Today the delightful Sharon Lathan is visiting to share her new book, Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future, the second of two prequel books to her wonderful Darcy Saga! It has been five years since she last stopped by (see here), so it is awesome to be hosting her again. Enjoy her guest post and an excerpt from Hope of the Future, then enter to win an e-book!
First and foremost, I must thank Lieder for hosting me on her blog today. It is a pleasure to be here sharing my latest novel with the Songs and Stories readers.
Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future was released on August 8 and is the second book in the two-volume Darcy Saga Prequel Duo, smoothly continuing where the first volume—Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship—left off. These two novels perfectly fit with my Darcy Saga Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, the entire series now including nine lengthy novels and one novella.
Before I dive in to the specifics, let me clear up any confusion on the series names I’ve assigned.
My original sequel series began on Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s wedding day . . . or rather on their wedding night, as my debut novel—Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, published way back in March of 2009—skipped over the wedding ceremony itself. The opening scene was the newlyweds in a traveling carriage minutes before arriving at their honeymoon destination. The subsequent five novels of The Darcy Saga Sequel moved onward in time, covering roughly five years and the birth of their first two children. My one novella—A Darcy Christmas—presented glimpses of the Darcys far into their future through a sequence of vignettes.
Then, in two companion novels, I turned the focus on two beloved secondary characters. Miss Darcy Falls in Love is Georgiana Darcy’s love story, a music-themed romance set in post-Napoleonic Paris. The Passions of Dr. Darcy is the story of Mr. Darcy’s Uncle George (a character wholly of my creating). In an epic tale set primarily in India and spanning over thirty years, I explored the broad ranging Darcy family, including precious moments of Mr. Darcy from infancy to adulthood.
At the completion of George’s incredible tale, I inexplicably heard my handsome muse urging me to backtrack to the betrothal months I had skipped over. I’m honestly not 100% sure why I was lead in this direction. In part, I believe it was delving into the “past” generations of Darcys as I had extensively done when writing George Darcy’s saga. Another way to state it is that the entire clan had burrowed into my heart, so many of them begging to have their voices heard. In fact, this journey back in time aided me tremendously.
After spending years writing into the future of the Darcys—and their friends and family—flashing back to the engagement months was odd to a degree, but not as much as it probably would have been if not for having done so for Dr. Darcy. Picking up bits and pieces from the past had grown natural. As I continued to expand upon the Darcy family ancestry and the personalities of characters long since deceased by the time of Pride and Prejudice, the desire to complete the arc for the two central characters felt necessary. Leaving the two months between Mr. Darcy’s second, successful marriage proposal and the honeymoon a mystery haunted me as a glaring gap.
The result is the “prequel to the sequel” a two-volume set! For more information about all of my novels, please visit my website. Read on for the backcover blurb and synopsis for each novel of the
Darcy Saga Prequel Duo.
by Sharon Lathan
Accepting a marriage proposal is only the beginning.
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are betrothed! How did Lady Catherine restore Mr. Darcy’s hope to prompt his second proposal? Did Caroline Bingley yield gracefully? Were the Bennets and Meryton citizens approving?
Readers of The Darcy Saga have shared in the romance, life, and marital escapades of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Now the “prequel to the sequel” recounts the weeks in between as two new lovers prepare for happily ever after. Embark on the journey as Darcy and Elizabeth overcome the rocky past and discover the depth of their love. Delight in budding passion and sweet romance. Enjoy the wedding planning and adventures during the initial weeks of their engagement.
This novel begins with their chance encounter on a misty moor in Hertfordshire when Mr. Darcy proposed for the second time, and covers the first month of their engagement. Amongst the moments detailed in depth, we learn exactly what transpired when Lady Catherine de Bourgh told Mr. Darcy about her confrontation with Elizabeth. We join Lizzy as she discusses her choice of man with her father, and how the remaining members of her family take the news. We revisit scenes touched upon briefly in The Darcy Saga novels—such as the surprise meeting at Willow Bench—in greater depth. We dig inside the mind of Caroline Bingley, and how she plots to steal Darcy away.
Told from the point of view of both characters, discover how they grow to truly love and understand one another. Feel the awakening of new love and desire as they tentatively explore those feelings.
And, of course, we must not forget Mr. Bingley and Jane! The courtship period is not a boring one, to be sure, this novel ending on a dramatic note with a passionate exchange between our main two lovers while in London.
The initial month of their Season of Courtship has passed. Together, the lovers strengthened their bond through honest communication, as they dealt with adversity, jealousy, and distrust. Ever growing in mutual love and understanding, a dramatic confrontation broke through the final barriers.
Now their Hope of the Future “happily ever after” is assured! As long as Lady Catherine can be stopped in her scheme to interfere, that is. Or, will Mrs. Bennet’s bad advice ruin future marital felicity? Might increasing liberation lead to overwhelming passions that cannot be controlled, with catastrophe a result?
Amongst the moments detailed in depth, find out what Lady Catherine is plotting to thwart Darcy’s marriage, and what the consequences of her actions are. Travel with the two betrothed couples on an extensive tour of London, including lots of shopping! Watch Lizzy dazzle Darcy’s relatives, while also dealing with her fears and sadness over leaving the only home she has ever known.
Delight in the wedding plans which culminate, of course, in “the wedding of the year” in Hertfordshire! You are there, at the ceremony as the sacred vows bonding Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet are said.
