Hi there! Please join me as I ride the learning curve while writing my third Regency Pride and Prejudice variation. As a contemporary author of over thirty books, it is a fun challenge to learn the ins and outs of writing in an entirely different voice.
Contemporary authors are cautioned to eliminate as many adverbs and adjectives as possible. Lean prose! Now I find myself completely spun around, and happily adding delicious, nutritious, scrumptious adjectives. ~ Sorry I got a bit carried away there! ~
For Darcy the superlatives are not that important as he is a man of few words—a meat and potatoes kind of guy. But the ladies, oh how they love those descriptive words! What would Lydia, Mrs. Bennet, Caroline Bingley, or even Elizabeth be without a reticule packed with hyperbole? Oh the angst of lacking the proper adverb…those ly’s are like little lockets, fiddled and fondled between languishing, sentimental fingers. (I am practicing adjective-izing —please bear with me.)
Darcy and Elizabeth Serendipity
Let me share the first bit of my WIP scheduled for release in late October. I have entered into Darcy’s Regency gentleman’s mind, allowing him to be one of the most romantic Darcys you will encounter. While he is quite focused, Elizabeth is confused by her feelings, faced with a force marriage to Mr. Collins, and unexpected desires for Mr. Darcy, she decides to split for London—correction—“to spend an extended visit” with Aunt Gardiner until someone, anyone, marries the odious (isn’t that a great word?) Mr. Collins.
I can’t wait for you to read the entire story, as both Darcy and Elizabeth are a bit different: Darcy is softer. Elizabeth a tad bit feistier—is that possible?
Darcy and Elizabeth: Serendipity
Serendipity: A fortunate happenstance or a pleasant surprise. Darcy remembers the perfect love between his parents and believes it can be his. He believes in destiny with a little help from serendipity.
Elizabeth, because of the example of marriage set by her parents, refuses to believe in destiny; the idea of serendipity is an affront to her logic. She will not marry except for true love and thinks she can control her own fate if she is very cautious.
The Gentlemen Arrive
The two men slowed their horses to a trot, coming to a stop some distance from their destination. Charles Bingley sat back in his saddle, a boyish grin on his face. “Well there it is, Netherfield Park. What do you think?” He peered eagerly at Fitzwilliam Darcy, who sat erect, taking in the splendid vistas.
Darcy took care in choosing his words as Bingley took his advice to heart. “The prospect from this point gives one a sense of comfort and stability. Those are the first words I would choose,” he said. “It is well situated and appears to be of a proper size. Did you say there were twenty-nine rooms? Does that include a ballroom?”
Bingley chuckled. “I never thought I would hear you ask of a ballroom. You abhor dancing.” He regarded Darcy, studying his handsome but oh-so serious face. “Does that mean you are finally coming out of your shell? Can I count on you to begin living again?” Bingley threw in a teasing comment for good measure and said, “Not that you ever enjoyed a ball.”
It was a blessing for Fitzwilliam Darcy to have a friend such as Charles Bingley for the gentleman was direct, yet pleasant in his support. Bingley was always in a cheerful mood, a gift that Darcy needed in his life, especially after the events of the past year in which his world had been tainted by folly and vice—not of his own making.
Despite his sister’s pleasant company, Darcy felt lonely from the time he awoke until the time he laid his head upon his pillow. He had kept his heart locked away for too long, and yet he could not bring himself to release it.
Fitzwilliam Darcy may have been one of the wealthiest men in England, but by choice he isolated himself and his sister from society, whether at his vast country estate in Derbyshire, or in London where he was surrounded by hundreds of people of his social rank and besieged with invitations by mothers of marriageable daughters desperate for a match. He would have none of it, and the more the ladies of the ton pressured him, the more he retreated.
Except for Bingley and cousin Richard Fitzwilliam, there was no one Darcy could bring himself to trust for he had experienced the false friendships of men and the overdone admiration of ladies eager to become mistress of Pemberley.
If only his parents were still alive to continue to shine their love light upon him and Georgiana. Their steady affection nurtured the young Darcy and caused him to grow into the compassionate youth he had become, but then that light had been extinguished—first his mother and then his father. Gone. And so he withdrew behind walls of silent scowling for fear of exposing his vulnerable nature.
