‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ – Upcoming release and Giveaway

‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ – Upcoming release and Giveaway


Of all the scenes in all the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ adaptations, ‘The Look’ at Pemberley is, hands down, the one I love best.

But the piano scene at Rosings is a close second, followed by the gentlemen’s first visit at the Parsonage.

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Photo: BBC
2 Sept 15 NL Parsonage_2
Photo: BBC

It was the last two scenes that inspired ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’. I’ve been drawn to write love triangle scenarios before – what better way, after all, to torture Darcy for being a self-centred sanctimonious prig and not proposing to Elizabeth while he had the chance? But this time the Rosings and Hunsford scenes simply goaded me into writing the worst triangle of all. What if his rival was not some secondary new character that nobody really cared about – that Darcy didn’t care about? What if his rival was his dearest, closest friend?

2 Sept 15 NL Parsonage_5_any relief_2
Photo: BBC

Around this time last summer, while my family was climbing up Langdale Pike in the Lake District, my idea of fun was very different. There I was, in the garden of a gorgeous old coaching inn, with a glass of lime-and-soda, pen and plenty of paper – and the story started to take shape. Writing at Britania

Then I went home, and set it aside. It’s always tempting to punish Mr. Darcy in some pretty harsh ways for his excessive pride and his misjudgements, but I thought that making him learn that the love of his life is engaged to his dearest cousin is probably a step to far! And what of the dear Colonel? We love him very nearly as much as we love Darcy, so how can we bear to see him lose the girl in the end – as surely he must? How to ensure that the close connection between the cousins doesn’t get irretrievably damaged in the process? How to bring about a happily ever after’ for everyone?

So I started writing another story instead and got a few chapters down, that owed a lot to Deborah Fortin’s knowledge of horses and side-saddle riding. Thanks ever so much for the info, Debbie, that story will be written one day. But not yet. It just didn’t want to be written. But ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ really did.

The Unthinkable Triangle 3x4

The main reason is that, fraught as it might be in the first half, ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’, with its premise of Elizabeth’s engagement to Colonel Fitzwilliam, presented terribly appealing opportunities for her and Mr. Darcy to spend more time together than they ever did. Because, in everybody’s eyes, they were almost related – they were as good as cousins. So, along with Jane, Elizabeth can accept Georgiana’s invitation to spend time at the Darcys’ townhouse. She can get to know Darcy, if not at his most intimate, then certainly at his least formal. She can learn to see him for what he truly is: a good man, an affectionate brother, a considerate master. Someone who would be a tower of strength in times of dire trouble. Someone for whom reserve is but a mask he wears to strangers. Someone who would preserve the woman he loves from every evil. And thus she can discover at long last there is nothing she wants more than to be that woman.

An excerpt from the first chapter is now up at the Writers’ Block and if you’d like to have a peek, you can find it here. More excerpts will be available on various stops on the blog tour, but for now what do you think of these two short quotes?

“What have you against my engagement?” Fitzwilliam queried. “You may not approve of Elizabeth, but I pray matters would mend between the two of you. Will you not try, for my sake, to accept her?” 

From his deepest hell, Darcy wished he could beg for mercy – for an end to the cruel torture. Yet he could not, for it would only bring a different hell, where all the sores would be laid into the open.


“Elizabeth, you must leave me room to hope! Or, as God is my witness, by this time tomorrow I will have carried you off to Gretna Green and damn the consequences!”


So, are you intrigued or plain terrified? Are you willing to take this roller-coaster ride with me?

‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ will be released soon after the Jane Austen Festival, on the 23rd of September. In the meantime, please leave a comment for the chance to read it for free as soon as it’s released. The international Giveaway is open until midnight (BST) on Wednesday 23 Sept 2015 and includes a paperback and two e-copies. Good luck and see you soon!

