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Monday, 28 August 2017

Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future by Sharon Lathan - Guest Post and Giveaway

Book Cover: Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future by Sharon Lathan
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Sharon Lathan to the blog for her first visit here. Sharon has recently released a new book which is the second in a duo of prequels to her Darcy Saga series. Sharon has brought us a guest post on marriage in England in Regency times, plus an excerpt from Hope of the Future and an ebook giveaway for two lucky commenters here. Read on for more details!

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Book Cover: Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship by Sharon Lathan
Legalities of Marriage in England During the Regency

Before I launch into my mini-history lesson, I must extend my thanks to Ceri for honoring me with a guest spot on her blog. It is wonderful to be given an opportunity to share the news of my latest novel, Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. This is the second book in the two-volume Darcy Saga Prequel Duo, which began with Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. In a departure from my Darcy Saga sequel series, rather than moving forward with the married life of Darcy and Elizabeth, I stepped into the past (so to speak) to cover the courtship. With this in mind, I thought I would share a bit of history.

It is true that for several decades leading up to the Regency period, marriage for the upper classes had evolved. No longer was it strictly a business and social-standing arrangement. Equally important, if not more so in some cases, were the desires of the heart, reciprocated love, and personal choice between the two people involved. Yet even with this new-found romanticism and belief that mutual affection would result in a happier marriage, practicality remained a driving force. Therefore, while arranged marriages fell out of style, parental and familial influence, and the legalities of a union, held firm.

Until 1753, the requirements for a legal English marriage were 1) that the groom was at least fourteen and the bride twelve, 2) two witnesses were present, 3) that the two individuals exchanged words of willing consent to the marriage, and 4) that the vows were said in the present tense. No license, reading of banns, or even parental consent was necessary.

In an effort to curtail the plethora of rash unions, England passed the Marriage Act of 1753. Thereafter, both the man and woman were required to have parental permission if they were under twenty-one years of age. Interestingly, after 1823 the minimum age to marry without a parent’s consent dropped back to the previous fourteen and twelve age limits.

For our purposes of the Regency Era, step one, especially if either were under twenty-one, was gaining parental permission. Right away you can see that while the lovers’ wishes were important, if either were deemed too young to make a sound choice, a wiser parent could exert their control.

Permission to wed would initially be verbal consent from the father, preferably, and/or the mother.
Next came the nitty-gritty of the “settlement” documents. These were actual legal papers, drawn up by lawyers with input from the groom and the bride-to-be’s legal guardian (the father, in most instances).

Covered in the settlement contract:

  • Dowry – Daughters of wealthy families had a specific dowry amount set aside for them. This may include a portion of the dowry her mother brought to the marriage. The dowry was an amount well known, such financial matters expected to play a role in why a woman was chosen as a wife.
  • Pin Money – An annual allowance allotted to the wife for her personal needs during her husband’s lifetime.
  • Children – Some settlements detailed specific provisions for future children, such as a base dowry amount for any daughters or a monetary inheritance for sons beside the heir.
  • Death – Details were specified for after the husband’s death, this called the “jointure.” This may include where the wife could live, if any properties were to be given to her or made available, the jewels she could keep, an annual allowance, provisions for minor children, and so on.

It is important to note that everything a woman brought into the marriage became the possession of her husband. EVERYTHING. Women in the Regency had few individual rights. Whether married or a life-long spinster, except in rare instances a woman could not own land or a house, and could not control her own finances. A married woman was ensured a measure of security that an unmarried woman, even if supported by male relatives (think Jane Austen) simply did not have. Therefore, when it came to arranging the legal aspects of a marriage, it was imperative for the lady’s family, or the woman herself if older, to negotiate the best possible financial future. Binding it in a legal settlement was imperative for her future, and that of her children.

Of course, we know that Mr. Darcy provided well for Elizabeth! He is just that awesome of a fella! Now for a short excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future. This snippet lightly touches upon the above topics. The scene is a confrontation between Mr. Darcy and his uncle, the Earl of Matlock. Enjoy!

