Pride and Prejudice: Behind the Scenes Giveaway

Fifteen authors come together to celebrate 200 years of Pride and Prejudice by exploring what might have happened in the scenes Austen didn’t write. 

Comment on this post for a chance to win an ebook. 


PRIDE & PREJUDICE: BEHIND THE SCENES

 What did Mr. Darcy think when he first saw Elizabeth Bennet? How did Miss Bingley talk her brother out of proposing to Jane Bennet? And how did Lady Catherine de Bourgh find out Mr. Darcy was on the verge of proposing to Elizabeth? 15 authors of Austen-inspired fiction decided to answer these questions and more. Here are the scenes Jane Austen never wrote: ones that happened off stage, such as Mr. Collins proposing to Charlotte Lucas, and actual Pride and Prejudice scenes from the point of view of different characters. 

PRIDE & PREJUDICE: BEHIND THE SCENES is not a complete novel in and of itself. It is a collection of scenes written independently and designed to complement the original. The reader can start at the beginning or dip into any scene they choose. 

Contributing authors include Abigail Reynolds, Mary Simonsen, Susan Mason-Milks, Maria Grace, Jack Caldwell, C. Allyn Pierson, Shannon Winslow, Colette Saucier, Jane Odiwe, Monica Fairview, Diana Birchall, Marilyn Brant, Kara Louise, Cassandra Grafton and L.L. Diamond.


News of Lydia Spreads

August 16, 1812

The narrow vestibule was far too quiet for comfort. An eerie hush had settled over Longbourn since the initial news of Lydia had arrived, punctuated only by moments of Mama’s nervous episodes.

How nice it would be to be able to hide in her room, away from the work of the house, and indulge in unconstrained sensibility. But someone had to keep their home in order, and that task was much to Elizabeth’s preference. So, to market she would go.

She squared her shoulders and tucked her basket under her arm. Jane tied her bonnet and fastened the buttons on her pelisse. Poor thing looked so pale and haggard. All these days waiting on news from London had taken their toll.

Mrs. Hill handed Elizabeth a list, a long one at that. Though she did not leave her rooms, apparently Mama was well able to organize her thoughts enough to manage a detailed market list. Best not dwell on that too much.

Elizabeth tucked it in her basket and they left.

A gust of chill air caught the hem of her pelisse and tore her breath away. A storm was on its way. Had not mama yet learned the danger of sending daughters out in the rain?

She glanced at Jane, her face serene as always. But her eyes held silent notes of sadness. She never spoke of it—she bore it well. Still, the melancholy lingered and might never leave. Jane assured her that all was well, and she would rally in time. But with each passing day, it became more and more difficult to believe.

Who would have ever thought the Bennets of Longbourn would face such a situation? How much had they all learned—or had the opportunity to learn—over the last months.

The inconstancy of friends.

The flightiness of young gentlemen.

The dangers of leaving young ladies unchecked.

The fallibility of her own first impressions.

That was, perhaps, the most galling. How wrong she had been about both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham. How much would that cost them? If only word of Lydia’s folly might be contained.

Jane shaded her eyes and squinted into the distance. “Oh, look—I think I see Lady Lucas and Maria on the road ahead. Shall we try to catch them?”

“I think not. I do not fancy her company right now.”

In truth, there were few she less wanted to see.

“But why not? She has been so solicitous after Mama’s comfort, calling on her nearly every day.”

Dear, sweet, naïve Jane.

“Do you not see what a danger she is to our reputation?”

“What do you mean? The Lucases have been our friends these many years.”

“Friends who have been quick to take advantage of any situation that they might turn to their advantage. You cannot deny—“

“Do not be so harsh, Lizzy. You refused Mr. Collins wholly and completely. Would anything have changed your mind?”

“No, but that is not the point.” Elizabeth paused and bit her lip. It was not fair to use so harsh a tone with Jane. “Consider how quickly Charlotte became engaged to him, merely days. It is not difficult to believe a scheme must have been in place.”

“A scheme? I cannot believe that. Even if that was the case, what possible scheme could they have now? Do you think Lady Lucas would have wished Mr. Wickham’s attentions for Maria?”

“Hardly. Even she is not so desperate, especially when something far more subtle would serve her as well or even better. Consider, she has only to allow news of our misfortune to spread, and any attention that might have been offered to Kitty or Mary might very well turn away from them.”

Just as Mr. Darcy turned away from her.

“And they will go to Maria instead? That is a far stretch of thought is it not?”

“Perhaps, but perhaps not.  In her mind though, I am sure it makes sense. Lady Lucas is so convinced in the scarcity of eligible men that I can easily see her counting distracting suitors away from our sisters as a victory for her own daughter. What’s more, you cannot deny she has reveled in our misfortune, and has not kept secret her own triumphs.”

“You are determined to think ill of her.” Jane turned to her with that look of admonishment that always inspired a flash of guilt.

“Lydia is not here for me to vent my spleen. It is only natural I should turn it somewhere.”

“Please, Lizzy, let go of the vitriol. I am quite certain it is ill-founded. You will see. In town no one is giving this little upset any mind at all.”

“I hope you are correct.” Not that she believed it possible, but Jane would be so distraught if she offered any argument now.

The first drops of rain, cold and sharp, fell as they arrived at the baker’s shop.

