Good Afternoon everyone,
Today I am very pleased to bring to you an excerpt of The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy, not only because I liked it very much, but also because it is the first time I am welcoming its author, Christine Combe, at From Pemberley to Milton. I always love to get to know new authors and discover new books within the genre, so first visits are always very special to me, but I certainly hope this is not Ms. Combe’s last visit. In today’s blog tour stop you’ll be able to read part of chapter 4, and I hope you like it as well. If you’d like to read more, you can visit A Happy Assembley or check out the rest of the blog tour stops.
It was a pleasure to have you here, and I would like to wish you all the success with this new release Ms. Combe. Thank you for visiting and for giving readers a chance to win a copy of this book 😊
Greetings, fellow Austenians! I’m so excited to be visiting From Pemberley to Milton for the first time. Today I’m here to brag about my newest release, The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy.
In this new story, circumstances are vastly different for ODC: Elizabeth and her sisters are the daughters of a baronet, and Darcy has no fortune. But as always, the stars align and one of literature’s most beloved couples unite, determined to take on the world together!
In case you haven’t visited my blog or been following along as I posted the chapters at A Happy Assembly, here’s part of a scene in chapter 4:
Saturday, 16 February 1811
Sir Thomas was always a welcome visitor at Netherfield.
On this fine Saturday, Elizabeth thought him even more so than usual, for he claimed to have brought news of an estate that Jane might lease. The three sat down to tea accompanied by biscuits and cucumber sandwiches in the drawing room, and the baronet had consumed a little of each offering before withdrawing from an inner pocket of his jacket a folded piece of paper.
“I may have found an estate for you, Jane,” he said, repeating his statement made upon entering the house. “It is a little on the expensive side, as I understand it to be a large house, but there are multiple gardens, a shrubbery or two, and woods and groves enough to satisfy even Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for them.”
“Indeed, Father?” said Elizabeth. “I am intrigued, for you know I love a good walk.”
Her father chuckled. “Precisely my point,” said he, then he opened the letter he held. “I have here an offer from a peer—the Earl of Disley—who tells me of an estate in his keeping called Pemberley. It once belonged to his brother by marriage, who died going on five years ago, and shall be given over to his nephew in future. But at present, the earl has authority over the property and should like to see some life in it again, as it has stood empty since his brother’s passing.”
“Does Lord Disley know that your inquiry was on behalf of a young, widowed mother and her sister, sir?” asked Jane.
Sir Thomas nodded. “He does—you know I was clear in stating that this new place of residence was not for myself but a member of my family. Understanding that I enquired about available properties on behalf of a daughter, the earl desires to meet with me before discussing the matter further. I imagine he looks to assure himself that you have the capacity for running such a household.”
“Then would not meeting with Jane herself be more beneficial in assuring His Lordship of her ability to manage a household?” said Elizabeth with a scoff. “So typical that a man should not think a woman capable of speaking for herself.”
“Now Elizabeth, do not be so quick to judge,” her father admonished. “He is an earl, after all, and is likely to be a trifle mortified to have to let the property at all. No aristocrat I’ve had chance to meet in the last fifteen years has been comfortable in admitting he has not the finances to maintain his lifestyle, let alone his property. I suspect the leasing of this estate to aid him in paying off some debt or other.”
“Father,” said Jane, “whilst I am honored by the offer of a lease from a member of the nobility, and I certainly trust your judgment, I must say that I should like to see the place for myself before agreeing to any terms. After all, it is not you who will be paying the rent, and as such, I should like to judge with my own eyes rather than allowing others to judge it for me.”
“But of course, Jane,” Sir Thomas agreed. “I fully intend on both you and Elizabeth accompanying me to Derbyshire.”
“Derbyshire!” cried Elizabeth. “But that is where our aunt Gardiner is from!”
Her father smiled. “Indeed, my dear Lizzy, and both you and she will be pleased to know that the village of her youth is but five miles from the estate in question. She may even know some of the history of it and the family who lived there.”
Jane, while lowering her teacup to its saucer, looked to her father and said, “Have you spoken to Mamma about this offer?”
“Not as yet. I desired to present it to you first and know your feelings on the matter before saying anything to your good mother,” Sir Thomas replied. “I do not think, however, that she will continue her lengthy protestations once she learns from whence the offer originates.”
Elizabeth snorted over her teacup. “Indeed, Papa. Upon hearing that an actual earl has offered up an estate, she will no doubt insist we take him up on it, whatever his terms.”
“You said it was on the expensive side, Father,” said Jane then. “I will be able to afford the rent, I hope?” She still thought economically though she had little need now to be concerned about cost.
“Oh, of course—I should not even have mentioned it if I did not know you could, though it is more than the asking price for Netherfield’s lease before Bingley purchased the place. The earl asks eight hundred per annum—which, considering your income, is more than manageable. Game rights would be an extra charge, but you’ll have no need to concern yourself there. However…”
Here he paused and glanced at the letter again. “However, Lord Disley does state that there are many former staff members he would like to see employed again, should we agree to the terms.”
