Welcome Jennifer Altman. Today we explore her novel To Conquer Pride. I'd read this story a while back and remember it fondly.
The course of true love never did run smooth...
When Fitzwilliam Darcy departs Hunsford after his disastrous proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, he does not expect their paths to cross again. Indeed, knowing the lady's true feelings for him, he makes every effort to see that they do not. But when a chance encounter leaves him stranded in an abandoned cottage with the one woman he can never have, Darcy quickly realizes there is more at risk than just Elizabeth's reputation.
Elizabeth Bennet knows Mr. Darcy is the last man in the world whom she could ever be prevailed on to marry. Until the morning he hands her a letter, his countenance as dark and forbidding as the windswept sky. Now, trapped in a snowstorm with the one person she was certain she despised, Elizabeth is startled to discover that her feelings are not at all what she expected.
But is one night alone together enough to alter the course of their future?
Can any man as proud as Mr. Darcy be expected to offer for the same woman a second time?
In this tale of serendipity and second chances, literature's unlikeliest couple must conquer pride, prejudice, and faulty first impressions in the elusive quest for their own happily ever after.
Under different circumstances the rocking of the carriage might have been soothing; however, on this brisk November day, the motion offered little comfort to the compartment’s sole occupant.
Fitzwilliam Darcy stared out the frosted windowpane, but his thoughts were far removed from the passing Kent countryside. From the outset, he had dreaded this journey. Indeed, if it were up to him, he would not have come within fifty miles of Hunsford for as long as he lived. But despite the accusations leveled at him in that very village, Darcy was a man who knew his duty, so when Lady Catherine had requested—nay, demanded—his assistance, he had come. Even so, he kept his visit as brief as possible, arriving yesterday morning and working late into the night. He spoke to no one, save his aunt’s steward, going so far as to take meals in his chambers. And not his usual chambers, either. No, he had made a point of requesting a different apartment. Never again would he step foot in the room where he had dared to dream of a life spent happily with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. The room where he had poured out his soul in that ill-conceived letter…
Releasing a rough sigh, Darcy pressed his forehead to the cold glass. Seven months. It had been seven months since his previous trip to Rosings. Seven months since he had last seen her.
Darcy’s head fell back against the cushions. Just thinking about Elizabeth was like a spill of salt to an open wound—and yet he could do nothing to stop thinking. God knows he had tried.
Oh, it had not been difficult at first. After leaving Rosings, he had gone straight to London to set things right with Bingley, and then there was Wickham to contend with. That endeavor had proven a bit more challenging, but at least it had kept Darcy from dwelling on his disappointed hopes. By mid-summer he was back at Pemberley, and though he made every effort to throw himself into the management of his estate, even the brandy he had taken to consuming on a nightly basis did little to dull his memories. For no matter what he did, Elizabeth Bennet haunted his dreams, both sleeping and awake. Sometimes she would appear to him the way he wished to remember her—her smile radiant, her expression bright with humor. But other times he recalled the way she had looked at him the day of his disastrous proposal—her fine eyes dark with anger.
Had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner…
An icy wind swept into the carriage and Darcy started, realizing they were no longer moving. Turning to face the open door, he regarded the footman silhouetted against the lead-gray sky. When Darcy spoke, his voice was tight.
“Why are we stopping? I thought I made it clear I wished to travel straight through.”
There you have it, an exciting start to another wonderful #JAFF novel. I, myself, have pondered often how Darcy behaved in the months between Hunsford and the fateful meeting with Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Some of my favourite stories revolve around his quest to become a more 'gentlemanlike' person. I enjoyed this story very much and hope you do as well.
You can find out more about Jennifer and her book on her Facebook Page. Until next week,