Hello dear readers,
How are you this week? I’m still adjusting to my daily routines after being away for 3 weeks and I’m reading much less since I got back. However, my blog has been very busy with new authors stopping by, and recurrent guests that I’m always happy to host such as Victoria Kincaid, who is here today to share an excerpt of her most recent novel: When Charlotte Became Romantic.
This is another book of her secondary characters series that started with one of my favorite secondary characters: Mary Bennet. It’s been almost 4 years since When Mary Met the Colonel was released, but it is still present in my memory as one of my favorite secondary character books of all times. This time Victoria Kincaid decided to give voice to Charlotte Lucas who I believe is a controversy character. Are you team Charlotte? Do you get her character? Or is she someone you tend to dislike? Let us know what you think of her character and the excerpt we are sharing below to apply to the giveaway. Enjoy this small sneak peek at Ms. Kincaid’s take on Charlotte Lucas.
In the original Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet’s friend, Charlotte Lucas marries the silly and obsequious clergyman, Mr. Collins. But what if fate—and love—intervened?
Desperate to escape her parents’ constant criticism, Charlotte has accepted a proposal from Mr. Collins despite recognizing his stupid and selfish nature. But when a mysterious man from her past visits Meryton for the Christmas season, he arouses long-buried feelings and causes her to doubt her decision.
James Sinclair’s mistakes cost him a chance with Charlotte three years ago, and he is devastated to find her engaged to another man. Honor demands that he step aside, but his heart will not allow him to leave Meryton. Their mutual attraction deepens; however, breaking an engagement is not a simple matter and scandal looms. If they are to be happy, Charlotte and James must contend with her parents’ opposition, Lady Catherine’s nastiness, and dangerous figures from James’s past.
Charlotte had forsworn romance years ago; is it possible for her to become romantic again?
You can find When Charlotte Became Romantic at:
Hello Rita and thank you so much for having me back to visit! In Pride and Prejudice, we only really get a brief glimpse into Charlotte Lucas’s character. She’s best known to Austen readers as not being romantic. But in the grand tradition of P&P what-if stories, I wondered what would happen if Charlotte did have a secret romantic side. How would her life be different if she did have romantic feelings that were simply suppressed and buried under layers of practicality and rationality? The result was quite interesting. I found her acting more like Elizabeth Bennet in some instances and in other places making her own unique decisions. But, no matter what, I think the reader will be rooting for her. Below is an excerpt from close to the beginning of the book. Enjoy!
Elizabeth trailed in her wake as Charlotte hastened into the front hall. With her head lowered to ensure that she did not trip on the hem of her gown, she did not notice who was in front of her until a voice intoned, “Char—Miss Lucas?”
Reflexively looking up, her gaze was caught by brown eyes, as warm and kind as she remembered—and yet impossible to turn away from. For a moment her voice deserted her; then she managed a thin and reedy approximation of her normal tones. “Mr. Sinclair…er, greetings.” She had the sinking feeling of having been just a little too slow; a minute sooner and she would have made it to safety.
Was it possible he had grown taller? Perhaps her recollection was faulty. His thick sandy brown hair still fell over his forehead and into his eyes. His full lips held the merest hint of a smile—or perhaps a smirk. His shoulders were quite as broad as she remembered, and he was well-dressed, with a coat of fine wool over an embroidered waistcoat.
I must conceal the effect he has on me. Of course, he might guess by her inability to utter a word in his presence. Was that a smug smile at the thought that he could still render her as articulate as a startled goose?
I am in control of myself. I am my own mistress. I cannot give him any advantage. She repeated these words to herself until she remembered to close her mouth and wet dry lips, but speech still eluded her. Naturally, James was relaxed and unbothered, the picture of serenity and grace.
Only then did Charlotte notice Mrs. Hargrave standing beside her nephew. A bit stout with curling gray hair, she regarded Charlotte with a cool smile. “Miss Lucas.”
