It is my pleasure to welcome once more Jayne Bamber to From Pemberley Milton with a very dynamic and interesting post about Strong Objections to the Lady, her latest release.
Ms Bamber choose her favorite moments in the story and brought to you a glimpse of each one of them, which will give you all a very good perspective of what you’ll find in it. I hope you enjoy this guest post and share with us the one moment that made you more curious about the book 🙂
And this is the last post of the blog tour, so if you haven’t tried your luck with the giveaway, this is your last chance!
It’s great to be back at From Pemberley to Milton! This is the last stop on my blog tour for my new release, Strong Objections to the Lady. I have shared a lot of excerpts along the way, but today in addition to today’s excerpt, I’d like to share a few more snippets of my favorite moments in the story.
For those of you who have missed the other blogs, Strong Objections to the Lady features a very different Anne de Bourgh, and this light-hearted romp in Kent is not short on laughs. I had a wonderful time writing this tale and getting to know the characters better along the way, and so today I would like to share my top ten favorite moments in the story….
#10 – Anne throws shade at her mother’s garish taste….
Anne was speaking with the local upholsterer in the north-facing parlor, which had been much neglected, when Lady Matlock entered the room. One look from the countess was enough to prompt the man to take his leave and fairly skitter from the house, and when he had gone the countess accosted her niece directly. “For Heaven’s sake, child, do you know what today is?”
Anne made a great show of looking about her. “Forgive me, Aunt Susan, but I do not see any children in the room – nor calendars, either.”
“Insolent girl!” Lady Susan crossed her arms and glared at Anne, who maintained a cheerful expression. “Do not smirk at me, young lady!”
“I do not smirk, Aunt.”
“You must think it very amusing, sacking your companion and threatening to burn pianos, but your mother has not been remiss in putting it about that you are mad. You hardly do yourself any favors, consulting with an upholsterer at the hour of your mother’s funeral! It is most unseemly! What were you thinking?”
Anne waved her hand dismissively at the garish décor she had long despised. “I was thinking perhaps a bright, warm blue with hints of lilac and pale yellow – something that suggests spring, renewal. All this red and gold everywhere is most unseemly, and I shall be glad to be rid of it.”
#9 – Colonel Fitzwilliam finds a kindred spirit in Mr. Bennet….
“You see, Lizzy,” her father teased her. “Your mother would be extremely vexed to learn that we dined with an earl and countess without her, and therefore I am greatly looking forward to it.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam broke into a wide smile. “There, now, Miss Elizabeth, I will not be deprived of such charming dinner company, at a time when it would be such a great comfort.” He placed a hand on his heart dramatically.
“Splendid, splendid,” Mr. Bennet chortled.
“And you may tell your wife, sir, that the viscount will also be in attendance.”
“She may require her smelling salts,” Mr. Bennet drawled.
#8 – Anne also comes to appreciate Mr. Bennet’s wry wit….
Suddenly, another notion struck Jane. “The countess asked about Longbourn – was the entail much talked of?”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes and smiled. “Oh yes – Papa informed the countess that Mr. Collins’ younger brother had gone on some missionary work in Timbuktu, and subsequently defected into a tribe of natives, therefore leaving you, his beloved eldest, as the undisputed heiress.”
“He did not say that!”
“He absolutely did. At least Mr. Darcy did not hear any of his nonsense, and have occasion to lower his opinion of our family even further. And in some ways, I think it tempered Anne’s proclivity to say shocking things herself – she and Papa are quite in league together.”
#7 – Colonel Fitzwilliam takes a jab at his mother, the Countess….
There was a lull in conversation after the second course was served, and Colonel Fitzwilliam seized the opportunity to address the entire table. “I have something I would like to say,” he began, turning to exchange a sly look with Anne. “I am very happy to say that I have spoken with Cousin Anne this afternoon, and she has agreed to put me – and many others, I think – out of our misery. She has decided….”
At the far end of the table, the Countess gave a premature whimper of delight. The colonel smiled at her, then turned and gave Elizabeth, or perhaps her sister, a quick wink. Finally, he looked back at Anne, and completed his speech by saying, “…to take a more active role in the running of the estate!”
Jane’s shaky breath was audible only to Elizabeth, for the countess’ reaction was much louder. “Richard, you wicked boy!”
“I thought you would be pleased, Mother – I am sure it is your advice that Anne has heeded.”
#6 – Mr. Collins’ appreciation for shelves in the closet transcends the grave….
While her sister was occupied, Elizabeth sought to pass the time in the library, and unwittingly stumbled upon Mr. Percy Fitzwilliam in some distress. The young cleric was seated near the windows at a table entirely covered in books and bits of paper, and he looked thoroughly perturbed. He hastily stood and bowed when she entered the room. “Good day, Miss Eliza – forgive me, I am quite at my wit’s end.”