117 Responses to ‘The Unthinkable Triangle’ – Upcoming release and Giveaway

  1. I was privileged to be a beta reader for Victoria Kincaid’s Pride and Proposals and as soon as I read that Elizabeth had accepted the Colonel’s proposal, I had the awful feeling that ‘He’s doomed!’ I was proven correct eventually, very sadly, as like most folk around here, I have great affection for him. Having said that, I do love that particular variation, despite it’s angst.

    To read that your new work starts off in a similar manner but that nothing dire happens to the Colonel this time is good news on two fronts. Firstly, a new Joana Starnes book can only be the best of news. Secondly, it’s going to be interesting to find out how Darcy and Elizabeth reach their HEA. You surely wouldn’t be so cruel as to deny us that, would you?

    Of course, torturing Darcy is the only legal form of torture I can think of!

    • I loved ‘Pride and Proposals’ so much! I must admit I didn’t figure that out so quickly (the ‘he’s doomed’ part, I mean). In fact, even as I was reading a certain section I was thinking there must be a twist and we might learn a few chapters later that we got it totally wrong about him and his fate. We do love him so much, almost as much as Darcy. Still, we can’t have a situation where Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth walk off into a sunset to have their HEA and Darcy is left to suffer! So the poor Colonel must lose out in the end, much as we care for him.

      Thanks EVER so much for your kind words about my books, I’m so happy to hear that and you’re so wonderful to say so!
      And I really loved what you said about the only legal form of torture 😀 😀

      Hope you’ll like what I’ve done with our favourite characters this time. Thanks again for your support and hugs!

    • LOL Maureen. My wonderful editor kept sending me revision notes with ‘Pass the Xanax’ scribbled on the side. But I think chocolate works better 😀 Thanks so much for your interest and best of luck!

      • Your chocolate idea sounds perfect. I will be sure to have a supply of it, along with a nice cup of tea, as I read. Looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds! 🙂

  2. Oh poor Darcy!!! I can’t wait to read how you will bring ODC together. 🙂 How could Elizabeth accept the Colonel? Poor Darcy.
    And thanks for the giveaway!

    • Thanks so much for the comment and your interest, Daniela. I thought she might say yes because they’re so very similar and the Colonel is so utterly lovable. Which makes it even more unfair that he should be at the losing end. But we can’t have it any other way 🙂
      Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

  3. I read Pride and Proposals a few months ago, which had a similar thread in that Elizabeth becomes engaged to the Colonel. But in that one they ended up killing off the Colonel in order for Darcy and Elizabeth to get together. I hope you have a happy ending in store for the Colonel, because he is definitely my favorite character after our hero and heroine!

    • Same here, Cheryl, Colonel Fitzwilliam is my favourite character after Darcy and Elizabeth. He’s such a sweetie!! In fact, more often than not he’s even nicer than his cousin, at least until Darcy sees the light and gives up his arrogance and pride. I loved ‘Pride and Proposals’, there was SO much emotion and unexpected twists, but my story was set to go in a different direction. I love the Colonel too much and I do want him to be happy. Thanks for taking part in the giveaway and best of luck!

  4. I am so looking forward to reading your new story! I have read all of your other books and this looks like it may be your best one yet! Anxiously awaiting September 23.

  5. Oh no!!! I can’t bear the thought of Elizabeth with anyone but Darcy. What was she thinking? I really hope he doesn’t have to suffer right to the end of the book as I am not sure I could last out. I love your books but can’t believe you had the idea to torture Darcy so close to Pemberley! I have no objections to the Colonel marrying Jane and would like him to be happy just not with Elizabeth. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • 😀 😀 ‘can’t believe you had the idea to torture Darcy so close to Pemberley!’
      It must have been the low oxygen in the mountain air 😀 Or maybe the lime-and-soda.

      No, don’t worry, I couldn’t bear to have Darcy suffer right to the end of the book either. I love reading angst stories, but I need some happiness at the end, rather than just a page or two of it, after Elizabeth finally accepts him, so I imagined other people might feel the same.

