Good Afternoon everyone,
I’m very pleased to welcome Michelle D’arcy at From Pemberley to Milton once more. Today is the 1 month anniversary of the release of her second novel, An Unpleasant Sort of Man, and she is visiting not only to celebrate the huge success it is having, but also to share an excerpt of it with you. I hope you all like this excerpt, I know I did 🙂
She also brought a surprise with her… The cover of her thrid book which will be released around September this year. I love book covers and I was super excited when she shared this one with me! We would like to show it to you and ask for your opinion 🙂
Thank you so much for visiting once more Michelle! It is a pleasure to have you here! I wish you all the happiness with this book and I’m looking forward to reading it 🙂
Darcy stood by the window, feeling Mr Bennet’s scrutinising eyes on him. He refused the offer of a drink; he felt light-headed and unsteady on his feet already.
Agitation and disquiet soon threatened his usual composure, and he unconsciously played with his ring. He had nothing else to do but wait.
When he heard the door finally open, he turned to look at it, holding his breath.
Elizabeth entered, moving hesitantly. Mr Bennet invited her in, and for a moment she locked eyes with him before lowering hers. “Miss Bennet…” he bowed deeply in greeting to her.
“Mr Darcy…” she whispered, returning a curtsey.
She sat while he remained standing, the tension and mutual mortification too strong for words.
“Lizzy, I have already spoken to both you and Mr Darcy, and I have nothing else to say on this matter. I feel my presence will only make the situation more awkward. Would you mind if I withdrew from the room for a short while?” Mr Bennet asked.
She seemed surprised, glanced at Darcy again, then looked back at her father.
“I would not mind, Papa. I believe you are correct, it would be better.”
“Very well then. I shall return in half an hour.”
With a serious look to Darcy, Mr Bennet exited, leaving his daughter and the gentleman alone, both caught in a storm of emotions that neither of them had felt before.
“Miss Bennet, allow me—”
“Mr Darcy, I—”
“Please continue, sir.”
“I can imagine how surprised you are by my approach… I understand your father already explained to you…I found it appropriate to discuss it with him first because it was not a usual marriage proposal, and I would not dare address you privately without his consent. I apologise if you felt offended that I took such a liberty without…” his voice trailed off unsteadily and he stopped talking altogether.
“You did not offend me, sir. Quite the opposite. I believe it was a wise choice, Mr Darcy. The best, considering the circumstances and the particulars of our acquaintance, as it allowed me time to understand and to reflect on your extraordinary proposal.”
She held her hands in her lap, clasped tightly together to stop the trembling of her fingers.
Since he was still standing, she had to look up at him. Mindful of her comfort, he took a chair and sat a short distance away from her.
“Would you like to ask me anything in particular, Miss Bennet? I feel I have so many things to tell you, and yet I do not know how or where to start.”
“I have many questions, Mr Darcy. And many concerns. And I shall start by thanking you for your consideration and care in regard to my wellbeing. I am grateful and touched.”
“There is no need for thanks. I have done nothing but what I felt to be right.”
“This is even more to your credit, sir. You take too much blame upon yourself. You claim responsibility for unhappy and fortuitous events nobody could foresee! And you reject my gratitude, but you expect me to accept yours, although I have also done nothing but what I felt to be right.”
He attempted a smile but said nothing, waiting for her to continue.
“Mr Darcy, please help me understand — why would you be willing to enter into a marriage with me just to silence some ridiculous gossip that will soon vanish?”
“What if it does not vanish? It is as offensive as it is unfair and could become more harmful. What if it grows instead and injures your character, your reputation, and your good name?”
“Forgive me, sir, but why is any of this your concern? And to such a degree as to drastically alter your life?”
“Because I have caused this damage. It was because of me. You confessed for my benefit, to save my reputation, risking your own! The remedy should also be mine.”
Elizabeth breathed deeply, her spirits slowing rising.
“I am sorry to say but that is an arrogant presumption, Mr Darcy. I have stated many times that I did everything of my own volition. If my actions happened to help you, that was a fortunate addition. But you are not responsible for me, and you owe me nothing. Let us agree on this before we continue our conversation.”
“Very well…” he reluctantly admitted.
“Good. Now we are agreed upon this matter, you should realise there is no real reason for this marriage proposal. Mr Darcy, if indeed I have saved you from an unfair accusation of murder, how could I sentence you to a desolate life, trapped in a marriage neither of us wants? To save my reputation. With the price of both your and my unhappiness.”
Her voice was suffused with emotion, her eyes glistening while filling with tears, and he could not help admiring her even more, falling in love with her even more, while the painful icy claw tore deeply within his chest.
“I understand my proposal means desolation and unhappiness for you, but please do not assume it is the same for me, Miss Bennet,” he replied, struggling to breathe.
“Is it not, Mr Darcy? Pray tell me, if you had not received the letter from your aunt, if you had not discovered those ridiculous rumours, would you be making this sudden marriage proposal?”
