Avoiding the truth does not change the truth
When Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Miss Elizabeth Bennet he has no idea that she — that indeed, the entire town of Meryton — harbors a secret. Miss Elizabeth, a simply country girl from a humble estate, manages to capture first his fascination and then his heart without him ever knowing the truth of her past.
When she meets Darcy, Elizabeth had spent the two years prior hiding from the men who killed her beloved first husband. Feeling herself destroyed by love, Elizabeth has no intention of loving again, certainly not with the haughty man who could do nothing but offend her in Hertfordshire.
In London, Elizabeth surprises herself by finding in Darcy a friend; even greater is her surprise to find herself gradually coming to love him and even accepting an offer of marriage from him. Newly married, they are just beginning to settle into their happily ever after when a condemned man on his way to the gallows divulges a shattering truth, a secret that contradicts everything Elizabeth thought she knew about the tragic circumstances of her first marriage. Against the advice of everyone who loves her, including Darcy, Elizabeth begins to ask questions. But will what they learn destroy them both?
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Doesn't this sound like an exciting read?! As is indicated in the blurb, when Darcy and Elizabeth first meet he has no idea who she is. As in canon, his first impressions of her are speedily overturned as he begins to feel attracted to her, but by then he has managed to make a first impression of his own, a very bad one! One of Darcy's aunts has made it her mission to find Elizabeth a second husband and had thought that the two of them would make a good match, therefore, she is unhappy to find what a mess he has made of things and in this vignette, takes him to task. I will hand over to Amy:
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In most Austenesque tales, there is some sort of an argument between Darcy and Elizabeth which leads to Darcy’s recognition of his past errors and the change in his attitudes and perceptions. In this story, however, it is his aunt who takes him to task for his behavior in Hertfordshire. She has been hoping to create a match between Darcy and Elizabeth, only to find out from Elizabeth that it is quite impossible due to their past interactions in Meryton. Needless to say, she is quite displeased.
This is a bit that didn’t make it into the actual story, but if it had, it would be at the beginning of chapter 11.
Lady Matlock’s Conversation with Darcy on the Morning After the Opera
Lady Matlock entered Darcy’s breakfast room in a whirl of skirts and agitation. “Darcy, what have you done, foolish boy?”
“What?” Darcy stared at her. “I… nothing. What do you mean?”
She carefully took a seat beside him. She clasped her hands together in her lap and took a few deep breaths and at last began to speak.
“When your mother died, I swore that I would provide you what guidance I could, particularly in areas where gentlemen sometimes falter, such as romance. I hoped that one day you would honour me and seek my advice on your choice of a wife so naturally I was delighted on receipt of your letter this autumn, seeking my counsel.”
She smiled, with a tight, trying-to-be-patient sort of countenance. “Lady Courtenay came immediately to my mind. Having known her as I have since the loss of her husband, I am certain she is a perfect match for you, and not because of fortune or station. Her wit, her humour, and her temper — I daresay you will not find one so perfectly suited to you. And so beautiful too!”
Darcy smiled. “I could not agree more.”
“Then perhaps you might tell me why it is you chose to offend her in every possible way. You behaved like some arrogant, high in the instep sort of bounder! If nothing else, I always believed you would act in a gentleman-like manner! I am mightily displeased!”
Saye began to chuckle, amused to see his cousin upbraided by his mother, but his mother shot him a look that would boil water, and he stopped. Seeing Darcy’s paper close by, he picked it up and buried himself behind it but Darcy knew well he was likely all attentiveness.
Feeling uncommonly agitated, Darcy said, “Is this about the assembly? I apologised to her for that.”
Saye quickly lowered the paper. “What did you do?”
Fitzwilliam, thinking he could be clandestine, muttered, “Said she was not handsome enough to tempt him ... refused to stand up with her.” Saye pulled the paper close to his face to silence his gasp of laughter.
“In a public place?” It was as close to shrieking as her ladyship would permit herself. “Elizabeth told me nothing of that. How much offence is there to hear of?”
