Hello! If any of you were following my blog tour for As a Proper Lady Would, you might have noticed one was skipped. Unfortunately, one of the bloggers had several personal things come up so I told her not to worry about the blog as I would use it here today. So, here it is:
We are formed by experiences of our childhood. Family and friends influence our character. Decisions, wise and foolish, direct our path. Through chance encounters and early introductions, our beloved Pride and Prejudice characters come together on a slightly different path which may, to some, defy propriety.
All the books in this series are sweet, clean romances.
In this first book of the Defying Propriety Series, we watch as Elizabeth and Darcy learn what society expects of them, while attempting to achieve what they truly desire in life. The well-known characters, as well as a few new ones, grow from childhood to a marriageable age; some reveal different facets of their personalities, while others are doomed to follow the same paths.
If you have been following the blog tour, you know that Lizzy Bennet begged her father to send her to school. Here is the scene which follows the one shared at Austenprose.
“These are your new roommates, Miss Caroline,” Esther said, pushing on the door so they could enter. Once inside, she glanced about and frowned. “Where is Miss Bingley?”
“She went to visit her friends,” the young girl said so softly Lizzy had to strain to hear her.
Esther tsked then motioned Lizzy and Jane forwards. “Miss Bennet, Miss Elizabeth, this is Miss Caroline. Her sister, Miss Bingley, will join you shortly.” And with that, she left the room.
The three girls stood staring at each other, Lizzy looking to Jane to see if she would say anything, but her sister’s countenance simply grew redder the longer the silence stretched.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” Lizzy finally said taking a hesitant step towards the other girl. “Everyone calls me Lizzy, not Elizabeth. You’re Carolyn?”
“Caroline,” the girl responded as she stood a bit taller. “My sister is Louisa.”
“I’m Jane,” the eldest Bennet said with a sweet smile.
“Oh, look, Jane,” Lizzy cried as she moved about the small room. “Here is our trunk. Shall we unpack it?”
The trunk had been placed at the foot of one of the two beds which were set against opposite walls. A squat chest of drawers sat between them and beneath the only window in the room, which was set higher than any of the windows at Longbourn. A second, taller chest stood against the wall at the foot of the other bed and a wardrobe filled the spot opposite it.
“Louisa said this is our chest of drawers,” Caroline offered meekly.
Lizzy eyed the larger of the two chests and frowned but said nothing. She and Jane opened the trunk and began moving their things into the smaller chest. When Jane lifted the first dress, Lizzy opened the wardrobe to find it filled. She huffed, then turned to Caroline.
“Must you and your sister take all the hooks? We have dresses as well.”
Caroline’s cheeks reddened, and she stepped forwards to move some of her dresses from one of the hooks. Before she could finish making room for the Bennets’ clothing, the door opened, and an older girl with similar colouring to Caroline but a narrower face stepped inside.
“What are you doing, Caroline? You will wrinkle your dresses,” the new girl demanded.
“I told you we needed to leave room for them,” Caroline whispered.
The older girl stepped forwards. “I am Miss Bingley. Since I am the eldest, I am in charge of this room. There are not enough hooks, so you will have to find some other place to put your dresses. Now––”
“That’s not fair,” Lizzy cried, stepping forwards to stand toe-to-toe with the older girl. “There is enough for everyone. You have to share.”
Miss Bingley raised an eyebrow and looked down upon the little girl. “You should have arrived earlier.” She walked to the far bed. “Caroline and I will share this bed.” She waved a hand in the direction of the other one. “That is yours. I see Caroline has shown you which chest is yours.”
“The smaller one,” Lizzy said as Jane elbowed her.
Miss Bingley’s lips lifted in a cruel smile. “Yes. I am returning to my friends. You may stay here until you make friends.” Her eyes roamed over the Bennets’ clothing and she sneered. “If you make friends.” With that, she left the room once more, closing the wardrobe as she passed it.
Jane began refolding her dress, but Lizzy snatched it from her hands.
“No, Jane.” She looked at Caroline. “We will hang our dresses. You must clear two hooks, one for Jane and one for me.”
“But . . . but Louisa . . .” Caroline stammered and twisted her fingers together.
“I will call Esther back,” Lizzy said, walking to the door.
“No,” Caroline took the dress from her hands and opened the wardrobe. “My dresses are on these two hooks. I will move them.”
Jane stepped forwards. “But where will you put them?”
With a shrug, Caroline began to cry. “Perhaps in the chest?”
“Nonsense,” Jane said as she glanced at her sister. “The three of us will share those hooks.”
A huffing sound from Lizzy drew the other girls’ attention.
“So, Louisa will have four hooks, and the three of us will have only two? It’s not––”
“Yes, Lizzy, we know.” Jane looked at her new friend. “Nothing is ever fair in Lizzy’s mind.”
“Well, it isn’t.” Lizzy stamped her foot to emphasize her displeasure.
Caroline giggled, as did Jane, causing Lizzy to huff once more before returning to the chore of unpacking. Not being made for ill humour, Lizzy quickly joined in the girls’ conversation. In no time, the trio had finished their chore and knew all there was to know of each other. They were laughing over a tale Lizzy had told when a loud bell rang, followed by running feet.
“Oh, the dinner bell,” Caroline cried and made for the door. “Louisa said we must not be late, or we will not get any food.”
Jane and Lizzy followed her into the hallway, and they hurried to catch up to the other girls who were already moving down the stairs.
If you’ve seen the opening scene I shared at AustenAuthors.net in July of this year, you already know young Lizzy is an enthusiastic defender of what’s right. She was so much fun to write (and perhaps inspired by my daughter who recently left for college).
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Next month I will start talking about book two which is coming out in December. Now, back to writing book three. 😉