quarta-feira, 9 de março de 2016

Regency love fairy tale - Prologue

Yesterday we celebrated women's day and these days I can only think about 'girl power', at least what I understand of it.

Austen and feminism have been the subject of many heated discussions, I can't say I have a definite opinion even. But the one thing I like in P&P is Lizzy's way of handling life opposed to Elinor's in S&S. It kills me to read how their brother and sister-in-law reduce them to poverty in two pages, and they can't or don't fight.

Regency women were a merchandise 'sold' by their parents to husbands, they weren't allowed college and many other things we take for granted now, I know. I guess that's my biggest obstacle when writing historical, I could never write about undermined women without redemption, about submission or something the like.

So, my second Regency love story can be viewed as a fairy tale since this Lizzy was independent enough to create a fine life out of ashes. I want to believe that might have been possible back then, but I fear it wasn't. At all.

She finds her Darcy when a man was no longer capital to her survivor, when love could be viewed as love purely. Until then, there'll be a long long way... Shall we?


Love in acts

2nd act


angst, rated M, short, P&P, Alternate Universe
1st Act - LOVE HURTS

Prologue -

The year of 1814 was terribly complicated, not only for nations but for people as well, titled families suffered as much as country gentry.

In the continent, Napoleon was exiled in Elba and perhaps because he was expected to flee, in England troops were still being prepared to fight. One of the areas chosen for training was a small town down South called Meryton, where the young men were received warmly - especially by the unmarried girls. A novelty in such a small society, plenty of balls and dinners, parties and strolls were arranged; several occasions for interaction and for the young girls to fall crossed in love with the soldiers in spite of the Colonel responsible for the militia's care.

The uncertain situation for which they were being trained pulled on their young hearts and even though the Colonel kept a good part of his men sober under duress, some hearts were stolen by very tempting country beauties. A small society such as Meryton lived to make sport of such attachments and they abounded during the seven months’ stay of the Militia.

Tired of the gossip and fearing the exposition, one particular soldier of rank opted to keep his ardent connection private, at least until he returned from war. There were wasted weeks not wanting to give in to the attraction and when it won, the attachment wasn’t long.  Unfortunately the abdicated French Emperor forced his way back into Paris and the brave soldier was sadly sent to fight in possession of the heart of a very young and spirited Elizabeth Bennett. Although his young witty paramour seemed uncertain, he convinced her of two very noble traits of his personality: he had serious intentions towards her and skill in the battlefield.

Elizabeth concealed her heartbreak making jest of the other girls who pined for their lost love interests on their way to battle.  The lack of news didn’t bother her more than the rest of the town’s feminine populace; besides, she knew her paramour was averse to long letters. He had indeed promised to write and her heart fluttered thinking how he would manage to make a letter arrive in her hands without addressing it to her directly. With time, despair started to take over her heart.

Tragically, none of his traits were ever put to test for the dashing soldier didn’t resist the crossing and not even his body reached the continent. When weeks later his family received word of the soldier’s fate, in deep mourning only one person thought it honorable to pass the intelligence on. The soldier was a lot stealthier than imagined and discreetly confessed his country passion and intentions towards the fetching girl to one great gentleman he considered his brother.

Months after the Militia left, many girls already received small letters from their betrothed and paramours arousing the small Meryton with heroic accounts undoubtedly augmented. In the middle of the hubbub, a very handsome young man arrived making subtle inquiries about a certain officer of rank’s connections while in town. Sir Lucas visited the inn to introduce himself the same day one of the girls received a fateful letter containing the recounting of a horrendous mutiny on board and the gruesome result: one third of the Militia had been killed.

Meryton was shocked, especially the fifteen-years-old Elizabeth. Desperate, she withdrew to herself and at first blamed the overwhelming sadness for her weak stomach but deep down feared the rather passionate farewell had left her with child. Once she had confirmation of her predicament, Elizabeth turned to her mama for help.

Amelia Bennett (née Gardiner) was a very loud woman of nine and thirty, sturdy and pudgy, had had five daughters but no son to inherit Longbourn - her husband's estate. To anyone in Meryton society, Amelia was frivolous and silly but when faced with the humongous problem of her second daughter carrying a bastard from a deceased officer fruit of a secret connection, she assumed outstanding lucidity.

‘We will visit my family in Scot.’ She said to her husband Thomas Bennett slumped in his small library’s chair holding his head as his favorite daughter stood at a corner crying, hugging herself against a shelf of books as if the wall could gain life and engulf her. ‘Lizzy has missed monthly courses but not yet felt the stirrings. She is slim and active, no one can tell yet. I will say I’m with child.’