Elizbeth hesitated, but her curiosity won out as she entered the room. “Whatever is the matter, sir?”
“I have but three days to prepare my first sermon for the parish – my first sermon ever, in fact. I had hoped to find some wisdom in all of Mr. Collins’ notes, but….”
“Oh dear.” Elizbeth approached the table and he gestured with frustration at the nearly illegible papers. The Bible was marked on in many places, though the passages that appeared to have been of particular interest to Mr. Collins were not likely to be of much edification for his parish.
“I cannot make sense of his methods,” Mr. Fitzwilliam sighed. “I started here, with some notes I found – at first it appeared to be a sermon half–written, which I might work from. It starts out strong, quoting Proverbs 31:10-31, and I thought it might be a fine thing for Anne that I extol upon the virtues of a godly and industrious woman. ‘She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness,’ and so on. But then, you see, what follows is… not entirely biblical. This note here in the margins, Ezekiel 43:17 – I looked up the passage and it is just about shelves.”
Elizabeth suppressed her laughter with little success, though she was heartily sorry for Mr. Fitzwilliam’s evident distress. “I wish I could help you, sir, but I am not at all familiar with my cousin’s… methods.”
#5 – Anne claps back at the Countess of Matlock….
After another unfortunate sneeze, the countess fixed Jane with a withering glare. “Miss Bennet, are you sure you are quite well? It was foolhardy enough to go chasing after the gentlemen, and in the rain, but to insist you are well when you are not is another kind of folly entirely, and I must remind you of the dire consequences should you think to conceal an illness for your own selfish purposes, and recklessly expose my family and your own sister.”
The colonel slipped his hand into Jane’s beneath the table, and Jane found herself too flustered to reply to Lady Susan; indeed, she could do nothing at all save for relishing the feel of his strong, warm hand around hers.
“Mother,” said he, “I appreciate your concern for dear Miss Bennet, but she is looking very well to me.”
Anne began to cough very loudly. “My goodness, I was not in the rain at all – I believe it grows drafty in here.”
Elizabeth looked up at Jane with eyes full of mirth, and she gave a little sneeze of her own. “Yes, I find I quite agree.”
Even Mr. Mason caught the scent of their mischief, and grinned as he looked back at Anne. “Achoo,” he deadpanned.
Anne chortled with laughter, and then stood and tossed aside her napkin. “The fireplace in the parlor beckons, I believe. A good blaze should be just the thing.”
#4 – I couldn’t resist….
Henry grinned at Anne as he addressed Charlotte. “Tell me, Mrs. Collins, did you not hear your friend’s manners toward Miss Bingley last evening? I must know, Anne; what is the manner of your disapproval of her?”
“Every manner,” Anne giggled. “I find her far too self-important, and I have a violent aversion to every shade of orange.”
#3 – The time Anne spiked an entire dinner….
Before Anne could concoct any other superior schemes, Mr. Bingley had approached her with a knowing smile. “What an excellent dinner you ordered, Miss de Bourgh.”
“Thank you, sir – I hope I have not trespassed on your sister at all.”
“She appears far from offended at present,” he drawled. “Tell me, was everything soaked in alcohol?”
Anne laughed at having been found out, and swatted playfully at him, hoping she could charm her way out of any real trouble. “Not everything. The coq au vin and beef bourguignon, obviously, and I believe the roasted pheasant was glazed with brandy – the sherry trifle, of course….” She counted off on her fingers, wondering if she had missed anything.
“What can you mean by it? Everyone is quite in their cups!”
“In their plates,” she quipped.
Mr. Bingley chortled with laughter. “In their plates! But really, Miss de Bourgh, we may all come to some mischief. Surely there is excitement enough already.”
#2 – Inebriated Lizzy can still throw shade, too….
Darcy bit back a smile at Elizabeth’s delightful impertinence, and addressed Miss Bingley as calmly as he could. “Miss Elizabeth is unwell, and I have been urging her to retire early. She had an exerting walk about the grounds this morning, and I am sure she must need some rest.”
“Oh yes,” Miss Bingley said eagerly. “With Jane being ill so recently, perhaps Miss Eliza has caught some last remainder of the sickness. We must take every precaution, I am sure.”
Darcy stood and helped Elizabeth to her feet. “I shall walk you to your room,” he said. “Truly, you are not well, Miss Elizabeth.”
“I already told you that,” she whispered before turning to nod at Miss Bingley with perfect courtesy. “I expected no less than such exemplary compassion from you, Miss Bingley. Indeed, I was quite sure you would be willing to part with me early, for the sake of my own well-being – so entirely gracious….”
Darcy took Elizabeth by the arm and hastened her from the room at once.
#1 – Anne speaks her mind, and Darcy hurts his own feelings….