Jane nodded. “Oh, of course—I should be quite happy to employ local servants as needed, though I’ll certainly bring a few of the girls from here, as well as my maid and Margaret’s nurse.”
“If I may, I suggest you make one of the local girls a lady’s maid for Elizabeth,” said her father. “It would be a generous gesture and certainly will help in endearing you to the local populace.”
Elizabeth sighed. “Oh, to have my own maid… But Jane, as lovely as the idea is, I would not ask it of you.”
“Nonsense, Lizzy,” Jane protested. “Papa is right; it would be a very generous thing to do. Besides, as Mamma likes so much to remind us, you are a baronet’s daughter. It is expected that a young lady of your station should have a lady’s maid.”
“Listen to your sister’s sense, Elizabeth,” said Sir Thomas. “In truth, I should like to have afforded a maid for each of my girls—for you do deserve the luxury—but thought two between the five of you would suffice, especially with the added expense of a governess—the latter of which, you know, your mother insisted upon after our elevation. Heaven forbid that the daughters of a baronet be brought up without the aid of a governess.”
The last he said with a roll of his eyes, though Elizabeth suspected by his tone that the words were her mother’s and not his own. She could well imagine Lady Bennet—her head suddenly full of the self-importance that seemed to go hand-in-glove with rank—all but demanding such expense be paid. It was likely she would have desired each of her girls to have their own maid, for she certainly did, if only to maintain the appearance of greater wealth than her husband’s actual income.
Elizabeth laughed. “Very well, then. Whether at Pemberley or somewhere else, I shall be happy to accept a maid of my own.”
Later that evening, the sisters at Netherfield returned their father’s visit by taking dinner at Longbourn. It was during the meal that Sir Thomas announced to his wife he had received a reply to his inquiries for Jane’s quitting the neighborhood. Lady Bennet sniffed and lifted her nose in the air, declaring that she had no desire to hear of it as she still considered the scheme a foolhardy one.
Sir Thomas raised an eyebrow. “Do you mean to say I should not reply to the Earl of Disley?”
Lady Bennet’s mouth fell open. “E-Earl? Of Disley?” she stuttered, her gaze flicking between her husband and her eldest daughter. “An earl has answered your letter, Sir Thomas?”
“Oh, indeed, Lady Bennet,” he replied nonchalantly, producing the letter from his jacket pocket and holding it up. “The gentleman offers very good terms, though he desires to meet with me in person before accepting my application. However, if you do not think it acceptable, I am certain our daughter will defer to your judgment.”
Elizabeth suppressed the urge to laugh—her father so liked to bait his wife with such comments, knowing full well that the remark would grant him precisely the response he expected.
They were neither of them disappointed. Lady Bennet sputtered nonsensically for a full twenty seconds before declaring in a shrill voice, “Of course you should go! You cannot insult the Earl of Disley by not meeting with him!”
She looked to Jane then. “My dearest girl, you simply must agree to the terms! It is the property of an earl! He will surely call upon you, and he may have sons—oh, I hope he has single sons! I should very much like to see my daughter married to the heir of an earl… I say, even a younger son would do, for he is sure to be rich and you would still be so very highly connected and could introduce your sisters to other nobles and rich men!”
Yes, Mamma, Elizabeth thought with some amusement. That is precisely Jane’s hope—to seduce the Earl of Disley’s son, if he even has one, so that she may throw her sisters at his wealthy friends.
When Elizabeth Bennet moves with her widowed sister and niece to an estate in Derbyshire, she does not expect to find herself captivated by the mysterious steward of Pemberley. Though cautioned not to spend more time in his company than she ought, Elizabeth finds she cannot stay away from him.
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father lost half the family fortune to a pair of swindlers and the rest to gaming and investments that gave no returns. He knows he is no good for the daughter of a baronet, but he falls for the lively Elizabeth in spite of every reason he should not.
When the two determine their mutual attraction cannot be denied, Darcy decides to accept the challenge of re-entering society more for the sake of Elizabeth’s reputation than his own. Because both know it won’t be easy for him to regain the good opinion of the ton, Darcy goes to his noble relations to seek their assistance and Elizabeth joins him in London to support his efforts.
Of course, the expectation of whispers and snobbery is scant preparation for facing down the harshest critic of them all: one’s own family.
You can find The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
Christine, like many a JAFF author before her, is a long-time admirer of Jane Austen’s work, and she hopes that her alternate versions are as enjoyable as the originals. She has plans to one day visit England and take a tour of all the grand country estates which have featured in film adaptations, and often dreams of owning one. Christine lives in Ohio and is already at work on her next book.
So it’s official—Jane is moving out and soon to be looking at Pemberley! Tell me what you think in the comments below to enter for a chance to win an ebook copy of The Reintroduction of Fitzwilliam Darcy, now available for purchase from Amazon!
Contest open until August 14, 2021. Good luck!