A feel-good variation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice!
Georgiana Darcy fancies herself a matchmaker. Determined to help her brother out of his blue spell, she decides that her new acquaintance—Miss Jane Bennet—is just the lady to fill Darcy’s heart with cheer. And while she is at it, would not Miss Elizabeth Bennet suit Georgiana’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam perfectly?
Misunderstandings abound as the characters readers know and love take matters into their own hands, leaving Miss Darcy caught unaware.
Will Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth admit they are in love with each other, or will the interference of a well-meaning girl keep them apart? What happens when the course of true love does not run straight? Does Miss Darcy learn the lesson that it is best not to interfere?
Told primarily from Mr. Darcy and Miss Elizabeth’s point of view, this charming 25,000-word Regency tale by best-selling author Christie Capps is appropriate for all ages. The print version is 114 pages.
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Georgiana Darcy plunged her hand into the last reticule from the small pile on her bed. Tipping the bag upside down, she shook it hard. Its meager contents fell to the coverlet to join the pitiful assortment on the bed. She had a pile of random scraps of paper, withered flowers, and linen handkerchiefs—but no money. Not one shilling!
Flinging the beaded purse on top of the others, she rifled through the pockets of her coats hanging in the closet. Each garment refused to yield a single coin.
Glancing around the sparsely decorated room her brother had reserved for them at the Rose and Crown, a coaching inn north of St. Albans, she knew in her heart that she was in trouble. Without money, she could not send an express to her cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam. Without Richard, she would never be able to convince her brother that she had found the one female in all of England who would make him a wonderful wife. Without Richard’s support, she would never be able to broach the subject of felicity in marriage to a brother who had been a grump since his return from Kent. Without Richard…
Her shoulders drooped as she considered her plight. Richard was one of the best men she knew, outside of her brother. He was Fitzwilliam’s closest and most trusted friend. Richard thought the answer to any trial was to buy a new horse. He had never had a serious relationship with any female acquaintance. Yet, while he may not have been the best judge of ladies, he was an expert strategist. The War Office had quickly promoted him to colonel for both his bravery during battle and his innate ability to gain victory after victory without sacrificing British soldiers. Would his skills even work with her brother and the lady Georgiana had met in the garden? She could not know.
Fitzwilliam had said that the axle on their carriage would take three to four days to repair. If the lady and her family delayed their journey, there might be a chance Georgiana could think of something that might work to get her brother and the stranger together. But what?
She sighed, dropping down onto the bed, her arm flung over her brow. She had been a matchmaker for less than twenty-four hours, and she was a failure.
Or maybe she was not? Was she giving up too soon? It had only been the day prior that she had decided to devote her life to finding the perfect match for her brother. He had been despondent since spring. Surely, a good wife would cheer him up and restore his good humor.
Sitting up, Georgiana considered her options.
First, if she told Fitzwilliam that she had begun a conversation with a stranger without a proper introduction, he would be displeased. That would never do. It would be a horrible beginning to a marriage.
Second, if she pretended not to know the lady but could somehow manage an accidental meeting between the woman and Fitzwilliam, perhaps Georgiana would need to do nothing at all—allow nature to take its course. Sigh! Her brother loathed deceit. Many times, she heard him state that his good opinion once lost was lost forever. With that said, he did quickly forgive her ignorance in almost eloping with George Wickham. So, the standard he held his sister to was different from the general populace. For that, she was grateful.
Never could she imagine being able to successfully manipulate two strangers into contact when she was unfamiliar with her surroundings. Had they been at Pemberley or in London, perhaps she could manage a way to get the lady and her brother together.
Third, she could…she could…well, she simply could not think of anything else which was why she needed Richard. However, in retrospect, perhaps Richard was not the best choice for aid. He would likely kidnap both Fitzwilliam and the poor lady, tie them together, and dump them at the first chapel he came to. Her cousin was a wonderful man, but he was not subtle by any stretch of the imagination.
“Hmm, what should I do?” Before she could consider any other options, her brother tapped on her door and entered.
“Georgie, pray accept my apologies for leaving you alone to settle in. The damage to the axle is extensive.” He ran his hand through his hair, completely unsettling the dark waves. Sitting across from her, he attempted to hide his frustration. Relaxing his hands until his knuckles lost their white color, he continued, “I wrote to Mrs. Reynolds to let the staff know we would be late. In addition, I sent an express to Bingley. The invitation to Pemberley was for Tuesday next. I suggested he wait an additional week which will allow us time to settle in.”
“How kind of you.” Georgiana added, “I only hope Mr. Bingley actually reads your letter. His reputation with correspondence is not good.”
Darcy chuckled. “No truer words have ever been spoken. However, I took that into consideration so began my letter with my request rather than burying it in the middle.”
“Then let us hope that he is the recipient of your missive, Fitzwilliam, or Miss Bingley will hurry to us as quickly as possible to ease your distress at being stranded at a wayside inn.”
“Good heavens! I hope not.” Darcy growled. “She is the last person with whom I want to spend time.”
“Yet, you invited her to Pemberley,” Georgiana noted.
“I did,” Darcy responded quickly. “Bingley suffered a… well, a disappointment he has been unable to conquer. It was for him that the invitation was extended. Miss Bingley and their other sister and brother-in-law appear to be attached at the hip to Bingley. I could not invite one without including the others.”
“I am sorry to hear about Mr. Bingley. Was it someone I know?” Georgiana asked, realizing she was going out on a limb by encouraging her brother to gossip.
“No, Georgie. You are not acquainted with the lady or her family.”
His fisted hand had automatically gone to his chest. His brow furrowed and the look of pain on his face was hard for her to see. Georgiana immediately discerned that it was a clue. Whoever had broken Mr. Bingley’s heart must have had a connection to the one who crushed Fitzwilliam’s. She vowed to herself to discover the villains and avoid them like the plague.
“Have you seen Mr. Bingley since his return from the north?” Georgiana wondered if his misery had been the same as Fitzwilliam’s.
“Unfortunately, our paths did not cross while we were in town.”
“I see,” Georgiana mused. It would not do for Mr. Bingley to meet and find comfort in the lady from the garden. She was for Fitzwilliam.
Georgiana desperately wanted to somehow arrange a way for her brother to come to know Miss Jane. She and her sister, Lizzy, were everything lovely and genteel.
“Brother, I must confess to you that after practicing my music for a bit, I strolled the gardens with Mrs. Annesley while you arranged our affairs. While my companion was distracted by the roses, two sisters were approaching. The younger one’s skirt was snagged by the thorns on one of the shrubs.” Georgiana chuckled. “Instead of becoming upset or angry, she giggled at the ridiculousness of being stopped in her tracks by something as small as a thorn. I was able to assist her, whereupon she proclaimed me a conquering hero.”
“How kind of you, Georgie.” Darcy asked, “Did you get their name? They must be here with their family.”
“I did not, as there was no one to formally introduce us. Nevertheless, the younger sister called the older one Jane.”