I’m excited to reveal the cover of my upcoming novel, A Sister’s Sacrifice. At present, I’m hoping to publish the book at the beginning of November, but some personal issues recently arose which may delay that. Regardless, I should manage to publish it sometime this year, so let us proceed!
First, the synopsis:
Elizabeth Bennet is concerned when her sister Jane seems uninclined to invite her to London to meet Jane’s fiancé despite having earlier indicating her intent to do so. Determined to remedy the situation, Elizabeth decides to stay with her aunt in London, thereby forcing the truth of Jane’s circumstances to rise to the surface.
It is in London that Elizabeth meets Fitzwilliam Darcy and his younger brother, a rake of a man who is more interested in dalliances with women than in maintaining the small estate bequeathed upon him by his father. Despite Darcy’s great efforts, his brother simply refuses to listen to reason and curb his excesses, leaving Darcy at a loss concerning how to proceed.
Because both Elizabeth and Darcy are so focused on their siblings, neither expects to catch the other’s eye. But as they spend more time together, they find themselves to be willing allies and perhaps even something more. If they work together, is it possible to ensure that all parties involved will achieve happiness? Or will the sacrifice of Elizabeth’s sister proceed, causing sorrow to enshroud the future and forever banishing any hopes for marital bliss?
Now, the excerpt:
The notion that everyone but Elizabeth was privy to some secret concerning the circumstances of the engagement was beginning to gain more ground, but since a ballroom was not an appropriate place for any such secret to be unearthed, she resolved to quit her current line of questioning for the time being.
“Mr. Bingley had high praise for Pemberley,” said Elizabeth, changing the subject.
A flicker of relief flashed over Mr. Darcy’s face, to be replaced with something like pride. “Bingley has inquired more than once as to whether there is a figure that could convince me to part with my estate.”
“Might I inquire as to what your response was?”
The pride in Mr. Darcy’s face could not be mistaken now. “I told him all the money in England could not convince me to part with it.”
Elizabeth laughed. “It is a marvel, then, that he continues to pester you.”
“I think Bingley’s persistence is more of a testament to the greatness of the estate than any tenacity on Bingley’s part.”
“You must truly love your home.”
Elizabeth tilted her head as she regarded him. Both the warmth in his voice as he spoke of Pemberley and the slight smile that touched his lips transformed him, wiping away any traces of awkwardness. She suspected he could wax eloquent on his estate with little prodding. She was much the same with regard to her beloved walking paths at Longbourn; in that, she and Mr. Darcy seemed to be kindred spirits.
“Your brother must benefit greatly from your estate knowledge,” said Elizabeth.
“I suppose,” said Mr. Darcy simply in return.
Elizabeth could feel him withdrawing from her due to the reference to his brother, so she cast about for a different subject. “When you spoke of your sister earlier, there was a certain softness to your features that seemed to indicate a particular fondness for her.”
“I am indeed very fond of Georgiana,” said the gentleman warmly. “In many ways, she is much like me, for she possesses a natural reticence that makes her uncomfortable in strange company. She is not yet out, and while Henry believes she should be, the decision does not rest on him. Rather, my cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, shares the guardianship of Georgiana with me. As my father passed away six years ago, following the death of my mother, I was scarcely of age myself to take over Georgiana’s guardianship; Henry certainly was not.”
“I suppose your sister must have been quite young at the time,” said Elizabeth tentatively.
“There is a difference of twelve years between us,” said Mr. Darcy, “so she was but ten at the time.”
“It must have been difficult for her to lose her parents at so young an age,” said Elizabeth. As she spoke, however, she looked on Mr. Darcy with sympathy, knowing it must have been difficult for him as well.
“Their deaths were a great blow to us all,” said he, providing confirmation of her thoughts. “When my father was alive, Henry would have found a way to turn dust to gold had my father only requested it of him, and I scarcely felt ready for the guardianship of my siblings, much less the other responsibilities that had been thrust upon me. I fear Georgiana had the worst of it, though, for what could I, a young man, have known about raising a girl to adulthood?”
Mr. Darcy glanced at Elizabeth suddenly, as if he realized he had spoken his innermost thoughts aloud. He turned his head away, and then, in a tone meant to lighten the emotion of the conversation, he said: “I understand your parents are no strangers to the trials and tribulations of raising a young woman.”
Willing to allow the conversation to touch on less sensitive matters, Elizabeth said: “Certainly, as there are five Bennet daughters, my parents can claim intimate knowledge of the hardships involved in raising girls. Jane provided them no difficulties, of course, but I must have been quite a bit more work for them. Mary is the third-born, and she is more interested in creating moral extracts and practicing the pianoforte than in pursuing lace or dance partners. Kitty and Lydia, however, have proven themselves to be much more challenging. Though Lydia is the youngest, Kitty tends to follow Lydia in whatever she does. I believe their current separation will serve to benefit both of them.”
Though she had spoken more than she had intended, Elizabeth supposed it only proper that Mr. Darcy become better acquainted with the personalities of her sisters, and she smiled and said: “I suppose not every family has the benefit of two male heirs.”
Mr. Darcy gave her a serious look. “Indeed. I understand there is an entail on your family’s estate.”
Though surprised to find him aware of the entail, Elizabeth knew it was not exactly a secret. After all, Mrs. Bennet had once been fond of complaining about the existence of the entail to anyone who would care to listen.
Elizabeth said as much to Mr. Darcy, telling him: “Indeed, there is. It was a favorite topic of my mother’s to bemoan until Jane’s engagement came about.”
An odd expression came over Mr. Darcy’s face. “Yes, I suppose the engagement did much to relieve your family’s burden.”