Happy Friday, readers! Need help starting the weekend off right? How about an enticing excerpt from Ann Galvia’s newest release What’s Past is Prologue (such an Elizabeth Bennet kind of mantra, isn’t it?) Which sounds like an interesting Pride and Prejudice variation. I’m looking forward to reading it especially as Side by Side, Apart was one of my favorite reads of 2017!!! Ann is here today to share an enticing excerpt from her new story! We hope you enjoy!
To set the scene: Elizabeth has learned of a painting of Pemberley that hangs in the gallery at Rosings. She has asked Darcy to show it to her as a bonding activity.
“I must warn you, it is not any grand work. It is an amateur effort painted by my mother soon after her marriage.”
Elizabeth’s interest had already been secured, but this charming origin caused it to grow. “Even better! As a new bride myself, I hope I can understand your mother’s feelings about her home.”
Darcy led her to the gallery where the likenesses of Sir Lewis de Bourgh’s antecedents hung intermixed with landscapes and pieces the family had purchased.
The painting they came to see was done in watercolours. The great house was represented by a muddy brown rectangle, rising on what Elizabeth supposed was intended to be a ridge. It was difficult to say. A thin blue line was probably a river. Most of the canvas was green.
“Is it very like?”
Darcy’s critical eyes swept over the painting. He declared it a fair enough representation, though he quickly added, “My mother was not a skilled artist, so it is not very like. Yet I do not believe your imagination could be led far astray by this painting.”
“I expect I shall see more of your mother’s work in the gallery at Pemberley?”
“I shall look forward to getting to know her through her art.” Elizabeth stared at the painting. Her own parents, she hoped, would be part of her life for years to come. Darcy had the misfortune of losing both of his already. Was it possible to get to know a person who had died by looking at their paintings? “Why does this piece hang at Rosings?”
“It was a gift.”
Elizabeth raised her eyebrows. “A painting of her own house seems like an odd choice of gift.”
“My mother and Lady Catherine were very close. My grandfather felt Lady Catherine was too young at the time of my parents’ marriage to leave home to live with her sister, which, if I am not mistaken, she took very hard. The painting was a gesture.”
“For Lady Catherine to feel she was with her sister even when they were apart—such a touching gesture.” Looking at the pigments and the way they seemed to run into one another, Elizabeth decided one could learn about another through their painting—perhaps not through their skill or lack thereof but in what they painted and what they chose to do with it. “I think Lady Catherine must have relied very much on your mother.”
His lips curled incredulously. “Why do you say that?”
“Such disbelief! Are you shocked I am so perceptive or shocked I could be so wrong?”
“You cannot shock me anymore.”
She raised her eyebrows. “Ah, you have been shocked enough to have grown numb. Well, as my capacity for error cannot surprise you—and you were surprised, do not deny it—I must be correct.”
“You will have to enlighten me.”
“Well, Lady Anne was the older sister—probably much older if your grandfather insisted she stay home when so many other sisters go to help with the transition of maiden to wife. The much older sisters are often expected to help care for the younger children. Am I correct so far?”
“Lady Anne painted this after her marriage, so she took time away from her duties to do something for her sister, which shows, I think, a great deal of affection for her. And that is not the only proof of their affection, for they both wished you would marry Miss de Bourgh. That speaks of sisterly devotion as well.”
Darcy refuted nothing but pointed out, “You are arguing more for affection than reliance.”
“I was not finished!”
“You and Georgiana are very generous towards Lady Catherine. She relies on you. She always intended to rely on you. What you tolerate from her, I think you struggle to tolerate, and you certainly would not tolerate it from anyone else. Georgiana is so desperate not to disappoint her that she will not come out of her bedroom because honesty requires letting Lady Catherine down. There are no men in Lady Catherine’s life to supervise or educate her, and there have not been any for a very long time. Even her own brother you do not wish to involve in her affairs! I am sure the only person she ever relied on was her older sister, and with Lady Anne gone, those responsibilities have fallen to you and your sister. She does not fear your anger because she knows you would never dishonour the memory of your mother by forsaking her.”
Elizabeth clasped her hands behind her back and rocked on her toes, beaming with pride. She had been doing little more than thinking aloud, but she felt she had done rather well. “Is my portrait very like her?”
“It is,” Darcy replied. “I knew you were a student of character among the living, but I had no notion that you studied the character of the dead as well.”
“I do not paint, but I do enjoy sketching, in a manner of speaking.”
“Our daughters—will they paint?
“I shall ask them when I meet them. Be patient; it will be many years before they choose their answer.”
Ooh! It is interesting to hear that Lady Anne is the older sister, and not Lady Catherine in this variation. I wonder how that effected the dynamic of their relationship. Speaking of dynamic, Darcy and Elizabeth seem to have an interesting one as well…playful and agreeable, but not exactly loving.
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Meryton Press is generously giving away 8 ebook editions of What’s Past is Prologue in conjunction with this blog tour!! Woot woot!
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- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Meryton Press!
- This giveaway ends August 17th!
Thank you to Claudine Pepe, Meryton Press, and Ann Galvia for making this blog tour possible! Click the image above to check out the rest of the tour!