Very unwillingly, Darcy explained his insult at the Meryton assembly to his aunt. Lady Matlock bore it calmly, only wincing slightly at “... slighted by other men.”
Uncertain what she already knew, Darcy confessed, reluctantly, to his ill-conceived and mad accusation of a liaison with her footman.
“You might have ruined her reputation had anyone heard you!”
“I know,” Darcy said hastily. “It was presumptuous and foolish. Would that I could take it back!”
Here Fitzwilliam spoke, a despicable look of innocent helpfulness on his face, “At least she cannot know that you thought the same of she and me, the night of Bingley’s ball. You may count on my discretion cousin, I assure you.” Fitzwilliam then sat there, complacent guilelessness gracing his countenance while Darcy shot him a murderous glare.
“You did not! -- Darcy!” Lady Matlock was aghast. “I am shocked, indeed shocked, that she did not simply walk up and slap you! I cannot imagine what possessed you to behave in such a manner, but indeed, her opinion of you is well founded. Accusing her of liaisons, insulting her in public, eavesdropping on her conversations and engaging her in arguments. I can scarcely believe my nephew would act thusly.”
Faced with such a recounting, Darcy felt the weight of his misconduct rather keenly. “I fear my suit might be rather unwelcome.
“Your suit? From this recitation, I do not think she would receive you in her home. I am amazed by how kindly she greeted you!”
Looking down at the empty plate before him, Darcy muttered, “... and that is why I love her because of her goodness.”
“You cannot possibly think you love her,” Lady Matlock chastised him.
“Yes, I do,” Darcy said with a sigh. “My sensibilities turned me about and rendered me stupid. Having never experienced such a thing, I did not manage it well and found myself acting irrationally and fitfully. My heart became my enemy, provoking me into this poor behaviour. I am ashamed, indeed ashamed that I have so offended her but do not think I acted from spite or malice —only foolishness and an excess of sentiment.”
“It is true Mother,” said Saye. “He told me of it in January, an attachment to some girl in the country. I advised him not to speak of it with you ... from her description, I could only conclude the lady was unsuitable.”
A light of pity came into Lady Matlock’s eyes. “Very well then; I must presume you will learn from this series of mistakes. I know you could be an excellent husband for Elizabeth, else I never should have forwarded you to her in the first place. Know that there are many others — your uncle has a whole list of worthy suitors for her.”
“He does?” All three gentlemen exclaimed in astonishment.
She waved her hand impatiently. “His lordship is a methodical man, and he wished to help our dear girl as best he could. In any case, we chose you. I want her to be a part of this family, and I am not about to have your poor behaviour in Hertfordshire stand in the way of that.
“You will go to her, and you will make amends. Apologise, humble yourself and explain that you are not the insufferable prig you appeared to be before. Fix this Darcy. I mean it.”
“Start by apologising again, and then do whatever you can to earn her good opinion. Anything it takes.”
“But is it possible to change her opinion of me?”
Lady Matlock sighed. “I do not know, but you must try. The pair of you could have much happiness together, and I put it in your hands to show her that.”
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Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh PA.
She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.
The ebook is already available on Amazon, with a paperback due to follow in few weeks - Amazon US / UK.
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Blog Tour Schedule
As you can see below, there are lots more blog stops to learn more about Amy D'Orazio, 'The Best Part of Love' and more chances to win a copy for yourself.
6 Jan My Jane Austen Book Club
7 Jan Just Jane 1813
8 Jan Babblings of a Bookworm
9 Jan Every Savage Can Dance
10 Jan Tomorrow is Another Day
11 Jan Savvy Verse & Wit; Character Interview, Giveaway
12 Jan Half Agony, Half Hope
13 Jan Austenesque Reviews
14 Jan Darcyholic Diversions
15 Jan Delighted Reader; Review
16 Jan From Pemberley to Milton
18 Jan Obsessed with Mr. Darcy
20 Jan Diary of an Eccentric
21 Jan More Agreeably Engaged