At last, after far too long, my new book is ready to publish. May I present to you Much Ado in Meryton, a P&P variation heavily influenced by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
I write quickly but edit slowly, and getting from a first draft to something I can show the world takes far longer than it ought.But at last, here we are. I am hoping to release this next month, but I’m sharing a few details here first.
Imagine, if you will, Mr. Darcy’s first insult to Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly. And then, imagine, Elizabeth returning fire, matching barb for barb and slight for slight. Now imagine Jane being laid up at Netherfield for far longer than three days, and Lizzy and Darcy being trapped under the same roof for weeks, never ceasing their verbal sparring, until everybody’s nerves are quite as fried and Mrs. Bennet’s.
Throw a sneaky scheme into the works, and some unexpected trouble from George Wickham, and Lizzy and Darcy’s story takes on a different cast.
I am still working out details, but here is the working blurb:
A tale of friends, enemies, and the power of love.
Mr. Darcy’s arrival in Meryton raises many people’s disdain, and Elizabeth Bennet’s ire. Soon she and Darcy find themselves in a merry war of words, and their constant bickering frays everybody’s nerves.
Will a clever scheme amongst their friends and family bring some peace to Netherfield’s halls? And what of Mr. Wickham, whose charming presence is not quite so welcome by some members of the party?
This clever mash-up of Pride and Prejudice and Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing casts our beloved characters in fresh light, uniting Jane Austen’s keen insight into love and character, and Shakespeare’s biting wit.
And here is an excerpt for your enjoyment.
Elizabeth and Charlotte were sitting on the settee with Miss Margaret Robinson, talking about some diverting, if quite inconsequential matter, when Mr. Bingley and his party arrived. All rose and a series of bows and curtseys ensued, with one remarkable exception. Mr. Darcy most definitely did not offer any manner of salutation to Elizabeth. He bowed to Charlotte and muttered appropriate words to Miss Margaret, and quite ignored her very existence. It was the Cut Direct if ever she had seen one. She gaped after him as he walked on.
To which, Mr. Darcy surprised her by turning to speak directly to her for the first time since the night of the assembly. “How fortunate then, Miss Bennet, that you are no lady to care.” He turned his back and began to move into the room.
What? The nerve of that man! How dare he insult her in such a way? She had, a small voice in her head insisted, started this particular skirmish, and ought to ignore his taunts and show herself to be the superior creature. But her pride would not listen to this quiet voice of reason and her mouth began moving almost before her brain agreed with it.
“How happy that his purse is full then, for the man himself is an empty pocket.” There. That should put him in his place. She ignored Charlotte’s gasp of horror at her side, as well as the tinge of guilt that nagged at her conscience.
He turned once more and glared at her, eyes narrow and jaw tight. “How happy that we are so distant from Egypt, lady, for your tongue is more venomous than all the asps in the Nile.”
“Darcy!” Mr. Bingley was at his side in a trice. “What are you doing? This is most unlike you. I know you have a hot temper at times, but I have never heard you speak to a lady like this. You were the one who told me always to take the higher path. What is this? Come away at once.”
Darcy sniffed and stuck his nose up into the air and walked away without another word, Bingley hissing into his ear. That man’s back was his best side, to be sure! If only his face weren’t so handsome.
“Lizzy?” Charlotte’s voice was concerned. She waited until the two men had passed beyond hearing. “Is it wise to make an enemy of such a man as this? I have long known you to be impertinent, but never cutting. You were quite cruel. Has he injured you so gravely?”
Elizabeth sighed. What was it about Mr. Darcy that set her so on edge? He irritated her to the essence of her being for some reason. Perhaps she was not accustomed to having anybody engage her in a game of wits. But the man was a terror. She needed to put him in his place.
Keep your eyes open for purchasing link within the next few days.