      And LOL ‘What was she thinking?’ What can I say, Glynis? 😉 Darcy was a misery-guts at Rosings, always cold and reserved, whereas the Colonel was, as usual, an absolute sweetie. But you’re so right, we can’t have Elizabeth with anyone but Darcy. Not in the long run anyway.

      Thanks for the lovely comment and good luck in the giveaway!

  6. Uh oh!

    Oh Joana, I hate these kinds of plots. I’ve read so many of them, and the poor Colonel always gets the shaft! He dies of illness, and in war, he gets jilted, cheated upon, he kills himself in despair. And it’s like you said: he’s so close to Darcy, that it’s painful to see bad things happen to him. I’ve read other love-triangle books, too, where the other (newly introduced to us) guy has genuine feelings for Lizzy, and he gets let down. I always feel so badly for their broken hearts. Regarding the promise of your book, other commenters have said exactly what I feel: “Not sure if I can stand it!!!”; “Can I bear the angst?”; “…this may be a book that I read through the gaps between the fingers that are covering my eyes”…. The worst part is that now that you’ve put this book out there, I HAVE to read it!

    So yes, I will read it. And knowing you, I’ll love it, too. But when I’m done, I know that I’m going to be exhausted!

    • Ooooops!

      Sorry to be doing this to you, Ginna!! And to the poor lovely Colonel Fitzwilliam too. Even when the love triangle doesn’t involve a 3rd whom we love so much, it’s always sad to think of the one left out in the cold, while the hero and heroine dash off to be happy. I tried to make it up to him though, as much as possible, I promise! So maybe it won’t be so very bad if you read it through the gap between your fingers (I loved that in Gail’s comment 😀 ). Thanks for the lovely message and for your support!

  7. Poor Darcy!!! I already have the stomach in a knot! Please enter me and I hope I win so I can relax again!

    Or maybe I will have so much work that I will be able to buy it soon… one can hope!

    • Thanks for taking part in the giveaway and the very best of luck. Hope you win a copy, so that your poor stomach can feel better!!
      Lovely to see you here, thanks for visiting.

    • It was a scary premise, Mary, it really was. So much so that I thought I couldn’t bear to write it. I’m so glad I did though, to see such wonderful interest and support. Many thanks, much appreciated!

  8. I always know a book by Joana Starnes is top quality, so I’m really anticipating this one. Love the situation she’s put poor Darcy in, but I’m rooting for a happy ending for EVERYONE (including the Colonel).

    • Thank you SO MUCH for the wonderful words, Debbie, you’re so very kind! I do hope you’ll enjoy it. You’re so right, the dear dear Colonel deserves a happy-ever-after too, not just Elizabeth and Darcy, he’s too good to be left suffering!

  9. I’m intrigued. I suppose it could have hapiened. I am wondering about the issue of the Colonel’s need to marry a woman of fortune. That would need to be explained. Also, Elizabeth stated that only the deepest love would induce her in to Matrimony. I actually believe that is from the movie and not the actual book, but the sentiment is correct. I do not think she would have given her heart lightly to the Colonel and so am puzzled as to how she could cease loving him and transfer her affection to another.

    • So glad to hear you fund the premise intriguing, Lisa! Everything you say is absolutely true, and I hope you’ll like how the story unfolds. Looking forward to hearing your opinion once you read it! Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part.

  10. Brilliant idea! Joana, you’re right of course, next to Darcy the Colonel is my favourite. Always the groomsman, never the groom. I have loved all your stories and look forward to this one with bated breath. Roll on 23 September! (and yay for an international giveaway!)

