Friday, November 25, 2016

Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter Blog Tour ~ Excerpt & Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! It's my stop on the Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter Blog Tour! Joana Starnes has stopped by with a lovely excerpt from her newest book! 

Be sure to read to the bottom of the page for details of a giveaway! Enjoy!

“Obstinate, headstrong boy!”

     Thank you, Candy, for welcoming me here today on the blog tour for my latest Pride and Prejudice variation.

     Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter is an early-marriage scenario where adverse circumstances compel Elizabeth to accept Mr Darcy’s hand earlier than in canon. She accepts the Hunsford proposal, which in itself is different from the original. Mr Darcy declares how ardently he admires and loves her, but instead of moving on to speak of their union as a degradation, he offers to protect the woman he loves should the suddenly precarious state of her father’s health finish by leaving her and her family at Mr Collins’s mercy (and there isn’t much of that, Mr Darcy discovers).

     So there is no clearing of the air. Elizabeth doesn’t mention Wickham, and she has no idea about Darcy’s role in separating Bingley from Jane – Colonel Fitzwilliam doesn’t get the chance to make his damaging disclosures. There are no reproaches about Darcy’s arrogance, his conceit and his selfish disdain for the feelings of others, so he doesn’t write the letter that was destined to change Elizabeth’s opinion of him.

     That change – and Darcy’s own reformation – happens gradually, once they are married, and the results are sometimes heart-warming and other times heartbreaking. Not a smooth process, far from it, and it’s made none the smoother by outside interference: an obnoxious cousin (hers), a loudmouthed and tactless mother (hers as well – poor Elizabeth!) and a most unwelcome visitor from Kent who comes to awaken Mr Darcy to his duties, only to give him the aura of a knight in shining armour. At least to start with. Please read on, and I hope you will enjoy the excerpt:

* * * *

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter

(Excerpt from Chapter 10)

"Oakham Mount" -- Photo J Starnes

     They might as well have lingered atop Oakham Mount upon reflection, given what awaited at Netherfield unbeknownst to them. Or rather who awaited. 

     They had barely made their way within when Mr Bingley’s footman appeared out of nowhere to inform them there was a visitor come to call on Mr Darcy. Elizabeth could see a passing grimace indicating he was not well-disposed towards visitors just then. Nevertheless, he said, “Oh. Did the person give a name?”

     “Aye, Sir. Lady Catherine de Bourgh.”

     At that, under her very eyes the signs of mild displeasure deepened into a forbidding sternness Elizabeth could not account for. She had seen that turn of countenance oftentimes before, and it was not a pleasant reminder of his natural response to everyone and everything he disapproved of. But she could not see how it pertained to the chatelaine of Rosings, with whom he had seemed to be on good if not cordial terms.

     Mr Darcy dismissed the footman with a few curt words. When his hand came up to clasp her elbow and the stern eyes settled on her, Elizabeth arched a brow. She remained thus as he addressed her, his voice low and hard:

    “Elizabeth, pray retire to change. I must see my aunt alone.”

     She had barely begun to wonder why the sternness was now directed at her, and also take offence at being ordered above-stairs like a child, when a well-known voice reached them from the drawing room.

     “Is that my nephew? Has he returned? Let him come in and explain himself.”

     When his hand came to rest in the small of her back, Elizabeth had the good sense to understand at last and chastise herself for her quick temper. No, she had not been ordered above-stairs, but sent away from impending confrontation. With someone who had a very different match in mind for Mr Darcy, and was not in the habit of brooking disappointment.

     “Do go up,” he urged, but this time she dismissed the harshness of the tone as wholly unconnected with her.

     Her spirits rising to playfulness at the ludicrous notion of Lady Catherine coming all the way from Kent to browbeat her fully-grown nephew as though he were a child in leading strings, she glanced up at him, laughter in her eyes.

     “Too late to run. Might as well stay and prime the muskets.”

     His mien softened instantly and his lips twitched.

