I’d hoped to be announcing an exact release date for A Season Lost today, but we’re just not quite there yet, although I’m hoping it will be within a week. But the good news is, we’re definitely close enough to release to do a giveaway, so five of you will get to supplement any Black Friday deals you’ve gotten today with a free book!
It’s always odd doing a giveaway for a series book, particularly now that we’re on the third in the series (A Constant Love and A Change of Legacies being the first two), and so I’m giving away five copies of your choice of either A Constant Love or A Season Lost. in your choice of either Kindle or paperback formats. That way those of you who haven’t started the series aren’t left out. Comment below by midnight EST on Wednesday, November 28 to enter.
And yes, as you can see by the cover, it was a very tough choice, but I ultimately ended up going with the dark clouds over Chatsworth’s grounds in Derbyshire. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people liked the horse in the fog, and what it ended up coming down to was how this cover lined up with the other two in the series, and what I think the cover for the fourth book (to be titled A Generation’s Secrets) will be.
I’m very excited to finally be getting this one close to release. It’s the most epic in scope of any of them so far, both in terms of plotlines and actual geographical distance, and therefore it’s the longest. Bringing this series along has really provided me with a chance to show the growth of the characters over time, and that certainly continues in this book, while an old character gains new prominence.
It’s also tough to do an excerpt for a series, but I realised the beginning has only mild spoilers, and it shows the relationship dynamic of the Darcys at two years of marriage, before they and many of the other characters are tested by the “Year Without a Summer.” So I thought it would be a good one to share:
There was a morning, at Pemberley, in which Elizabeth Darcy went in to breakfast wearing a cap. It was a fine cap, trimmed with some of the lace her sister Georgiana had purchased for her in Paris, and – so Elizabeth thought – fully appropriate for a married woman who had now borne two heirs for Pemberley.
Most of their house party had left already: Captain and Mrs. Ramsey, and their brother, Herbert, had gone south to visit family in Salisbury; the Stanton men had returned to their various careers, their wives in consort. Thus Elizabeth found the winter breakfast-room empty, save her husband, who was lingering over his coffee and looked at her with what seemed censure, when she walked in.
“What is this nonsense?” he asked, rising to walk over to her and, as though to ensure her certainty of precisely what he had labelled nonsense, plucking at the edge of the cap and looking his wife in the eye.
“It is a cap, Darcy – surely you have seen them.”
“I have, on matrons.”
“Is not your wife a matron, after two years of marriage and two children?”
“She might be such in status, but I had not thought of her as such in looks,” he said, and turned to the footman standing by the sideboard. “Will you have Kelly summoned here at once?”
“Darcy, do not be severe on her. The cap was my idea. In truth, I had thought myself overdue to begin wearing one.”
“Why? Why should you frame a beautiful face in anything less than it deserves?” he asked.
“Well, I suppose I had thought the cap tolerable enough,” was her arch response.
“You sly woman,” he said. “Do not think that shall prevent me from standing firm on this, though, for I will. I most certainly will.”
Sarah Kelly appeared then, curtseying deeply and looking with puzzlement between her mistress and master. “Sir? Madam?”
“I must apologise, Kelly,” Darcy said. “Clearly your wages are not what they should be. I would have expected my wife to bring this to my attention, but it seems instead she has wished to curtail your duties. So let me make clear to you, I shall increase your pay by ten per cent so long as Mrs. Darcy’s hair is styled to become her countenance as it should be, and she does not appear to the household in some ridiculous cap.”
“Sir – I’m so sorry – I – ”
“Kelly, I have already informed Mr. Darcy of how the cap was my idea. Do not worry yourself over it, although I shall take him up on raising your wages by ten per cent.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” said Sarah, awkwardly curtseying, then rushing from the room with a flustered countenance.
After she had left, Darcy pinched his fingers upon the top of Elizabeth’s head and plucked off the cap, examining it for a moment before he scowled, shook his head, and tucked it away within his waistcoat.
“Much better,” he said. “Please do not deprive me of my lovely wife again for breakfast. I fear I shall lose my appetite.”
“Darcy, I suspect you have already eaten.”
“Perhaps I have, but that is only because I was not faced with my wife attempting to appear as some aged old dowager at the breakfast table.”
“Are you going to keep it?”
“Yes. I might consider giving it back to you in thirty years or so.”