, their eyes would meet across crowded ballrooms and their hands touch clandestinely under tables at dinner parties. Eventually, Eliza would succumb to some disease contracted from her vile relations and die. Caroline would comfort him once again, and after her husband perished in a tragic riding accident, leaving her a wealthy and established socialite, they would become lovers and eventually marry, but only after he begged her for months and apologized for slighting her so dreadfully all those years ago.
Alas, she was not so unrealistic to believe any of this would actually happen, but it was a pleasant day dream nonetheless.
Wow! This passage almost makes me start to feel sympathy for Caroline! Sounds just terrific, Elizabeth! I love that your anthology focuses more on secondary characters! I’m sure it was fun to get in their heads! 😉 Thanks so much for sharing and all the best with your new releases and projects!
Connect with Elizabeth
In conjunction with her very lovely post, Elizabeth generously brings with her ONE audio book of The Houseguest, ONE audio book of Unwilling, and ONE Ebook of Meryton Vignettes, for me to give away to THREE lucky readers!!!!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, question, or some love for Elizabeth!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Elizabeth!
- This giveaway ends January 25th!