     “I see you have taken instruction from Fitzwilliam.”

     “On muskets? Nonsense. He is cavalry.”

     “You are incorrigible.”


     The jocular manner, however cheering, could not last, and they both knew it. But neither of them were prepared for the sheer venom in Lady Catherine’s tone when she sallied out of the drawing room and saw Elizabeth.

Photo -- BBC

     “Shameless girl!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here unescorted at this hour? Seeking to trap him with your arts and allurements, are you? Let me be rightly understood, you have no business here and I am come to put an end to your vile scheming. Come now, be off with you. Go home!”

     Mr Darcy’s hand had moved from the small of her back to her shoulder, and the clasp had grown almost too tight for comfort.

     “Lady Catherine, pray desist,” he enunciated firmly. “My wife’s home is with me. And I would thank you for a prompt apology to her for your last remarks.”

     None was forthcoming. Instead, the lady gasped in horror.

     “Your wife? You mean to tell me you have married her?”

     “That is the meaning generally assigned to the word, Madam,” he replied crisply. “Had you remained at Rosings, by now you would have been informed of the particulars from the reply I sent to your letter yesterday.”

     So the letter he had burned yesterday morning was from Lady Catherine, Elizabeth concluded, with a belated understanding of just why he had not wished to discuss it with her. Across from them, her ladyship spluttered.

     “Nephew, this is not to be borne! There must be a way to undo this travesty of a union. An annulment – something.”

     “I have no wish to undo my marriage.”

     “Fitzwilliam, see sense, I beg you. Your mother’s fondest wish – mine – Anne’s – does all this count for nothing?”

     “My mother’s wish, if indeed it was hers, was subject to my concurrence and my cousin’s. Neither I nor Anne ever had any inclination to become united.”

     “How can you claim that? Anne treasured the prospect.”

     “Pray let me assure you she did not. I had it from her own lips. We spoke at length about it.”

     “Nevertheless, Anne will do as she is told.”

     “Aye. Sadly this holds true, all too often. However, I will not.”

Incensed and thwarted in her purpose, Lady Catherine rounded on Elizabeth.

     “Unfeeling, selfish girl! See what you have wrought? With your base arts you have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. This reprehensible connection will disgrace him in the eyes of everybody and make him the contempt of the world. His worst foe could not have ruined him more effectively. I trust you are pleased with your handiwork.”

     “That is quite enough, Madam,” Mr Darcy interjected, a steely edge to his voice. The hand still clasped on Elizabeth’s shoulder worked to turn her towards him by a fraction and his eyes warmed a very little when he spoke to her. “Muskets aside, I beg you would go up now. I would much rather not conclude this conversation in your presence.”

     “Let her stay,” Lady Catherine intervened, as always quick to go where she was not wanted. “She should hear of all the implications. Do you imagine what my brother will have to say of this? Or the rest of our relations and acquaintances?”

     “Go, Elizabeth,” Mr Darcy urged again, as though her ladyship had not spoken, and this time she saw fit to obey. She dropped a curtsy to Lady Catherine, which remained unacknowledged. All that the grand lady deigned to bestow was another scowl.

     “Ashamed of her already, are you?” she venomously sneered as Elizabeth began her unhurried ascent. “I tell you, Darcy, it is not too late. Repudiate this disgraceful union and return to your rightful place.”

     “I am in my rightful place and precisely where I wish to be,” Elizabeth heard him say, more forcefully than he had spoken while she was still below-stairs, and she continued on her way as Lady Catherine’s riposte reached her, dripping with profound contempt.

     “What – here? At the estate of an upstart tradesman’s son playing the gentleman? Rubbing shoulders with second-rate country-town attorneys and shopkeepers, and my own parson to boot? Aye, I have it all from Mr Collins, the full picture of your grand new relations. Is that truly what you wish for, Nephew? Such demeaning connections for yourself and your offspring? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?”

     By the time she had reached the upper floor, Mr Darcy’s voice was barely audible, but it still cut like steel.

