A few years ago, the idea for a Pride and Prejudice Variation that portrayed a physically imperfect Darcy came to me, an idea that resulted in the book That’s What Makes It Love. Doing armchair research for that book led me to discover a few key points about disabilities in early 19th century England.
First of all, disabilities were widely believed to be hereditary, whether justifiably or not. While modern medical science helps pinpoint exactly which impediments are genetically caused and which occur randomly, that sort of research was not available back in the day. As such, people tended to believe any form of disability was a reflection of unfavorable family genetics.
The above belief leads to the second point, which is that families tended to hide their differently-abled relatives from the public eye. Noblemen would leave their family members permanently in the country, some families would house their relatives in a separate cottage, and many would simply shield them from society in varying degrees. The fear that the perceived imperfection of one person would negatively affect the rest of the family socially was very palpable, and it caused families to often act unfeelingly towards their affected relatives.
Those points fascinated me, even while my heart went out to the unfortunate souls who had to bear with being ostracized on top of being disabled at a darker time in history. And while my first book did not deal too much with such ramifications given that Mr. Darcy in the story was struck blind by a childhood illness rather than suffering a birth defect, the discoveries I made did marinate in my mind until another story came along.
That story, entitled Words Unspoken, is a 14-thousand-word short story that debuts next week on Amazon. It portrays the unlikely friendship between Mr. Darcy and a mute Elizabeth after they encounter each other in the countryside. In some ways, this book mirrors my other one because while a blind Darcy could not insult Elizabeth’s looks, a mute Elizabeth could also not throw verbal barbs at her Netherfield hosts. In fact, she barely sees Netherfield at all.
The dedication for this book reads: “To the differently abled yet similarly loved.” As someone who has loved ones, students, relatives, and godchildren who face unique special needs of their own, I can only hope that I can be the kind of person who makes the world a better place rather than a more hostile one for these beloved souls.
Enjoy the blurb below and leave a comment to be included in the giveaway of 3 copies of the eBook (Note: Winners must be able to receive an eBook from Amazon U.S.). The giveaway will end at midnight EST on Tuesday, August 16, 2022, and the winners will be announced on Sunday, August 21, 2022. As per Austen Authors’ stated rules, all prizes must be claimed within 72 hours of the winners’ announcement. Otherwise, an alternate winner will be chosen. I hope you‘ll like the story!
Born unable to speak, Elizabeth Bennet remains hidden from society, her very existence denied by her family, until she is discovered by a wandering Mr. Darcy keen to escape a stifling Netherfield Park. The pair strike up an unlikely acquaintance, and their private interactions forge a friendship that grows deeper by the day.
Her insights broaden Darcy’s perceptions; his recognition opens up her world. And when circumstances push them together towards the possibility of marriage, Darcy would have it no other way.
A sweet, short Pride and Prejudice variation of finding hope, love, and family in the most unexpected places.
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