Book Cover: Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future by Sharon Lathan
Excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future —

“While my curiosity remains as to how Miss Bennet went from hating you to accepting the second proposal, I know you well enough to conclude it shall stay a mystery.”

When Darcy ignored his uncle’s pleading expression, the earl laughed resignedly.

“As I thought. Very well then. I am appeased that your relationship with Miss Bennet is genuine. Perhaps this will surprise you, William, but this troubled me more than the rest. I want you to know”—the earl shifted in his chair and cleared his throat, eyes sliding away from Darcy’s face to focus on the fire—“that my affection for you is also genuine. In large part due to James, who was a brother to me, but equally because of who you are…as a person. When James…died, I keenly felt it was my duty to…I guess watch over you is the best way to put it. Be a mentor or guide or perhaps simply a respected friend—whatever else you needed from me. You see, your happiness and well-being, and Georgiana’s, are of paramount importance to me…to us. Your aunt’s sentiments are as intense. As she delights in pointing out to me, she is far better at expressing them.”

Of that there can be no argument, Darcy thought as he felt his lips twitch in a fight not to smile or laugh. His uncle’s commentary, mumbled at points and laced with contemplative lulls, was as amusing as it was informative.

As a startling aside, amid this supremely bizarre and awkward discourse, was Darcy’s epiphany that he was like his uncle in many personality traits. He always presumed his aloof, introverted attributes—alien to both his parents—were inherited from his grandfather. Now he gleaned that the genesis likely filtered down from both sides of his family. A double punch!

“I said all of that drivel, badly as it was delivered,” Lord Matlock continued in a firmer tone, “was an effort to convey that while I freely admit my choice for you would be a lady of elevated station, wealth, education, and so on, I do not discount the importance of affection. Love, that sentiment lacking in most marriages, is the best formula for success.”

Lifting his glass in a casual toast, which Darcy returned, the earl tossed back the last swallow.

Looking at the glass and then the decanter, he hesitated. Then, mumbling “What the hell,” he poured a generous amount into the empty glass, topping off Darcy’s right after.

“For that reason, I never gave my full approval to Catherine concerning you and Anne. In fact, you may not know this, but I agreed with James when, long ago, she first brought up the idea of a union. God, I think you two were still in diapers!” He laughed wistfully. “I remember James laughing, almost hysterically. Then he realized she was deadly serious, even wanting documents drawn up. I’d rarely seen James so angry. Your poor mother was trying to play peacemaker between sister and husband, with no luck, so I stepped in. Forcefully. It was months, maybe a year and a bit, since inheriting my title, so I didn’t carry much clout in her eyes. She did let the matter drop though, for years.” He shrugged, then his eyes widened. “Come to think of it, Sir Lewis was there! He always could handle Catherine in ways we never comprehended. Ha! Yes, that must have been it.”

“Thanks for whatever persuasion you, Sir Lewis, and my father managed at that time. Unfortunately, she did not let the topic drop forever.”

“Indeed. Which is why we are sitting here, isn’t it?” Lord Matlock directed his authoritative gaze toward Darcy, once again all business. When Darcy did not answer, the earl resumed. “I am pleased you have found a woman who loves you, William. I do not have tremendous issue with her modest means, informal education, and whatever social skills and status she lacks. I trust you, and Richard as well. Additionally, I know very well what my sister is trying to do. The truth is, her verbiage in describing Miss Bennet was too outrageous. No one as awful as she depicted could have ensnared someone like you, not even with the aid of a gypsy or druid witch. Keep the lie simple is a principle Catherine never understood.”

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Book Description

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future (Darcy Saga Prequel Book #2) by Sharon Lathan
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet will soon be joined in Holy Matrimony!

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?

Continue the journey begun in Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. 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.

Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is Volume 2 of the “prequel duo” for Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga sequel series to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Purchasing links
• Amazon Kindle and Print • Barnes & Noble Nook and Print • Kobo digital • iBooks digital

Author Sharon Lathan
Sharon Lathan bio—

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—
Website/blog: www.SharonLathanAuthor.com
Facebook at Sharon Lathan, Novelist
Twitter @SharonLathan
Pinterest  SharonLathan62

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Giveaway time!

Book Cover: Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future by Sharon Lathan
Sharon is very kindly offering to give away an ebook of Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future to two commenters here. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post by the end of the day on Sunday 3 September. This giveaway is open to international entrants. To ensure that you can claim your prize, please ensure that you leave a way for me to contact you. Thank you so much to Sharon for not only the informative guest post, but also the giveaway.

48 comments:

  1. I loved this excerpt. After I got the first book, I heard there would be a second. I've waited so I could read them together. I am looking forward to a Lathan marathon where I can read both. Blessings on the launch.

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    1. A "Lathan Marathon" is a great idea! Happy reading, J. W. and thanks SO much for stopping by! :-)

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    2. It must have taken some self control to wait, Jeanne! Well done you!

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  2. Sharon's writing is fantastic. It is very fulfilling to have so much more to the story for all of the Pride and Prejudice characters.

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    1. Thank you for the lovely words of praise, Samantha! I truly appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers! Sharon

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    2. Hi Samantha. Thanks for commenting, it must be wonderful for an author to read comments like that :)

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  3. Thank you for the somewhat unsettling information on Regency marriage. I'm so glad we've come as far as we have in the last 200 years.

    Interesting excerpt. It seems less a confrontation between Darcy and the Earl than a very awkward conversation, especially for the Earl. He does seem quite reasonable in his acceptance of Darcy's choice, and I enjoyed reading the scene about the actual confrontation between Darcy's father and Lady Catherine over the issue of the supposed "cradle betrothal," or in this scene, "nappy betrothal." It's so often alluded to in P+P fiction, but I've never read anything about what supposedly happened. I'm looking forward to reading both volumes of this prequel series.

    Please enter me into the giveaway.

    50of47
    flo123(at)usa(dot)com.

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    1. "Nappy betrothal" That is fabulous! LOL!

      Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. This excerpt is, of course, only a portion of the whole scene. His Lordship does interrogate to a degree. But, yes, he is reasonable compared to his sister Lady C!

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the post. I was surprised about the change in ages for consenting to marriage. I knew from Regency novels that I'd read that you had to be 21 to marry without parental consent but not that it went down again afterwards. These days you have to be 18 to consent but I don't know when it changed.

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  4. Hi Ceri,

    What an interesting excerpt! Was expecting a sharp exchange of words with Darcy defending his choice of bride and the Earl famously discounting the myriad reasons for this 'disastrous' choice!
    But I was wrong on all counts! Instead we are privy to the Earl's understanding attitude to Darcy's rush to marry for love!
    He happily disparages Lady C.'s infant betrothal and seems ready,willing and able to further defend Lizzy in society's eyes,should the need arise!

    Thanks to all concerned for this snippet. Looking forward to reading this book.
    Best of luck with it,Sharon.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Glad you stopped by. The Lord of Matlock, as I have written him, is much more understanding and kind than his sister. Still, he does question Darcy a bit harshly in the beginning. Luckily Mr. Darcy knows how to stand firm! :-)

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    2. Hi there Mary. Glad you enjoyed the excerpt. I wondered if Darcy would have a mountain to climb with getting this relative on side too.

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  5. I enjoyed the birthday party that Elizabeth arranged for Darcy in the book. Darcy playing charades! Who would think it possible?

    As Sharon and I are "partners in crime," there is no need to include me in the giveaway. I just wanted to wish her well.

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    1. Hey! Shh... trying to keep the "crime" part on the downlow...

      LOL! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. Indeed, the visual of Mr. Darcy playing charades is fun, isn't it? :-)

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    2. Thank you so much for stopping by Regina!

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  6. I love the excerpt and am especially enjoying the posts about the era. Thank you. Please do not enter me as I already have the ebook and am at the halfway point.