     “You have said quite enough, Aunt. I perfectly comprehend your feelings. Now you must hear mine. But not here. I believe we have provided sufficient entertainment to the household for one evening. Pray join me in the drawing room.”

     Lady Catherine must have bowed to another’s will for once in her life, because nothing further reached Elizabeth’s ears as she took the last dozen steps towards her bedchamber.

* * * *

     Elizabeth remained in her apartments for what seemed like a very long time. Yet when she checked the clock, it was revealed to have been a mere half-hour, so she allowed a little longer before she sought to return below-stairs, although why she should feel compelled to do so she truly could not tell. Mr Darcy knew where to find her. As for Lady Catherine, the less she saw of her, the better.

     She was however treated to another sighting of her formidable new relation. While she was still at the top of the stairs, vaguely reassured by the continued silence, it was suddenly broken by a forceful, “I certainly shall not! Your concern is tardy. I would fain lodge at a miserable country inn along the way rather than break bread with her or spend another moment under the same roof.”

     “As you wish,” Mr Darcy’s reply came, calmly now, but very coldly. “Although you will have to reconsider if you are ever to return to Pemberley. If that day should ever dawn, I expect you to offer my wife a full apology.”

    “Never! I will not set foot at Pemberley, and neither will Anne, while she is still in residence. Nor will I welcome you to Rosings if you have the audacity to bring her.”

     “So be it. Then I have nothing more to say.”

     “I never thought it would come to this, Fitzwilliam.”

     “Nor I.”

     “She is not worthy of the strife she has caused, you know.”

     “That is a matter of opinion.”

     “You will see it one day, mark my words.”

     “I will see nothing of the sort.”

     “Obstinate, headstrong boy! This would have broken your poor mother’s heart, had she been here to witness it. But nay, she would not have permitted you to throw yourself away in this disgraceful manner.”

     “If there is nothing else, I bid you good day and safe travels.”

     There was no reply from Lady Catherine. All that could be heard was the sound of the closing door.

* * * *

So, what do you think? Is the unwelcome visit about to bring the newly married Darcys closer – or drive them further apart?

Photo -- BBC

     If you would like to find out a moment sooner, please leave a comment to enter the international giveaway of a Kindle copy. 

     Thank you for stopping by to read the excerpt and many thanks again, Candy, for the kind welcome!

It was my pleasure to have you here, Joana! Oh, and I truly enjoyed that excerpt! Thank you for stopping by!

Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter by Joana Starnes 

When Colonel Fitzwilliam’s disclosures are interrupted by the bearer of distressing news from Longbourn, Miss Elizabeth Bennet is compelled to consider an offer she would have otherwise dismissed out of hand. An offer of marriage from the all-too-proud Mr Darcy.   

Yet how is she to live with a husband she hardly knows and does not love? Would she be trapped in a marriage of convenience while events conspire to divide them? Or would love grow as, day by day and hour after hour, she learns to understand the man she married, before she loses his trust and his heart?

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Book link to Amazon - I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

About the Author:

Joana Starnes lives in the south of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle.

Joana Starnes is the author of:

* 'From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley', a 'Pride & Prejudice' sequel
* 'The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice & Persuasion'
* 'The Second Chance', a 'Pride & Prejudice' ~ 'Sense & Sensibility' variation
* 'The Falmouth Connection', a 'Pride & Prejudice' variation where Jane Austen's beloved characters are compelled to leave their tame and reasonably peaceful lives in the south of England and travel to the far reaches of Cornwall, into a world of deceit and peril, where few - if any! - are what they seem to be...
* 'The Unthinkable Triangle', a 'Pride & Prejudice' variation that dwells on the most uncomfortable love-triangle of them all. What if Mr. Darcy's rival for Miss Bennet's hand and heart is none other than his dearest, closest friend? And how can they all find their 'happily-ever-after'?
*'Miss Darcy's Companion' - a variation that explores what might have happened if the warm-hearted Miss Elizabeth Bennet were employed instead of the scheming Mrs Younge.

