Hello to all and very nearly merry Christmas! So this will likely be the last blog before the new year, amazing that we are almost at 2023 already! I have been following Christine and her books for a while now, and this newest and upcoming book is definitely a keeper!
But for now, I will leave you in Christine’s capable hands.
Hello everyone! I am so very excited to be returning to Interests of a Jane Austen Girl to talk about my latest Austen variation, Three Brides for Three Cousins!
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s twin cousins are ready for their debut in society, and one might think that would keep their mother—the Countess of Disley—well occupied. But even preparing her daughters for presentation to the Queen and their debut ball has not stopped Lady Disley’s plans to marry off her two sons and her nephew at last.
Elizabeth Bennet and her elder sister Jane are in London with their aunt and uncle at Gracechurch Street to enjoy some of the delights of the Season. They do not expect that meeting Mrs. Gardiner’s cousin from Derbyshire and the young lady to whom she is companion will lead to a reunion with the young man who wrote Jane some verses of poetry when she was 15 … or that he will be revealed to be a viscount.
Although sure this means the end of their new acquaintance with the shy Miss Darcy, Elizabeth and Jane are surprised when her brother lets the friendship continue. More than that, Lord Rowarth is forced to confess that his feelings for Jane remain strong, and his determination to defy convention and pursue a match with her unintentionally draws Elizabeth and Darcy to each other. Amidst supporting his brother’s attachment to one Bennet sister and encouraging his cousin Darcy’s growing feelings for the other, Colonel Theodore Fitzwilliam is enlisted by a duke’s daughter to help prevent her family’s ruination from scandal.
Family drama, misunderstandings, and the expectations of society are difficult waters to navigate. Can these three cousins get through it all to win the hearts of their chosen ladies and secure their own happiness?
CHAPTER 1, second part;
I do hope that blurb intrigues you! Now to further reel you in, here is the second part of Chapter One:
Fitzwilliam Darcy watched as Mrs. Annesley touched the arm of his sister and gave a very subtle incline of her head toward the tea set that had just been delivered by the housekeeper. Georgiana colored, put her needlework aside, and stood to serve.
“H-how do you take your tea, Lord Rowarth?” she asked their eldest cousin hesitantly.
Philip offered her a smile. “Georgiana, you really needn’t address me so formally. Cousin Philip, or just Philip, will do.”
Georgiana blushed again, her eyes darting between Darcy and Mrs. Annesley. “But… but we are taught in school that a viscount—”
Philip waived off her words. “Any other viscount, yes—be as formal as you were taught. But we are family, dearest. Others may differ, of course, but when not in company you are more than welcome to address me by my Christian name, as I do you.”
He sat forward and smiled at her again. “And I take my tea with a wedge of lemon and two sugars.”
With a hand that only shook a little, Georgiana poured a cup of tea, adding the lemon and sugar as he requested, and handed it to him. Philip smiled and nodded and sat back with ease. Georgiana flicked a glance toward Darcy again and he also offered a nod and a smile. When serving Philip’s younger brother, Theodore, she was a little less reserved, and with Darcy even less, but even with him she kept her eyes cast down. After pouring for Mrs. Annesley and then herself, Georgiana sat down again.
Darcy sighed softly but was gratified by Mrs. Annesley’s presence; the widowed lady had been working very diligently with his sister to draw out the smiles and cheerfulness she’d always had at the ready before Ramsgate. Before Wickham. Georgiana had withdrawn so far into herself after learning the truth about that scoundrel that she rarely spoke more than two words together. She often had to be reminded to do her duty as hostess when they had guests, as she was now so painfully shy.
Grinding his teeth together, Darcy forced thoughts of his nemesis from his mind. It would not do to have either of his cousins or his sister take notice of a darkened mood, for the former would only needle him with questions, and his sister would only be discomfited by the answers.
Viscount Rowarth and Colonel Fitzwilliam were at Pemberley with him and Georgiana because they were avoiding their mother. Of late she seemed to have renewed her mission to see her sons married, despite being kept busy with plans for their sisters’ debut in the coming Season. But Philip was over thirty and Theodore would soon reach that age, and in the countess’s mind, they should have both of them already made her a grandmother. Darcy could well sympathize with his cousins, as his aunt had also taken it upon herself—in the absence of his own late, honored mother—to begin pressing him to at last give Pemberley a new mistress.