    • ‘Always the groomsman, never the groom’ – what a sweet way to put it! Thanks ever so much for your kind words about my books, I’m so happy you liked them. Hope you’ll like this one too. Thanks for taking part in the giveaway 🙂

  11. Can I bear the angst? Of course I can! I can’t wait for this one, Joana! I just finished reading “From This Day Forward” last week and loved it. I know you’ll be good to our favorite couple. 🙂

    • You’re so kind, Pam!! I do hope you’ll like it. Actually, this book was partly meant as a flip-side to ‘From This Day Forward’ (you’ll see where and why). I thought that maybe the dear Colonel deserved to be on the winning side for a while, and Darcy to take his place in the misery-corner 🙂 Thanks so much for your confidence and support, that means an awful lot to me!

  12. I don’t know if I can take it. Now if the Col was not really in love with her and was in the triangle to get Darcy to make a move I wouldn’t mind but it doesn’t sound that way from what is being said. I too am afraid of having the Col. hurt. Of course, if you painted him as a jerk I wouldn’t mind, except that it is hard for me to see the Col. as a jerk. Any chance he might fall in love with Jane??? I suppose not since he is adventurous and so is Lizzy. Oh what a mess. My speculations are getting out of hand. This is going to be a tough one. At any rate, good luck with your new publication.

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Jen! I loved your speculations, so many possibilities. No, don’t worry, I won’t make the dear Colonel a jerk, that would have taken too great an effort of imagination 😀 Hope you’ll like the way the story unfolds. I tried very hard to keep them all faithful to my understanding of their character, and I hope I didn’t stray too far from the believable. Looking forward to hearing what you think once you read it (if you can bear to, that is 😀 )
      Hugs and thanks for popping by.

  13. I can sense Darcy’s anguish in the quotes. He was too late to declare himself, but how can he turn Elizabeth towards him and away from the Colonel when Elizabeth is also an honorable woman. How will you resolve this triangle? I have loved your previous books and look forward to reading this new one. Thank you for the giveaway. evamedmonds(at)gmail(dot)com

    • He’s in for a rough ride, poor man 🙂 Still, I was so keen that this book shouldn’t be just about Darcy’s painful introspection (we can’t bear that any more than he) so hopefully you might like the twists along the way. Thanks ever so much for your kind words about my other books, I’m so happy that you enjoyed reading them! Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part.

  14. I can’t wait to see how you he them out of this muddle. Very exciting. I do hope the good Colonel isn’t killed off…

  15. Why do I think I am not going to like what happens to the poor Colonel – loved all your books so far so i can’t wait to read this one

    meikleblog at gmail dot com

    • I tried to be kind, I did!!! Hope you’ll agree when you get to read it. Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by, great to see you. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

  16. Please, PLEASE, I hope you’ve let the colonel down easily in the end, because darcy HAS to have Elizabeth! But, next to Darcy, I love the Colonel absolutely the most! The teasing & bantering between these two close cousins is THE BEST and makes all P&P variations/sequels, etc. better reads.

    • I do, Ann, I PROMISE!!!! Same as you, I love him the most after Darcy and, while I can’t bear to let him win the girl while Darcy disappears to suffer in the shadows, I can’t be too cruel on the dear adorable Colonel either!

      Sorry about the spoiler (if it is a spoiler) but you said ‘please, PLEASE’ and I just HAD to write back with some reassurance 😀
      Thanks for your lovely comment, have a great day and don’t worry about the dear Colonel, he’ll be fine. Scouts’ honour!!

      • Oh, wonderful! Thank you! Now I can relax a LITTLE, but I’m still “on pins & needles” till your book is actually out and I can dive into it! Like everyone else is saying, it’ll be terribly hard to watch Darcy suffer, but I know from your other books, it will be a wonderful read!

    • The Colonel really is SO sweet! Not Bingley-sweet, so much better actually. Mature, sensible, kind, so much like Elizabeth in everything that matters. They would do very well together, the Colonel and Elizabeth, if it wasn’t for the fact that we simply couldn’t bear to see Darcy live through the utter hell of having Elizabeth for a cousin 🙂

  17. Oh, dear. Unthinkable is correct. I think this may be a book that I read through the gaps between the fingers that are covering my eyes.

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