Blog Tour Schedule

November 17/ 
My Jane Austen Book Club/Launch Post & Giveaway
November 18/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
November 19/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 20/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt's Guide to Life/Guest Post & Giveaway
November 21/ Margie's Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 22/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
November 23/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
November 24/ Happy Thanksgiving
November 25/ So Little Time... So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway
November 26Just Jane 1813/Interview with Joana Starnes & Giveaway
November 2 / My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Guest Post & Giveaway
November 28/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Vignette & Giveaway 
December 1/ My Vices and Weaknesses/ Book Review & Giveaway
December 2/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway

* * * GIVEAWAY * * * 

It's giveaway time! Joana is offering one eBook copy of Mr Bennet's Dutiful Daughter to one lucky reader! Open Internationally! To enter, please leave a comment below! 

  • One eBook copy to one person.
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment and include your e-mail or twitter name. If you leave your e-mail, please put parentheses around (at) and (dot).
  • Open Internationally.
  • Winner will be picked randomly.
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is December 2, 2016, 11:50 PM Pacific Time.
  • For extra entries, tweet (once daily) or share on Facebook or other social media sites, and please leave link in the comments.
Good luck!

Many thanks to Claudine Pepe of JustJane1813 for organizing this blog tour!

Again, I want to thank Joana Starnes for stopping by with this wonderful excerpt! To repeat Joana's question to you, what are your thoughts of the excerpt? Is the unwelcome visit about to bring the newly married Darcys closer – or drive them further apart?


  1. Why can't we be told what was said in the drawing room, love to have known what they were.

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Darcy at his finest confronting Lady Cat at her worst - fun times ;)

      I should've got Elizabeth's maid to listen at doors, Vesper. Not Elizabeth, she's too much of a lady for that, no matter how unladylike Lady Cat is. Oh well, next time, there's bound to be a next time. Thanks for stopping by to read the excerpt and good luck!

    2. Hi, Vesper! Ha! Yes, that would be good to know! Thanks for all the tweets! -- And Joana, no doubt! There's bound to be a next time!

      Sorry for the delay in replying! I've been away enjoying the holiday with my family. I hope you all had a lovely weekend!

  2. daily tweet -

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. I love showdowns between Lady Cat and Elizabeth or Lady cat and Darcy. This one is so good, ODC standing together and then Darcy facing his aunt. Great scene, Joana.
    Congratulation on your new book, and thanks for the giveaway. :)

    1. So glad you liked it, Kasia! Nothing like grumpy Lady Cat to get them to stick together :) Thanks for following the blog tour and good luck! Hope you'll like the whole story too.

    2. Hi, KateB! Oh, yes! I enjoy a good showdown between Lady C and Darcy or Elizabeth, too! Lady C gets away with speaking her mind much too often! :)

  4. Loved the excerpt! Only made me eager to read the whole book! ;)

    1. Best of luck, Daniela, I hope you will. Thanks for reading the excerpt, I'm so glad you liked it!

  5. This sounds so good!

    patkf2007 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Thanks, Patricia, wonderful to hear you liked it! Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part :)

  6. Poor Lady Catherine - such a sweet person being treated like this!!!! �� I won't comment on the aftermath of this visit as I have already read and loved this book. (Sigh-bliss!) Just one piece of advice for the lucky winner - tissues at the ready! Please do not enter me in the giveaway.

    1. Thanks ever so much for stopping by to leave this lovely comment, Glynis, you're so kind! LOL Oh yes, poor sweet lady Catherine, no respect for the elderly in these two young whipper-snappers :D And she coming all the way from Kent on Regency roads, the poor woman!! Have a lovely weekend and hope you're reading something nice, with or without tissues ;)

    2. Good to know, Glynis! I'll have the tissues ready! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Obstinate, headstrong, boy!! For sure!