He averted his eyes. He wanted to refute this, to deny it, but he knew he could not dismiss the truth. Without Wickham’s demise, despite his growing feelings and no matter that he knew them to be much more than infatuation, he would have left for London. “No…” he admitted honestly. “Not now,” he whispered, barely audibly.
Their eyes met again and this time locked and held.
“As little as we know each other, Mr Darcy, I hope you know I could not accept a marriage proposal which was not meant to be.”
“I feared this might be your answer, Miss Bennet.”
“Feared, sir? You should be relieved! You have acted more honourably than most men in your position would have, but there is no need for further anguish. I am happy to restore your peace of mind and your tranquillity one more time.”
She tried to smile, hoping to hear a light hearted response from him and perhaps a smile too. But his expression betrayed even more dejection.
“I accept your answer, and I shall not insist any further, Miss Bennet. I admire you even more for your strength to follow your heart. Please rest assured I shall not trouble you further, and this conversation will remain a secret between the three of us.”
“Thank you. I am glad we have reached a proper understanding so soon.”
“However, in order for our understanding to be complete, I must be allowed to state once again that, although my proposal was induced by peculiar circumstances, it was no less made from the heart, with the best intentions and genuine hopes of being accepted. I never felt trapped or condemned to unhappiness — indeed, I imagined the opposite, and I was willing to put every effort into improving your poor opinion of me and proving to you that living by my side would not be as detestable as it sounds to you at present.”
Elizabeth’s astonishment was now complete. His last statement left her bewildered. Speechless once more, she looked at him as though she was seeing him for the first time.
Her silence troubled him even more, so he concluded, “Please do not take my confession as an attempt to force your hand and change your answer. I accept and respect your decision, but I do not wish my proposal to appear less than it was. You declared it was not meant to be, but that does not make it any less significant — at least for me. Now, please excuse me. I shall not bother you with my presence any longer.”
His voice was gruff again with emotions, and it only increased Elizabeth’s internal agitation. She could not trust her judgment in that moment to comprehend the true meaning of his words, so she chose not to dwell on them. However, she could not separate from him without proper answers, and, more than that, with an erroneous idea of her opinion of him. As he attempted to stand up, she stretched out her hand and lightly touched his arm.
“Mr Darcy, please, if you will allow me a moment longer. It appears we are further from an understanding than I earlier assumed.”
He reluctantly resumed his place and she continued.
“You keep mentioning my ill opinion of you, but that has long gone and I hoped we had already established that. I hoped we had become friends and that we can trust each other — and this is why I spoke freely. I did not mean that marriage to you would mean desolation and unhappiness for me — and I apologise if my poorly chosen words led you to think that was my meaning! What I meant was that a marriage forced by malicious gossip, induced by guilt and gratitude between two people who barely know each other, could become a cage of unhappiness and might easily lead to a miserable life. I would not want for you to resent me later or for me to resent you. Clearly, you cannot disagree with that.”
“Indeed, I cannot.”
“I am pleased that you understand me. Please do not assume that your proposal was meaningless to me. However, I admit that not for a moment have I considered accepting it. I have never seen any evidence to suggest such interest on your part. And I have barely begun to know you. From what I know, I find nothing wanting in you as a gentleman. It might be enough to consider you a valuable acquaintance, a friend, but too little for true feelings. And I cannot think of marriage — to anyone — without being certain there is affection, respect, and admiration.”
He watched her closely as she spoke warmly, willing him to understand while he was fighting the temptation to reveal more of his feelings and of his agony. But more would have been too much, too soon. Her genuine justification indicated that insisting would be an intrusion.
“You are an extraordinary woman, Miss Bennet — and I am a complete fool,” he said.
“I am not certain I understand your meaning, sir, but I disagree with both your statements. I hope we shall eventually reach an agreement on something…” she made another attempt to lighten the tension. “Although it is very unlikely, considering you will leave soon.”
“Yes, I shall leave soon…” he repeated, thoughtful.
“Miss Bennet, I believe there is something we could agree on and might end any misunderstanding between us.”
“Is there? If so, I would like to hear it.”
“Since you declared this proposal was not meant to be, could we agree on pretending it never was?”
His question baffled her, and his intense stare made her flustered. She felt her cheeks burning, while he added, “No marriage proposal, no answer to it, only a discussion between friends. Would you agree with this proposal, Miss Bennet?”
Their eyes locked again, tentative smiles reaching them, sharing a glimpse of mirth, shadows dissipated by relief. He had found the proper path to take their friendship further.
“Very much so, Mr Darcy!” she replied heartily. “Now, please excuse me, I shall go and fetch my father. And…”
“Yes, Miss Bennet?”
“Perhaps further opportunities for future agreements will arise.”
“I hope they will, Miss Bennet, if you wish them to,” he replied with a brighter expression on his face.
“Very much so, Mr Darcy,” she repeated her earlier statement, giving it even deeper meaning. It was another understanding they had reached — implied more than explicit but equally powerful.
A secret encounter at Oakham Mount, an unexpected and unknown witness, a fight that unearths dark revelations — all are instrumental in changing Elizabeth Bennet’s beliefs, born from pride and tainted by prejudice, one cold November morning.