‘What?’ Mr. Bennett raised his head, eyes brimming with tears.

‘I’m taking my older daughters to help me with the confinement. I’m no young girl, I can die of birth, I’d rather use the midwife who attended my mother when she bred my youngest brother, Mrs. McLee is old and cannot travel.’ She counted on her fingers. ‘It’s plausible, far, deserted. Scot it is.’ She wriggled her hands. ‘You hope for an heir, I hope for a quiet confinement and a safe breeding for Lizzy.’

‘I’m so sorry.’ The girl whined. ‘We had an understanding.’ She sobbed. ‘I wrote him a letter and I’m sure that if he had received it-’

‘Where is this letter?’ Her mother interrupted her.

‘In my room.’ Elizabeth blinked surprised. ‘I was waiting to send-’

‘Bring it here at once.’ Mrs. Bennett ordered. ‘Go.’

As her daughter left, she poised a hand on her husband’s shoulder. ‘All will be well; this is the best course of action.’

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes. He must have been from a wealthy family if it is true what Sir Lucas said about the handsome gentleman who is here asking questions. They may want the baby but Lizzy won’t escape the gossips and wonderings if the father was really him… She will be ruined, the child will be raised as a bastard. I have four daughters to marry off, Lydia is only ten. Oh, my nerves…’ She sighed and paced the library. ‘I have to give the girls a chance to have a normal life… even if there is questioning, it’s not unheard of a woman of nine and thirty to be with child. Lizzy is just a romantic silly girl, the dashing soldier must have made promises to her and-’ She turned suddenly. ‘Ah, Lizzy, is this the letter?’

Elizabeth nodded extending the sealed envelope to her mother.

‘Are you sure?’ The mama took the envelope as the girl nodded. ‘No other notes, no discarded paper lying around? This is very important, Lizzy.’

‘This is it.’ The girl swallowed forcefully. ‘Only our maid, Jane and you know about my courses.’

Mrs. Bennett snorted. ‘If your maid knows, all the girls know, the kitchen help and maybe the village.’

‘Lynn wouldn’t-’

‘Lynn would tell it to a goat if it would hear. I’ll talk to her now. It’s settled, let’s pack.’ Mrs. Bennett tossed the still sealed and unread letter in the fireplace.

As the wax seal melted and the paper cracked, Elizabeth’s eyes watered again and she felt her despair rise.

A few months later, as Napoleon faced General Wellesley at Waterloo, in Scot ‘Mrs. Bennett’ gave birth to a big chubby boy, her sixth child and heir to the Bennett state. Wellesley Bennett, as soon as he opened his eyes, saw his mama and fell in love with her, then he met his other mama and sister.

Seven years later, the Bennett family faced deep sorrow and great happiness together. Jane, the elder Bennett, accepted the hand of Charles Bingley, the only son of a deceased wealthy man of trade and as she prepared her trousseau, Thomas Bennett died unexpectedly when supervising his prospering estate with his smart heir, his ever present company.

Far but not far enough, another gentleman’s son and heir of his family’s estate was in a wretched situation of his own. Fitzwilliam Darcy’s only sister, fourteen years his junior, was found in a compromising situation with a man she had no reason to suspect would have any intention of ruining her.

Darcy, eight-and-twenty-years-old, had barely made peace with his change in life – from being busy escaping the matchmaking mamas of the Ton (when he rarely took part in balls) to being responsible for Pemberley and all the other several investments his father left him. Not only the death of his father made him a respectable serious man guardian of his sister but also it fell on him to solve the situation she caught herself into.

George Wickham, son of Pemberley's former steward, had hoped to be rendered rich with the death of his godfather and when he spent the living he received in a single year, he saw in Georgiana Darcy his golden ticket. The naïve silly girl was easily convinced to elope and when found by family friends at Ramsgate, she was already in his claws. Her brother arrived too late and did all he could to protect his sister from the worst fate she could have: a forced marriage to a fortune hunter.

As his good friend Charles Bingley read his note excusing his absence on his wedding to the beautiful Jane Bennett, Darcy called doctors and apothecaries to treat his sister who had unfortunately miscarried.

If there was such a thing as star crossing, Darcy and Elizabeth’s lives were entwined in several aspects including their resilience to fate’s scheming. Their paths only met several years later.



Ready for this exciting road to love bigger than life?

Part 1


a revised & unabridged version of this story will be available on Kindle/ebook from Jan 25th, 17.