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    1. Thanks Deborah Ann! I seem to be writing on a theme, don't I? I suppose it makes sense. LOL! Thanks for stopping by. Cheers!

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    2. I love learning more about the era too, Debbie, it helps me put it all in context :)

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  7. I look forward to reading this book for I know it will be just as wonderful as all of Sharon's books. She was one of the first JAFF authors I read and is partly responsible for my foray into writing, so she holds a special place in my heart. I have the book do don't include me in the contest. :)

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    1. Hello my friend!!! Thanks for stopping by, and for your lovely sentiments. If I had even the tiniest part in inspiring you to write, I am deeply honored and thankful. The JAFF world is improved with your fabulous writing. Keep it up! Love ya, Sharon

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    2. That's a wonderful tribute, thank you for sharing it, Brenda! I hope you enjoy this book as much as you have other books by Sharon :)

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  8. Wonderful excerpt. I look forward to reading.

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    1. Cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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    2. Hi Becky!! So glad you stopped by!!!

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    3. Hi Becky. I hope you enjoy the book when you read it. Good luck in the giveaway.

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  9. Ceri! It's wonderful to see you featuring Sharon and her new books her. I have loved the series and look forward to reading the duo. No need to include me in the drawing as I already have the eBooks. Thanks ladies, and Sharon I hope to see more from you in the near future. Jen Red

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    1. I am SO thankful for Ceri, and the other wonderful bloggers, who share their space with authors. It is a true blessing.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jen, and thanks for buying my novels. XO Sharon

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    2. Hi Jen, I am very pleased to have Sharon come to visit, it's been lovely to host her. I hope you enjoy the prequel duo as much as you have the rest of the series :)

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  10. The guest post was very informative and well explained, Sharon. I love reading the historical aspect of Regency marriage in England. I like that you highlight Darcy and the earl's interaction.

    evangelineace2020(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. I learned something new from Sharon's post and very much enjoyed it, so I am glad you did too! Good luck in the giveaway :)

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  11. Thanks for the information about marriages. I am always looking for historical information pertaining to this period in history. Also, thank you for offering a giveaway.

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    1. Hi Debra! Glad you saw the link and stopped by. I am happy to help where I can :-) All the research pays off in a variety of ways. LOL!

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    2. Hi Debra. Glad you enjoyed the post :)

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  12. Love the excerpt. I forgot how much I liked the Earl and the Countess in this saga. Can't wait to read part two of of the prequel.

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    1. Hi Dung. I hope you enjoy this book too when you read it :)

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  13. I can only shiver in horror at who I might have been forced to marry 200 years ago. eww. Thank you for sharing and looking forward to reading the second part.

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    1. That is so very true, Linda. We are much more fortunate to be sure. Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. We certainly have more choice now Linda, it's certainly one of the benefits of living now.

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  14. I had no idea about the changes in the age minimums for marrying without parental consent. I like the additional of the historical content.

    Congratulations on the book release!
    NovEllaandBanannabelle(at)Gmail(dot)com

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    1. That was something I learned too, NovElla!

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  15. I love Mr. Darcy and the psychology that Sharon writes to expand on his thoughts.

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    1. Glad to hear it, Samantha. I hope you enjoy this book when you read it :)

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    1. I hope you enjoy the book, Jeannie. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  17. Thank you for all this - the information on marriages, the excerpt, and the chance at the book. I thought I knew all about the intricacies of marriages then, and I even wrote a pamphlet about Regency weddings, but you have furthered my education.
    Of the choices given for commenting, I only have access to 'Anonymous', but I'm Beatrice and my email is
    Beatriceyn ( at ) yahoo (dot)com.

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    1. Hi Beatrice. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for commenting and good luck with the giveaway.

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    2. Hi Beatrice! How cool that I added on some new information. That is the joy of delving into history, IMO. You always learn something new. Thanks for coming by. :-)

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  18. Thanks for sharing. I hope to read this some day.

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