The Secrets of Pemberley Excerpt #2

The Secrets of Pemberley Excerpt #2

In November, I shared a surprising and provocative post. What if Elizabeth never loved Darcy? The post contained an excerpt of an upcoming release titled The Secrets of Pemberley. I’ll not spend more time summarizing that post, you can read it here. I’ll also remind everyone that it is only a dream!

Today, I wanted to share the opening scene to The Secrets of Pemberley. It establishes a different sort of Darcy than I’ve written before. This will release in early March.

Excerpt:

“You have done this, Anne, and I will never forgive you.”

A large, stern man hovered over Fitzwilliam Darcy’s sobbing mother. Her cries awoke the boy of eight from his night time slumber in the small Scottish cottage where he and his mother shared a room. The only light was a lantern in the man’s hand. Outside the open window, the world remained quiet except for the sound of horses snorting and stamping impatiently. A coachman attempted to calm them.

“But do not take him away from me! Do not take my boy!”

Fitzwilliam attempted to hide behind his mother who now sat on his bed.

“You have taken mine!” the man roared. “Have you no words of regret on the passing of your firstborn? My son! My heir! He needed his mother — but no, you were here.”

Lady Anne Darcy remained mute and continued her sobs. Her son peered curiously at the angry man. Mother had another child? He had a brother?

“Do not fret,” the man glared and had no sympathy for the tears he saw. “I kept your affair a secret and he has my name. He will be accepted.”

“But he will not be loved!” Lady Anne sobbed anew and she hugged Fitzwilliam.

“You should have thought of that before you played the harlot.”

“If you would allow me to come with you,” she pleaded.

“Absolutely not. You will remain here for your “health.” Now, pass the boy over.”

The man looked at the Fitzwilliam. He looked strange, unfamiliar and in clothing that showed no signs of wear. Mother had always said one day his father would come for him one day, but looking at this man, Fitzwilliam did not want to go.

“No, anything but that please,” Mother cried.

Large hands tried to snatch Fitzwilliam’s arm and she threw herself in front of the child. He darted to the other side of the room.

“Anne,” George said in a warning tone. “The law is on my side.”

He sounded angry and Fitzwilliam flinched at the voice but his mother did not cower. Either Mother was very brave or perhaps there was no reason to fear violence from the man.

“Allow me to say good bye,” Mother pleaded.

At last, the towering man relented.

“Fitzwilliam, my darling son,” Mother choked out and embraced him.

He wrapped his hands tightly around her waist and pressed his head to her chest. “Mama, please do not send me away. Do not make me go with that man.” Tears streaked down his face and he trembled in fear. Other than Cook and the maid, he had seldom known other people. He was even too shy to greet the minister they saw every Sunday.

“He is your father,” Mama said.

The man snorted and Fitzwilliam lifted his head.

Mother turned her head to face Father. “What else is there to tell him, George?”

“Disguise of every sort is my abhorrence,” he said through gritted teeth. “Am I not lying enough as it is?”

“Please,” Mother asked as her chin trembled and tears fell down her cheeks. “Please.”

“Blast it. You always knew how to get your way,” Father whispered. “I will tell him when he is old enough.”

Fitzwilliam felt relief in his mother’s frame and she exhaled the breath she had been holding.

“Thank you.”

Turning back to her son, she ran comforting hands over his hair and face. “Now, you will go with your Papa and learn everything you can about running a big estate. So many people will look up to you and will count on you. Do you think you can do that?”

Fitzwilliam shook his head.

“Our son was never afraid of anything,” Father said sadly. “Did you ever wonder?”

Pain and anguish flooded Mother’s eyes and she squeezed them shut. Upon opening, determination filled them.

“You can do this! I know you can! Do you remember the name of the estate?”

“Pember…Pemberley?”

“Yes! See how smart you are already?”

Fitzwilliam did not care about praise in this moment. Why did he have to leave Mother behind? “When will I see you again?”

“Do not worry about that,” she answered with a quavering voice. “I must remain here and get healthy.”

Mother often said they lived here because of her health. She never seemed ill to him, only sad. However, he would never wish to hurt her. “Must I go?”

“Yes, it is your duty now to be the heir of Pemberley.” She pulled him into a crushing hug. “Now, never forget how I love you. No one will ever love you as your mother.”

“Boy, it is time,” Father called.

After another minute, Mother released him and gave him a kiss on each cheek. He reluctantly walked to his father’s side.

“I am pleased to meet you, Father,” he said.

George Darcy harrumphed and left the sparse room. Fitzwilliam cast a parting look at his mother, who tried to smile and waved goodbye, then trailed down the stairs. He maintained silence until they were in the carriage. Fitzwilliam silently cried as they pulled away from the cottage which been his only home.

I’d love to know what you think of this opening? My heart just goes out to this Darcy so much!

31 Responses to The Secrets of Pemberley Excerpt #2

  1. Wow!!! I will be eagerly awaiting the release of this book. Love the premises as I have never come across this theme before. And by the way… no good father’s was kind of trademark in Austen’s books.

