What if Mr. Darcy never had the opportunity to propose to Elizabeth Bennet at Hunsford, and did not meet her again until her circumstances were reduced? In Mr. Darcy's Obsession, Mr. Darcy has an even greater social distance to bridge if he wishes to marry Elizabeth. Add in some Fitzwilliam relations the loose morals typical of Regency high society who feel that Elizabeth is the material of which mistresses, not wives, are made, and Mr. Darcy has to make a painful choice between the demands of a decadent society and his personal moral sense. The background of this novel is the morally bankrupt ton which Jane Austen knew well, but did not describe in detail in her novels, perhaps because it was a given to her and her contemporaneous readers. Against this backdrop, the characters of Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennet shine brightly as they seek to find an alternative to the bounds of decorum that constrain Darcy's usual marital prospects.
The more he tries to stay away from her, the more his obsession grows...
Mr. Darcy’s Obsession has finally arrived! You’d think that I’d be used to the thrill of having a book out by now, but this one is different, because this is my first book to reach the bookshelves while it’s brand new. My earlier books first became available on-line, gradually developed an audience, and only then were published by Sourcebooks. It was always a bit anti-climactic when those books came out because so many people had already read them. This time, anticipation for Mr. Darcy’s Obsession has been building for months, readers have been talking about the possibilities and waiting anxiously for their copies to arrive, while I have been biting my nails waiting to find out what readers would think of it. I’m not used to that kind of dramatic suspense! I’m thrilled to say that the early reviews have been very positive, with great reviews from Austenesque Reviews, Austenprose, and others, as well as some very kind words from Booklist. Readers have been contacting me to tell me that they loved it, that they couldn’t put it down, that it’s my best book yet – and to ask when the next one is coming out!
Mr. Darcy’s Obsession started out as a challenge to myself. Austen’s novels tend to stay in the country drawing room and not to discuss either the difficult realities of life for those of lower classes, nor the amoral behavior typical of the ton during the Regency. As such, we have a view of a gentle world where social rules are of utmost importance. But the audience Jane Austen wrote for knew better than that. They understood that those other worlds existed in the background, just as a modern reader of a seaside romance understands that there is gang warfare in the cities, even if it’s never mentioned. I wanted to show modern readers those social realities – the less pleasant side of life in the Regency – while retaining the optimistic romantic flavor.
I also played more with original characters in Mr. Darcy’s Obsession than I have in the past. Darcy and Elizabeth remain the major focus, but you’ll also meet the morally bankrupt Earl of Derby; Charlie, a clever London urchin who becomes Darcy’s intelligencer; Mary, a peasant girl who is more than what she seems; and Darcy’s redoubtable Aunt Augusta, a hitherto unknown force of nature.
Intrigued? Want to read the first chapter? Here it is!
Thanks for joining me in the launch party for Mr. Darcy's Obsession!