    Thank you, Candy, for welcoming Joana to your lovely blog, and for sharing this excerpt with your readers. I think they'll really love this new story by Joana!

    Have a great holiday weekend, Claudine

    1. Have a lovely Thanksgiving weekend too, Claudine, and huge thanks to you and Candy and all the other lovely ladies for this amazing blog tour!!

    2. You're welcome, Claudine and Joana! It was my pleasure to host you!

      I had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday! I hope you both had a lovely weekend too, whether celebrating Thanksgiving or not! :)

  8. I *hope* this visit brings our dear couple closer! Or at least I hope they start changing their minds a little! :)


    1. Well, at least they're giggling over priming the muskets, Maria. That's got to be a good start, says she. Question is, will you believe me ;) ? Thanks for stopping by to read the excerpt and best of luck in the giveaway!

  9. I can see why the reviewers are mentioning the angst! Thanks, Joana, for the excerpt, and thanks, Candy, for hosting it. I'm very keen to win this book! Does that sound like begging to you? I can't help myself!

    1. Thanks for reading the excerpt, Suzan, and for leaving this lovely comment. So glad you liked it, and so glad you're as keen as reading MBDD as I am to read the intriguing 'Letter from Ramsgate. Thanks for stopping by and, fingers crossed, maybe we'll both be lucky :)

    2. suzan lauder (one word) at g mail dot com

  10. Fantastic excerpt....Lady C in full flow,Darcy staunchly defending his dearly beloved wife..
    none realising the angst and heartbreak to come!!
    Please don't enter me in this giveaway,as I've read the book,and needless to say,loved it!

    1. Thanks ever so much, Mary, for your wonderful support! I'm so happy that you loved MBDD. You're so kind to stop by. Many thanks :)

    2. Hi, Mary! Thanks for stopping by! It's always good to hear from those who've already read and enjoy the story! :)

  11. Wonderful excerpt! I hope I am able to buy this story soon
    tgruy (at) netscape (dot) net

    1. So glad you liked it! Best of luck in the giveaway, maybe you'll win it. Check the other stops on the blog tour, they come with giveaways as well. Thanks and hopefully see you again soon :)

  12. I loved Elizabeth's remark about priming the muskets when I first read this part of the book a few weeks ago and it did make me smile. One of the early signs that she's beginning to warm towards Darcy. It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in the drawing room, wouldn't it?

    I'll add my warning to Glynis's though. Get the tissues ready to hand, bevause you WILL need them eventually. Please don't enter me in the giveaway as I've already read and enjoyed this wonderful book.

    1. I'm so glad you did, Anji, and that you saw in it exactly what I had in mind :)

      Oh yes, the fly on the wall! I was so sorry that I couldn't think of a way to show Lady Cat blowing off steam big time. But the story was from E's PoV, she wouldn't stoop to eavesdropping, not on purpose, and loving her as he did - and knowing his aunt as he did - Darcy wouldn't have her anywhere near the confrontation. Didn't think of the maid listening at doors in time ;)

      Many thanks for the wonderful review and all your support, and have a lovely weekend!

  13. Would love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway. priscillteh(at)live(.)hk

    1. Great to hear that, Priscilla! Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part :)

  14. tweeted -

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. I loved the excerpt, the portrayal of the characters was spot on. Looking forward to reading the book!

    1. I'm ever so glad you thought so. I hope you'll like the rest of the story too. Many thanks and good luck!

  16. Tweeted -

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. Wonderful excerpt. I am loving this blog tour! I can't wait to read!

    1. So glad you liked it, Becky! Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for taking part!

  18. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, the story sounds great.

    1. A pleasure, DarcyBennet :) Thanks for stopping by to read it. Best of luck and I hope you'll like the full story too.

  19. tweeted -

  20. tweeted -

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com

  21. Many thanks for all the tweets and RTs, Vesper!

  22. tweeted -

    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com


    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com


    meikleblog (at) gmail (dot) com


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