I resist the temptation to read Christmas books until the season is upon us, but it is so hard sometimes! There is something particularly romantic about snow drifts and mistletoe, yet I fear indulging in any month but December. The holidays are a special time of year, and I believe that it takes some discipline to keep them that way. Now that the time is finally upon us, I get to plunge into a year’s worth of goodies!
Many an Austen Author has penned tales of the season, myself included. As a reader, these novels and vignettes are like magic portals, bringing me a bevy of fantastic holiday memories to add to my own, like this one: warm and cozy by the fire, wrapped in a quilt made by my mother-in-law, typing away at the laptop. I cannot imaging Christmas without Christmas stories: both reading and writing them. I plan to post a few of the latter from years past in the Writer’s Block later this month. In the meantime, to get us in the holiday spirit, here is a little something I wrote for back in 2012, of which I am rather proud.
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Pemberley
The people were engaged in seasonal festivity.
Each hall bedecked in evergreen boughs
Muffling the echoes of footsteps oft loud.
The fires roared in joyous determination
To add to the momentous occasion,
And as for stockings from the mantels hung there
They might just get singed if no one took care.
How fortunate then for these halls reputed
To have by Bennets been thusly polluted,
That the matron of this slandered clan
Should be standing by, ready at hand.
For action swiftly must be taken
Against an addition most mistaken,
No time to summon a footman here.
In just a moment the Darcys may appear.
No matter that the table was tall,
Nor Mr. Bennet predicting her certain fall,
The situation must be rectified.
She could not patiently sit by.
Upon the table she determined to mount,
Decrying the servants, “Could they not count?
Why should they hang up stockings four,
When only three Darcys are here anymore?”
Her sad words were undeniably true,
For children the house was now one too few.
The baby who last year brought joy to their fireside
Was now but a memory – a dream of eventide.
Beside Mr. Bennet, the young master stood sage,
A sturdy young man far too old for his age.
To contradict Granddad would be horribly rude,
But Grandmother’s actions he wholly approved.
For it would not do to remind Mama again
Of the sweet little sister whose loss brought such pain
To his once happy family, especially his mother,
Whom he loved above and beyond any other.
The morning all had enjoyed a ride in the sleigh,
And the gathering of greenery, wherever it lay,
But though she had smiled, acting as if all were well,
Something troubled Mama. He could always tell.
“There!” cried Mrs. Bennet, flourishing her trophy,
But just at that moment, in walked Mrs. Darcy.
She looked up at her mother, perched shakily on high,
Her son studying closely, to see if she should cry.
When all of a sudden there rose such a clatter
That all felt alarm to see what was the matter.
It was with relief they were able to discern
That Elizabeth was laughing, her face far from forlorn.
“Mama! Please tell me what on Earth you are doing,
Besides spoiling the surprise Fitzwilliam and I have been brewing.”
She helped her mother step down to a chair.
“I said not to meddle,” Mr. Bennet declared.
Mr. Darcy came in, and perceiving the scene,
He glanced to his wife and saw her eyes beam.
Both mother and father took their son by a hand,
And made such announcements as must always be grand.
The springtime would see the birth of a new child.
A fitting event for a season so mild.
The wise little man knew not what to do,
But to ask once again, “Can this really be true?”
Upon much assurance he allowed himself to feel
That their trials were over: that now they might heal.
And throwing his arms round her neck oh so tight,
“Happy Christmas,” he lisped, “the best of all nights!”
I hope that pulled at your heartstrings. It still makes me sigh.
Need more? How about one (or all) of the following selections:
The second book in Barbara Silkstone’s Mister Darcy series, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas, will get you in the spirit (note: Barbara’s newest, the 7th book in this series, is also a Christmas story! Better get reading … )
Christmas just became a lot more complicated for dog psychologist Lizzie Bennet and her sisters. While shopping in London they find little urchin Annie and her dog Sammy. As a fierce snowstorm takes over the city, the aloof but alluring Mister Darcy invites the girls, including Annie and Sammy, to spend the night at his penthouse.