Anne groaned and stomped her feet, turning her back so that Darcy might not see her displeasure. She found herself wishing Elizabeth were there, with her wide eyes and soothing words of assurance. “Damn and blast, Darcy,” she sighed. “I am frightened and angry, and I do not wish to explain myself to anyone else.”
Darcy’s stern demeanor softened. “I do not mean to suggest that you have not the right to some sadness, but you must act with consistency and decorum. You cannot claim to be so stricken with grief that you cannot fulfill your responsibilities, and then crow over your delight, your determination to indulge yourself, regardless of the feelings of others.”
“The feelings of others?” Anne shook her head, hugging herself nervously. “It seems as though that is all that matters to you. What of my thoughts and wishes? The Fitzwilliams are here to manipulate me for their own purposes – I absolutely mean to indulge my own feelings, not theirs.”
“They want what is best for you, we all do. You are of age now, Anne, and you cannot be forced into anything that you do not desire. But neither can you make your own feelings known, in the right way, if you do not even come down to dinner.”
Anne looked at him thoughtfully, and then nodded her assent. “Very well, dinner. Tomorrow I will be there.”
“You will behave?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I will try, so long as it does not interfere with making my sentiments known. By the by, we ought to go to the parsonage tomorrow, and pay a condolence call – I trust you heard about Mr. Collins?”
“I did. I was shocked, and very sorry for Mrs. Collins.”
“I sent the upholsterer to them, and I suppose I will need to ask Percy if he might assist with the funeral arrangements… I had – that is, the curate resigned abruptly.”
Darcy raised his eyebrows at her. “Yes, Richard told me.”
“Percy has been made aware of the situation, and he will do his best to be of assistance, despite Richard’s frustration at how easily it might have been avoided. Percy can accompany us tomorrow, when we call at the parsonage. He will no doubt wish to speak with Mrs. Collins about parish matters, and her husband, of course.”
“Richard also mentioned… I understand there was a particular disagreement….” He crossed his arms in front of his chest, radiating disapproval.
Anne sighed heavily, and turned away to pace along the windows that overlooked the garden. “Yes, I spoke candidly with him, with the best of intentions, but he did not appreciate the effort.”
“The best of intentions?”
“I will not marry him, Darcy,” Anne insisted. “Nor will I allow him to treat me like I am blind, backwards, and stupid. The ruse is over, finished. Now that I am mistress of Rosings, I think it is high time that everybody understands what I want, and accepts that I will have it – and nothing else.”
“Well, Anne, I sincerely hope that what you want so badly is help with running this estate, because that is what you need, and a lot of it,” Darcy burst with great energy. “Do not be so quick to flaunt your new independence in the face of those who would help you.”
“Is that it, then? Assistance is conditional on an engagement? Tell me I am wrong.”
Darcy flinched, and fell silent. “The countess is stubborn, but she cannot force you. Perhaps if you did not protest so vehemently, it would go easier for you.”
“Protest so vehemently? I have not yet begun to fight you on this, Cousin Darcy! I will not be bullied any longer.” Anne reached for a vase and hurled it across the room.
Darcy glowered at her, his appearance terribly imposingly, and she actually trembled as he approached her. He picked up another vase, plucked the flowers out, tossing them forcefully aside, and thrust the empty vase at her. Without breaking eye contact, Anne tossed this one, too. She reached toward the mantle, grasping for some other breakable object, and threw it as hard as she could, and then he handed her another one. She lifted her arm to throw it, but then hesitated, and put it back in its place. “Well, I feel silly now. I am sorry, Cousin – and please know, I mean that very sincerely, for I fully intend never to say I am sorry for anything I do not truly regret, as much as I have been made these last five years to apologize for things that did not merit it.”
“I can understand the sentiment, being pressed to apologize for a circumstance that you do not regret can be a bitter pill to swallow – one’s instinct is to resist. But you must endeavor to amend your behavior before any more damage is done. Your mother hurt you, but you can be the better person. I think it is what you truly wish, though you have not the clarity to see it.”
Anne felt her temper deflate at her cousin’s gentle advice, as if the anger was flushed from her entirely. “There is truth in that, I think.”
Darcy looked suddenly distressed, though Anne was trying to make amends. “I beg your pardon,” said he. “Have you ever given voice to some sudden thought, and in doing so, wounded your own sensibilities?”
“I cannot say that I have,” Anne stammered, astonished to see Darcy so perturbed now, more so than he had been even at the height of their argument.
He shook his head, as if to dislodge whatever thought had troubled him. “Forgive me. I am grown tired from my journey, and I ought to retire.”
Anne called out to him as he stalked wearily from the room. “Shall we walk to the parsonage at, say, eleven o’clock?”
“Yes – yes,” Darcy said with a strange groan.
Anne shook her head, bewildered that she had discomposed her stoic cousin, but mused that he was certainly right about one thing – she might accomplish a great deal more by attending a family dinner or two.
Strong Objections to the Lady is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited now, as well as in paperback format.
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