“Good day, Miss Bennet, Miss Elizabeth.”  Flour smudged the shop girl’s face and apron. “What may I do for you today? Has not Mrs. Hill had her usual order delivered already?”

“Indeed she has.” Jane said, “But there are a few dainties—”

“Ah, yes, for your mum, I suppose. I ‘erd she were feeling poorly these days, take wholly to her bed, no? You ought to call Mr. Fischer. I know he ain’t your regular apothecary, but he makes a fine tonic to set any woman’s nerves to rights. Me mum’s relied upon it for years. Here you go, will these do?”

She held out a box with savoy cakes, macaroni biscuits and orange-flower biscuits.

“Yes…yes, that will be splendid.” Jane’s hand trembled as she pushed the box back toward the shop girl.

“How came you to the conclusion our mother has taken to her bed with her nerves?” The words hurt to push through her tight throat.

“Begging your pardon, Miss, but under the circumstances, what else could it be?” She tied up the box with string and handed it to Jane.

Elizabeth bit her tongue and led the way into the bracing cold and rain.

 



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21 comments

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    • Glynis on October 3, 2017 at 1:33 am
    • Reply

    That’s just reminded me that I have this book bur haven’t read it yet. I must get round to it soon.
    Poor Jane, always trying to look on the bright side and refusing to see bad in anyone.
    Her character is a little different in your Rosings Park series Maria. I’m now on Mary’s story and loving it.
    Please don’t enter me in the giveaway.

    • Agnes on October 3, 2017 at 4:53 am
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    A very realistic image of both Elizabeth and Jane in the face of the Lydia situation. It’s interesting that Elizabeth would bring up Charlotte’s engagement to Mr. Collins as an example of the Collinses’ scheming though. I prefer to think it’s because she is so upset and depressed (Mr. Darcy does turn up in her mind at the slightest provocation), not because she really resents Charlotte. As far as I remember canon, Charlotte only formed the scheme (the intention of turning Mr. Collins’s attention to herself) after Elizabeth refused him.
    I have this book, it will be good to look at it again, thanks for the reminder!

  1. I found this physically paunful. Very well done. Elizabeth is bitter, and fearing her reception in Meryton. Having lived in a town where many peopke were related and everyone knew each other’s business, I found this very real.

    • J. W. Garrett on October 3, 2017 at 7:54 am
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    Such a compelling post on the nature of the small community. How sad for the remaining Bennet girls. Lydia had no thoughts as to anything but what was important to her. Now, her sisters had to face the community. I noticed the shop girl said an order had already been delivered to Mrs. Hill. What was Mrs. Bennet about… sending her girls into town with a frivolous order and in uncertain weather?

      • J. W. Garrett on October 3, 2017 at 8:21 am
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      Ooops. Forgot to say do not include me in the giveaway as I already have a copy. Thanks.

    • DarcyBennett on October 3, 2017 at 8:27 am
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    Great excerpt, I feel so bad for Elizabeth and Jane and for the whole Bennet family. How very difficult it would have been after the news of Lydia reached the neighborhood.

    • Sheila L. Majczan on October 3, 2017 at 8:35 am
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    I bought this book back when it was first released. This clip does show how the small town of Meryton really has nothing much to keep the ladies from gossiping. They need some work of charity where they can visit the sick and sew for the orphans.

    • PricillaT on October 3, 2017 at 9:24 am
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    This is so interesting! I’d love to see how the authors fill in the blanks of the daily, trivial, personal scenes of the characters in P&P. Would love to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!!

    PS Jane’s ‘pureness’ really grate on my nerves sometimes.

    • Linda A. on October 3, 2017 at 3:24 pm
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    So sad that everyone else in the family was judged by the behavior of one member. And people have long memories – especially for the negative. Thank you for sharing and for the chance to win a copy.

    • AnitaP on October 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm
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    Wonderful excerpt. Adding to my to read list which keeps getting longer.

    • June W on October 4, 2017 at 12:08 am
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    So sad but a very realistic view of life in a small town. I wonder how this affected Lizzy’s friendship with Charlotte – and her trust in her dear friend. Jane’s shaking hand…. oh, no, Jane is developing her mama’s nerves!

    Thank you for the excerpt!

    • June W on October 4, 2017 at 12:08 am
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    PS – what are macaroni biscuits?

    1. They are much like today’s coconut macaroons.

  2. I’ve always wondered about the scenes we don’t see.

  3. This is one of those books I haven’t read yet, but I must!! It is such a great idea!! And now you are working on the Behind the scenes for Persuasion aren’t you?
    Oh, and I’m with Priscilla, Jane’s goodness tends to become annoying :))

    • Sharon Legg on October 4, 2017 at 6:25 pm
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    Oh, how juicy!! You KNOW there HAD to be fallout from Lydia’ s poor judgment. Added to THE list!!

    • Suzanne on October 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm
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    I love the idea of ‘filling in the blanks’. There is so much unwritten in P & P.

  4. This is an entertaining excerpt, Maria. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

    • Kristin on October 6, 2017 at 6:47 am
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    I’ve wanted to read this for a while 🙂

    • Chantal on October 7, 2017 at 3:38 am
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    What a lovely background story! You never can get enough P&P if you ask me! The way how the difference is shown between Elisabeth and Jane is great.

    I came to your website to find more background information about marriage at the time. Thank you so much for the effort you put in it! Keep up the good work!

    1. I am so glad you came by! I hope you stop by often as I’m adding new articles regularly!

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