This novel ends exactly where Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One begins: In a carriage with the newly married couple on their way to enjoy their honeymoon... and the rest of their "happily ever after" life!
by Sharon Lathan
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet will soon be joined in Holy Matrimony!
Delight in their flourishing romance, ride along on their escapades in London, and be a witness at the wedding of the century. The miraculous design of how Two Shall Become One begins before the sacred vows.
Continuing the tale precisely where Season of Courtship ended, discover how the relationship between the two lovers changed after their dramatic exchange at Darcy House in London. As they continue to fall deeper in love and more comfortable with each other, passionate desire escalates, leading to new trials to endure!
Excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future:
“You surprise me, Mr. Darcy.”
“In what way?”
“I would not have suspected you to be tolerant of anything less than strict discipline amongst your staff. I mean no offense yet must confess my image was of you as more controlling. Now I see clearer what Mrs. Reynolds meant in her exalting praise of you as a master.”
“She is a kind woman,” he replied in an embarrassed mumble. “No, I am not offended, my dear. I suppose if not for my grandfather I probably would be more controlling. His leadership style and belief were that, in general, servants and tenants want a master who sets the rules, listens to their concerns, assists when necessary, but otherwise leaves them alone to do their jobs. What do I know about being a butler? Or cook? Or farmer for that matter? Even in those areas I do have more knowledge, specifically our horses, I respect the experience of the grooms and breeders who live and breathe thoroughbreds. Hire capable people, my grandfather said, then you can sit back and relax. Not that he ever relaxed.”
“Nor do you, I suspect.”
He shrugged. “Too much relaxation makes one fat and dulls the wits. My expectations for my sex are more stringent than those for yours, if you can believe it.” Lizzy laughed as she nodded. “On the subject of accomplished women, did my sister perform brilliantly as hostess today?”
“Beyond brilliant.” Lizzy described their afternoon, up to and including Georgiana’s humorous remembrance of meeting Mr. Bingley for the first time. “She is a dear girl, William. Truly. I am grateful for today’s opportunity to know her better.”
“Georgie was nervous. We share the common flaw of not easily conversing with unfamiliar people. As you have wisely noted numerous times, practice is the key to improvement.” His salacious grin let her know he was not referring only to conversation. “This afternoon provided an opportunity for my sister, as well as for me.”
“I detected scant nervousness and conversation was never a problem.” Lizzy wisely left the kissing-practice reference alone. “My conclusion is that neither of you is as flawed as you think.”
“I will concede this is partially true. Except for when around beautiful women I want to impress.”
“Women?” She stressed the plural and raised one eyebrow.
“Yes, sadly. Although with you I was especially tongue-tied and horrid when I did speak.”
“Well, you are managing quite capably now, Mr. Darcy, and since you no longer need to impress other women, future interactions promise smoother sailing.”
If he discerned the sharp edge to her tone, he did not comment on it. Instead, he slapped one hand onto his thigh, declaring as he rose from the sofa, “Speaking of impressing people and ease in conversation, I have an invitation to share. My uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Matlock, are lately arrived in London and have expressed a desire to meet the woman who has captured my heart. They have invited us, and Mr. Bennet, of course, to dine with them tomorrow. They have a townhouse on Saint James’s Square…”
He rambled on, Lizzy watching him sift through several papers on his desk before selecting a folded foolscap with a broken wax seal. Presumably it was the invitation, but Lizzy’s attention wandered to the view of his backside, as it was the first time she’d seen it uncovered by his jacket.
She had never exhibited interest in a gentleman’s posterior and, like many revelations during the past weeks, was amazed how enticing the angle. Even as she lost herself in the emotions stirred by her fiancé’s masculine figure, an academic portion of her brain analyzed whether it was his form causing her heart to pound or merely maturity and awakening desires in a general sense.
Then he bent over to grab the ledger off the floor, the fabric tightening and outlining his firm buttocks and muscled back in a highly pleasant manner, and the answer was immediately clear. Realizing how ridiculous the question was in the first place, Lizzy nearly laughed aloud. She did not have to clinically line up a dozen jacketless men bending at the waist to know that none of them would affect her as William did.
The direction of her gaze did not shift speedily enough when he pivoted about, so her expression undoubtedly revealed at least a portion of her musings. Darcy’s commentary—which Lizzy had not heard a word of—faltered slightly and a faint rosiness spread across his cheeks. He said nothing about her intimate ogling, thankfully, handing the invitation to her while resuming his report.
Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, was published in 2009. Sharon’s series of “happily ever after” for the Darcys now totals nine full-length novels and one Christmas themed novella.
Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship and Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future complete the “prequel to the sequel” duo recounting the betrothal months before the Darcy Saga began.
Sharon is a native Californian relocated in 2013 to the green hills of Kentucky, where she resides with her husband of over thirty years. Retired from a thirty-year profession as a registered nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sharon is pursuing her dream as a full-time writer.
Sharon is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA Louisville, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Beau Monde chapter of the RWA, and serves as the website manager and on the board of the Louisville Romance Writers chapter of the RWA.
Sharon is the co-creator of Austen Authors, a group blog for authors of Austenesque literary fiction. Visit at: www.AustenAuthors.com
Connect with Sharon at the following places—