With the best of intentions Darcy asks Annie and her seven siblings to join the Bennet sisters for a quiet Christmas Eve celebration in his London fortress. The skulduggery begins when Caroline Bingley – the villainess Austen fans love to boo – shows up acting the part of the Grinch and Scrooge combined.
Escape holiday stress with Rose Fairbank’s new collection of short stories, Once Upon a December.
Re-imagine Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. The well-known story changes seven times when snowfalls and the Christmas messages of goodwill and love to all warms and transforms hearts. Discover the magic and wonder of true love, first kisses, and forgiveness with Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, and Mr. Bingley in Once Upon a December.
How about a little diversity? Spend Christmas with a modern Miss Woodhouse in Ceclia Gray’s With Love, from Emma, her contribution to Holidays with Jane: Christmas Cheer.
A visit to Emma Gold’s flower shop can save a relationship but a date at Lance Knightley’s bar can take that relationship to the next level, so who should be considered Heartfield, Oregon’s resident romance expert? Emma and Lance square off at their best friends’ wedding to settle the score. Sparks fly as bets are made and favors are won in this contemporary Christmas retelling.
Elizabeth’s Anne West’s Very Merry Mischief came out in April. Somehow I managed to control myself and not read it. Control gone!
When Mr. Darcy left Hertfordshire after Charles Bingley’s proposal to Jane Bennet, he promised to return in ten days. When he breaks that promise due to events outside of his control, Elizabeth Bennet is left abandoned for over a year, finally joining the Bingley household as the second unmarried sister under Charles’ protection. An invitation to Pemberley brings out the merry match-making mischief as everyone has a plan for their future happiness. Caroline is convinced Mr. Darcy has loved her all this time, Mr. Darcy struggles to seek Elizabeth’s forgiveness, and Elizabeth just wishes to make it through this visit without constantly embarrassing herself! There’s no better season for miracles, even if it takes a few elves to make them happen!
I have reread Sharon Lathan’s A Darcy Christmas each year since it was released. This is a must have collection.
Based on the Darcy Saga series, this novella takes the reader down the passage of time with ten individual snippets of the evolving Darcy family celebrating. Beginning on the Christmas Eve after meeting Lizzy Bennet, Mr. Darcy is a man tortured by visions and emotions he is unable – or unwilling – to deal with. Thereafter follows a succession of Christmas Eves and Days with Mr. Darcy as a happily married man surrounded by his wife and an ever-increasing family, giving glimpses of their future.
P.O. Dixon continues Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest with the Christmas vignette The Mission: He Taught Me to Hope.
Bennet Carlton captures our imaginations in the novel He Taught Me to Hope, Book One in the Darcy and the Young Knight’s Quest series. Join the precocious young knight as he embarks upon a mission to bring his Bennet and Fitzwilliam relations to Pemberley for Christmas, and in so doing, teaches his family to hope.
Last but so very far from least, I highly recommend Christmas at Pemberley by Regina Jeffers. Fabulous book!
Darcy has invited the Bennets and the Bingleys to spend the Christmastide’s festive days at Pemberley. But as he and Elizabeth journey to their estate to join the gathered families, a blizzard blankets the English countryside. The Darcys find themselves stranded at a small inn while Pemberley is inundated with refugees seeking shelter from the storm.
Without her brother’s strong presence, Georgiana Darcy tries desperately to manage the chaos surrounding the arrival of six invited guests and eleven unscheduled visitors. But bitter feuds, old jealousies and intimate secrets quickly rise to the surface. Has Lady Catherine returned to Pemberley for forgiveness or revenge? Will the manipulative Caroline Bingley find a soul mate? Shall Kitty Bennet and Georgiana know happiness?
It behoves me to remind you that the following books are available to purchase at the Austen Author’s Emporium. Why not support the writers you love while doing some Christmas shopping? A very happy holiday to all! I will see you in 2016.