At Longbourn, the upcoming Netherfield ball is considered to be proof of Mr Bingley’s admiration for Jane and is anticipated with much enthusiasm. Only the irritating presence of Mr Collins and his irksome attention ruin Elizabeth’s disposition and induce her to take a walk that will change her life — as well as the lives of others.
At Netherfield, Fitzwilliam Darcy, haunted by his ardent admiration for a certain lady, plans to return to London immediately after the ball, together with Bingley’s family, leaving their troubles and distress behind.
On the evening of the ball, Elizabeth’s spirit is heavy with remorse, while doubts leave her undecided as to how she should proceed. As Darcy considers asking Elizabeth to stand up with him for a set — the first and last he believes he will ever dance with her — the ball is interrupted by news of a most disturbing incident which will affect the entire neighbourhood.
From that very moment, everyone’s plans will be altered. Suspicions and rumours will shake the calm and complacency of the quiet and peaceful town of Meryton as well as a lot of first impressions. Events will quickly unfold, more secrets will be revealed, previous relationships will change while improbable friendships and most unanticipated alliances will form and grow.
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Samuel Bennet are as different as two gentlemen can be, in age, consequence, fortune, opinions on responsibilities and familial duty, even the notion of proper behaviour. However, they slowly discover some common interests in their love of books, good brandy, peaceful time spent in the library, meaningful conversation, and their strong — though undisclosed for one party — affection for a particular lady of their acquaintance. Will this unlikely companionship survive the events?
Forced by circumstances and guided by honour, loyalty, and courage, Elizabeth and Darcy will have to act together, thus discovering themselves and each other. Will their journey ruin or strengthen their alliance? Will their partnership end in just friendship or blossom into something else entirely?
‘An Unpleasant Sort of Man’ is a full length novel (around 380 pages in print!) assembling all the elements of a classic JAFF story: romance, moderate angst, tension, a bit of mystery, witty dialogues, a lot of interaction between our dear characters, slow relationship growth, and character development, all focused around the beloved story of Elizabeth and Darcy!
You can find An Unpleasant Sort of Man at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
Drawing on her background in the drug industry, Michelle knows that the best tonic for the mind is a good book and a healthy imagination.
Michelle discovered Jane Austen through the Hollywood adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, starring Lawrence Olivier, when she was 14. She has never looked for her own Mr Darcy because she thinks she shares too many similarities of character with him . And perhaps more than she would like to admit with Lady Catherine too!
A greedy reader and a meagre sleeper, Michelle fell into the JAFF universe in early 2000 and happily witnessed some great stories coming to life! A steadfast cheerleader, prolific commenter and opinion-giver, sometimes headstrong and obstinate — especially when defending Darcy, who in her eyes can do no wrong — she has made a lot of friends among JAFF authors and keeps in contact with many of them.
Encouragement from a dear friend, help from another with a magical red pen, and a sudden increase in courage, persuaded her to finally put on paper some ideas that had been dancing in her mind for some time.
Michelle is the author of a very well received first book: Happy by Accident… or Not?
An Unpleasant Sort of Man is Michelle’s second book.
So, what did you think about the excerpt of An Unpleasant Sort of Man? You can tell from it that this will be a low angst story with Elizabeht and Darcy connecting quite early in the book, can’t you? I wonder what happen to precipitate this proposal, and what they will have to face together!
But if this excerpt left me curious…the cover for Michelle D’arcy’s next release, Undoubtedly by Design, left me even more curious, especially as I am one of those who judge a book by its cover!!!
Michelle D’arcy is not yet ready to share the blurb of this future release with you yet, but if we share the cover with you, can you try to guess? Let’s check it out, shall we?
Isn’t this cover gorgeous?! I love absolutely everything about it! I love the beautiful picture of Pemberley, especially with the blue skies. This is one of my favorite perspectives of it because you can still see it reflected in the pond, but you also have some trees obscuring the building and revealing the nature surrounding it. And if you look closely, you can even see a little bit of the orangery! I also like the fact that we can still see the sidewalk because it gives the cover a beautiful mix of colors.
AnoI like in it is the font used in the cover, and the lines on the corners of the book. They give it a beautiful balanced look. And… there is no need to talk about the silhouettes, is it? I mean, they always make book covers look so much better! I absolutely love silhouettes 😊
As you can see, the book is a summer story, so what do you think may happen? And what is your opinion of this cover? Did you like it as much as I did?
Michelle D’arcy would like to offer a double giveaway to readers who stop by and comment on this post. She would like to offer 1 ebook copy of An Unpleasant Sort of Man to one of the winners, and another ebook copy of Undoubtedly By Design to another winner as soon as the book is released, so make sure to let us know in the comments which book you’d prefer to win. Please remember, the winner of An Unpleasant Sort of Man will receive the book immediately as the book is already live on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited, but the winner of Undoubtedly By Design will only receive the book once it is released, or closer to release date as an ARC copy.
The giveaway is international and is open until the 22nd of July.
Good Luck Everyone!