Both her hands clenched fistfuls of her skirt, a nervous habit since childhood. Appearing otherwise smooth and unruffled required all of Charlotte’s energy. How could she be expected to speak as well? Elizabeth’s eyes darted between them, sensing the tension but unaware of its source. Charlotte swallowed, hoping her voice would work. “M-Mr. S-Sinclair, allow me to introduce my friend, Elizabeth Bennet. And, of course, you know Mrs. Hargrave.”
Charlotte allowed an inward sigh of relief. That had not been horrible. “Mrs. Hargrave introduced me to Mr. Sinclair when Mama, Papa, and I visited Bath three years ago.”
Elizabeth and James exchanged nods. “Are you visiting your aunt for the whole of the Christmas season?” she asked him.
“Yes. It has been too long since my last visit.”
Does he blame me for that? Charlotte sought his face for traces of bitterness, but his expression was, as ever, open and artless.
“James has a very responsible position with the Customs House in London—the headquarters for HM Customs, you know,” Mrs. Hargrave announced haughtily. He gave his aunt a look of exasperation, which she ignored. “And, in time, he will inherit his father’s estate in Sussex.”
Charlotte’s stomach roiled sickeningly. Why does she tell this to Elizabeth? Does she seek to remind me of what I lost? Or does she hope Elizabeth will develop an interest in James?
Of course, it was infinitely preferable to having James’s aunt tell them about his wife and children.
For the sake of my sanity, I must quit this conversation now. But her eyes would remain fixed on James’s face while he seemed determined only to gaze upon Elizabeth. It makes sense; she is very pretty, but I am driving myself to distraction. Why can I not find any excuse to depart?
Elizabeth seemed to find Mrs. Hargrave’s boasts amusing. “How very fortunate,” she murmured. Then she appeared to read Charlotte’s thoughts. “Are you wed, sir?”
“Unfortunately, I have not yet had that pleasure,” James said, carefully averting his eyes from Charlotte.
“Miss Bennet is the second of five sisters in the Bennet family,” Mrs. Hargrave explained.
“Indeed?” James’s attention had already switched to Charlotte. “Miss Lucas, my aunt tells me you are still residing in Hertfordshire.”
A reminder of her unmarried status? Would he torment her with what could have been? “Yes—” Charlotte cleared her throat. “Yes, I am.”
Elizabeth might not know the story from Bath, but she could sense the tension in the air. “Alas,” she said quickly, “Charlotte is to remain among us only a little longer. She is engaged to Mr. William Collins from Kent.”
“Engaged?” James said faintly. “I had not…heard.” The news seemed to disconcert him, but perhaps that was Charlotte’s imagination.
“Mr. Collins?” Mrs. Hargrave said. “He is a curate, I believe?”
“No, he is a parson,” Elizabeth said rather forcefully. “With his own living—under the patronage of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.” Lizzy must have been piqued indeed to defend someone she found so tedious. “He is my cousin and will inherit Longbourn upon my father’s death.”
Despite herself, Mrs. Hargrave seemed rather impressed. Perhaps she had hoped Charlotte would become an old maid—or wed the local rat catcher. “How nice.”
After a moment, James roused himself. “My congratulations,” he said stiffly. His expression was unreadable, although his countenance was quite pale. “I wish you both happy.” He nodded briskly. “Now, if you will excuse us, my aunt is quite parched, and I promised to obtain some punch for her.” He barely gave his aunt enough time to clutch his arm before he whisked them both into the crowd.
Elizabeth and Charlotte stared after them. “My goodness,” Elizabeth said. “What did you do in Bath to offend them? Did you insult Mr. Sinclair’s favorite waistcoat or put too much sugar in his tea?” She gave Charlotte an impish grin.
If you only knew.
is offering a very generous giveaway. On this stop you can either win a $10 Amazon Gift Card plus eBook or Audiobook of winner’s choice which will be
Victoria Kincaid would like to offer one of my readers an ebook copy of When Charlotte Became Romantic . This giveaway she is promoting is international and will end on November 14th.
To apply to it all you have to do is comment on this post and let us know what you thought about the excerpt.
Good Luck Everyone!