And he would…when he was good and ready.
Ralston, his butler, entered the parlor then, carrying a letter on a tray. He stopped by Darcy’s chair, and when he had taken the folded paper, the older man bowed and departed as quietly as he had entered.
“Who’s it from, Will?” asked Theodore.
Darcy examined the handwriting on the front and tried not to frown. “Your mother,” he replied, then turned the note over and broke the seal. He was not altogether surprised by the message within and stifled another sigh as he finished reading and folded it again.
“What did my mother have to say, Will?” asked Philip. “Does she fear we will not make our required appearance at the twins’ come-out ball? It’s not for another four weeks, for goodness’ sake!”
Darcy scoffed. “Not precisely. Though it is mentioned that you and Theodore will be there, my aunt’s letter is a strong request for my presence also.”
The brothers looked to one another, with Philip grinning as Theodore laughed. “You mean you’ve been summoned to appear!” the latter cried.
“So it would seem,” said Darcy sourly.
“Come, Theo—you know that Mamma’s been as much on Darcy to marry as she has the two of us of late. You’d think she had a third son, the way she’s been after him,” Philip mused.
“So, you will go to London for the winter, brother?” Georgiana asked softly.
Darcy looked to her. “We will go,” said he with a smile. “I’ll not leave you and Mrs. Annesley here alone.”
Mrs. Annesley’s serene expression brightened. “Oh, that would be delightful, sir! I have family in London I’ve not seen in some years that I will be able to renew my acquaintance with.”
A genial smile lifted the corners of Darcy’s mouth, and he inclined his head. “You are welcome, ma’am.”
Though the debut of his female cousins was still four weeks hence, Darcy began making plans for an extended stay in London that evening—it was always his preference to plan ahead when he could. There were many matters to be settled about the estate and in the villages over which he was patron before he could pack himself and his sister off to a city neither of them truly enjoyed for however long his aunt demanded he play her game. Like Philip and Theodore, he wished to make rather a different sort of match than so many of their friends’ parents—the three all desired to marry for love in a society where making an advantageous match to preserve or increase property and wealth was the main goal of marriage. The viscount and his brother had long said that was why they had waited to marry.
Darcy, of course, had a much different reason for putting off marriage. The death of his father near five years before had thrust upon him the mantle of “master of Pemberley” long before he’d expected it. He had known something of how to manage the estate and tenants, of course, but losing his father in such a tragic way as he had and taking on the guardianship of his much younger sister had been almost more than he could bear. It had taken time to get used to his new role, to ensure that the staff in the house and the tenants without not only respected but also trusted him.
Though he had always been somewhat fastidious, the change in the dynamic of his household—where already one parent had been years gone—had led to his becoming more so. Thus, Darcy had put contingencies in place should anything happen to him. If he died tomorrow, every person who depended on him would be well-looked after.
Although the ball presenting his cousins Cecilia and Olivia to society was still a month in future, his design was that he, Georgiana, and her companion would arrive just after the new year. Darcy would have time to take pleasure in his club and visits with friends before the family’s first grand display of the Season, and his own unwilling immersion in the marriage mart.
At least Philip and Theodore would be suffering along with him.
- Now back to Christine
Well now, what do you think of that—was it a good teaser? I certainly hope so! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Sophia for having me.
*Sophia*; Christine, I am as always pleased to host you and your books! And boy oh boy does this book sound amazing!! I am definitely already looking at buying this book!
“Three Brides for Three Cousins” is available in eBook from Amazon. Paperback and hardcover editions coming soon!
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.
Blog: All That They Desire / Facebook: (1) Christine Combe | Facebook
Thank you all, remember to leave a comment, share and have a very merry Christmas! I’ll see you all in 2023.
One thought on “Three Brides for Three Cousins”
I love the blurb and this excerpt! From what I’ve read I’m assuming there won’t be the usual lies from Wickham influencing Elizabeth’s impression of Darcy (and hopefully no insult either?) I can’t wait to find out. Merry Christmas 🎄