Needing to snap out of his reverie he fell back on teasing Bingley. “Of course once you take up residence here, you will have to adjust to the savage ways of country folk. I hear they eat strangers and occasionally chew with their mouths open,” Darcy said.
Bingley broke into an even larger smile. “Did I mention that perhaps you read too much? It sounds like your literary tastes have gone to the Brothers Grimm. I insist you spend as much time as possible with me here at Netherfield enjoying the fresh air and rolling hills. Promise me you will throw yourself into this new life or at least try it on for size.” Bingley cracked a smile. “I can almost guarantee my new neighbors will not eat you.”
“You ask too much, Charles!” Darcy surveyed the vistas and felt the tension seep every so slightly from his shoulders. “Is this estate what you really want? Why here in this particular hamlet?” he asked, reining his chestnut stallion, as the horse grew restless.
“It is time I settled down. I have not been able to do that in London. Hertfordshire was suggested to me by my solicitor as it is close enough to the city, but offers a measure of safety which will allow me to start a family,” Bingley spoke without taking his eyes off his new home. There was a expression of pride upon his face.
“You? A family?” Darcy said. “You shall not convince a single one of those pretty London ladies to give up the excitement of the city for the dull life of a country squire’s wife, no matter how cheerful a companion you are.”
“Then my sister Caroline shall be mistress of Netherfield until I fall in love, marry, and live happily ever after.”
Darcy envied his friend’s optimism, for more and more he had come to doubt his destiny was one of a happy marriage. His parents had set a high standard by which he compared all other marriages and found them lacking. He could not imagine himself being so fortunate as to find a love as true as the love his parents shared. To find a lady who could breach his walls and re-open his heart.
One thing was certain in his mind, he was sure he would not find the perfect woman for his exacting tastes by prancing through a thousand sets at Almack’s Assembly Rooms with plumed and perfumed ladies. It would happen because it was destined to happen much as his father had described to him, by serendipity, a happy turn of fate, a lovely coincidence, or by a pair of fine eyes.
The romantic side of Darcy wanted desperately to believe that he would know her the moment he saw her; and yet he sensed this extraordinary women was not one to hob-knob with the ton, nor would she be a simple country lass of low status.
Approaching thirty years, he had yet to feel that instant magnetic attraction his father had once described. If anything, he felt repelled by the aggression and artifice of the women he met.
In truth Darcy’s father and mother had imbued in him a burning desire to replicate their marriage. Young Fitzwilliam discerned from the time he could toddle around the family rooms in Pemberley that the love his parents shared warmed every nook, and drove away every shadow. His mother had only to approach and his father beamed. When not in view of the servants, they would embrace, laughing and kissing. This was the image of a true happy marriage that Darcy carried in his heart.
As he neared manhood, his father shared with his son what he had learned about love and destiny. “There is no way to deliberately avoid your fate, my son, but you can be accidentally misguided, so take care that you remain alert to the serendipitous clues destiny will lay before you. For fate is a prankster and may tease your eye, but not your heart.”
The memory of his father’s lecture passed quickly before his mind’s eye. Darcy mumbled a response to something Bingley said, hoping he had answered correctly for he was finding it hard to concentrate. It was as if his father stood at his shoulder edging him toward his fate.
“You will know your true love the moment you meet, for you will be like two magnets drawn together and instantly inseparable,” his father said. He laughed knowing how quickly young Fitzwilliam took instructions literally and how easily he shared his thoughts with those he held close. The boy was so different from the man he had become.
“Please remember to control your natural exuberance, for nothing frightens a clear minded lady so much as a man who pleads his case using destiny as his reasoning. Keep your heart close until she accepts you,” his father cautioned.
And so applying the elder Darcy’s instructions, Fitzwilliam Darcy kept his heart close and his face a mask to hide all emotions for fear of making a mistake. His aloof demeanor became his calling card by which he was always described as the most handsome gentleman in the room, but unbearably pompous. His posturing became his shield from the ladies presented to him, which was just as well since they commonly proved to be silly twits with an eye to his income of ten thousand a year and more often unsuccessfully hid their avaricious designs beneath layers of fine silk.
See you soon!
With love & laughter!