    • I think you’ll love it! And yes, Austen seems to have an issue with good fathers which is interesting considering by most accounts she didn’t get along as well with her mother. Guess not everyone writes what they know!

  2. Wow, what an excerpt, it made me a bit misty-eyed. I am so glad that you answered another comment saying that the answers would be revealed in the book as I really want to learn what drove Lady Anne to have an affair and with whom.

  3. Wow….I am glad you prefaced the excerpt by stating this is only a dream….that Elizabeth never loved Darcy. For Darcy not to be George Darcy’s natural son….and to have him taken away from his loving mother to learn to be the master of Pemberley….soooo much potential heartache lies ahead for a shy little boy. You are quite brave to write a story that is so shocking and original…and I applaud you for it!!!! GREAT beginning!!! I can’t wait to read the rest of the story!!!

    • Elizabeth never loving Darcy is just a dream, but the above excerpt is a memory and did happen. He does go through a lot of heartache. He’s really searching for someone to love him. It’s not without MASSIVE bumps in the road but once they get there it’s SOO sweet and loving. Thanks for your support. I think you’ll love it!

    • Yes, this will be a stand alone. It’s told entirely from Darcy’s point of view, so I might go back and write one from Elizabeth’s pov later but I have no plans to do so immediately and it can be understood without her. Also, a first for me doing entirely from Darcy’s viewpoint!

  4. Rose,

    I must commend you for fearlessly going where angels fear to tread!!

    Darcy,not his father’s son,suddenly becomes his heir,will probably never see his mother again and upon discovering who his biological father is,will no doubt suffer terribly and whether he’ll remain on friendly terms with these two men will remain to be seen.

    Am looking forward (with a little-no,a lot of trepidation) to finding out what happens next.
    Best of luck with this one. I sincerely hope the Muse is in your side.

    • This story certainly breaks many sacred JAFF laws!

      The issue of Darcy’s paternity is always in the back of his mind and something to be dealt with late in the book. As tough as George Darcy seems right now, I’ve always thought of him as a lot like Charles Bingley–so he warms up to his wife’s love child rather well but the whole thing leaves a mark on Fitzwilliam.

      I was hoping for a February release but I’m moving this month and just don’t think I can promise it. About 1/3 left to write!

  5. Wow! You’re definitely going where no JAFF author has gone before with this storyline! I’m looking forward to reading the entire book.

    • I do like to be different! 🙂 I know other authors have had Darcy’s parents unfaithful to one another. Linda Wells and J. Dawn King com to mind but as far as I know, this is the only case where Darcy is illegitimate and passing as a true Darcy.

        • I think Colonel Fitzwilliam is a blank character that you can do lots of things with. I’ve read a few where he is bad and enjoyed them. In my Mr. Darcy’s Bluestocking Bride he’s borderline, more to be shown in the sequel. In this story, he is going to be good but he’s not as close to Darcy as my other books.

  6. I am always touched by a brave child being strong during a time of adversity. Nothing pulls harder at the heart strings. Man, I don’t think I’ve seen this story line before. Whew! I am wiped out. I remembered the November post and it broke my heart. I still reread it… then I compounded the angst by reading this. Well now I want to cry my eyes out. Dang. OK, so will this be completely OOC and off canon or will there still be a Georgiana? I cannot imagine what will happen next. I’d pull my hair out… except that I need it to keep my head warm. It is winter, you know. Dang!!

    • I’m sorry for causing you grief but am also smiling because I love it when I hear from readers that my writing elicited true, unadulterated feelings. Those are the types of stories that I love reading so it’s a huge accomplishment, in my eyes, to achieve writing it.

      I don’t think Darcy is very much out of character. He has a moment where he traps Elizabeth into marriage (in the dream sequence) and this and other back story pieces are influential in understanding his lapse in judgment. Note, he never even does it in real life, but his subconscious imagines he could be capable of it. So far there is Georgiana and I would say that is the biggest change. They don’t really know each other well until after Hunsford. I know traditionally, fan fiction believes they were close siblings but I think Canon leaves some room for interpretation. If all goes well, she will be instrumental in helping Darcy change. However, it’s possible my betas and editor will find her unnecessary, so I make no absolute promises yet.

  7. I hope you know that I’m not a big lover of angst and with this opening along with the previous excerpt – well! I was suffering along with Darcy in both cases. I say Darcy but from this it seems he isn’t actually a Darcy???
    I will go with the hope that his life gets better at some point and I really hope he gets to see his mother again.

    • You know, I don’t know if this counts as high angst. On the surface it’s got a lot of problems, but the characters don’t ever give into despair so it always feels like there’s hope. I know it will be too much for some (some of my best friends won’t read certain parts of it) but I can think of far angstier stories and writers who consistently bring the angst. It’s got conflict, for sure, but I don’t think that’s the same as angst.

      Oh, and yes, he’s not a Darcy by blood but hush…no one is supposed to know that. 😉

  8. Oh I sure hope this ends up happier than it starts, What a great start though, I can’t wait to read more.

Your thoughts are precious!