Mister Darcy’s Dogs: A Pride and Prejudice contemporary novella
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the most popular novels in English literature. Austen’s stories were fundamentally comic but also delivered a thump on the head of the traditions that forced 18th century women to depend on marriage as the only road to survival. Mister Darcy’s Dogs, a Pride and Prejudice contemporary novella will be my homage to this tale of class distinction that continues to be an international best seller.
In Mister Darcy’s Dogs feisty Elizabeth Bennet and the proud Fitzwilliam Darcy now Lizzie Bennet and Will Darcy will battle their pride and their prejudices in current day England. Once again readers can hope that Elizabeth and Darcy overcome both their pride and prejudice and let love conquer all.
A very special thanks to Elizabeth Ann West whose beautiful novellas [easyazon_link asin=”B00LJK7LFC” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”baswiebmo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]The Trouble With Horses: A Pride & Prejudice Variation Novella[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link asin=”B00M0TSS6C” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”baswiebmo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]A Winter Wrong: A Pride and Prejudice Novella Variation (Seasons of Serendipity Book 1)[/easyazon_link]capture the characters as if they had stepped from Jane Austen’s pen. Elizabeth encouraged me along the Austen path knowing my writing voice is always contemporary. It was her enthusiasm for my ability to translate Jane Austen to present day that is the inspiration behind what I hope will be a most enjoyable series for my readers.
I would love to hear your comments.
Mister Darcy’s Dogs: A Pride and Prejudice contemporary novella
Churchill Hounds Best of Show might have been the most exclusive canine competition in London but at the moment it sounded as if the hounds of the Baskervilles had cornered the tastiest fox smack-center in grand Royal Albert Hall. The baying of hundreds of dogs cut the night air of Kensington Gardens as our taxi pulled to the curb. I took a deep breath, rolled up the cab window and grabbed my battered leather courier bag.
This was my older sister Jane’s first time as coordinator of the Hounds event. Through her sweet demeanor and stiff determination she had secured the Royal Albert as a venue. Never before had animals graced the revered concert hall. All gilt, velvet, and posh, this would be the first and by the sounds of the chaos within, perhaps the last dog show held in the Hall.
I leaped from the cab, my little sister Lydia close at my heels, her eyes two giant blue eggs. I was the dog psychologist able to tame the wildest beast. Lydia was terrified of anything on four legs. Sixteen going on twelve she clung to the pocket of my tan trousers with one hand, her other arm linked to the sleeve of my jumble-sale blouse.
There was no way I could have left Lydia alone at my home in the country. Not with the RAF reserves on bivouac at our neighbor’s farm. Lydia had a thing for men in uniforms and her thing grossly exceeded her common sense.
The text that launched my mad race from Pansy Corners was marked urgent with the lovely words “paying client” at the bottom. Jane had not pluralized client. Could one lone distressed dog be the cause of this uproar? The possible new client for Elizabeth Bennett’s School of Canine Manners may have created a riot in the two hours since Lydia and I left Maidenhead.
As I cut through the barking beagles, the baying bloodhounds, and the odd otter-hound, Lydia fairly climbed my back to avoid the pedigreed pooches. The toff dog owners poised their human noses in the air as if avoiding the smell of something foul. How had the upper crust survived as a class with their hooters permanently upside down? A good rainfall should have drowned them all by now.
A tall gentleman in a gray bespoke suit elbowed me in the ribs as he bent to tend to his English Foxhound. He cut me a quick look, taking inventory of my worth. My lack of salon hair, thrift shop blouse, and my Swatch watch lay claim to my working class status. Without an apology the non-gentleman turned and went back to tending his dog.
I will not tolerate rudeness in dogs or people. The gent injured my ribs and he needed to know it. I spun on the heels of my ballet flats and tapped him on the shoulder. He jumped and withdrew as if I were contagious with middleclass-itis.
“Excuse me, sir. You hurt me. An apology would be good manners as any dog would understand.”
The snob looked down his nose, which seemed to grow longer with each glaring second. “Whatever,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. He turned his back to me.
I wasn’t about to take his boorishness like a whipped puppy. With a quick stomp I mashed the heel of my shoe into the arch of his right foot and immediately melted into the chaos with Lydia close behind. The sound of his cursing rose over the howling of the hounds.
The compliment came from a tall, rather good-looking chap. His expensive suit screamed money, his expression said serious flirt. Was he the non-gentleman’s solicitor? Had I done permanent damage to the arch of an ass? Was I about to be sued? And where was Jane?
The gent extended his hand. I noticed he wasn’t wearing a wedding band. He caught me finger-peeking and smirked. I don’t know why I looked at his digits. I was not in the market for a date, not in the midst of my sister’s career defining emergency; and truth-be-told, not at all. I was determined to build my canine consulting practice with no romantic distractions, as one must not live one’s life through a man.
“George Wickham,” he said, still smirking. “Please don’t stomp on my foot. I’ve been standing all day assisting a friend in preparing his miniature dachshund for show. Have you any idea how low one must stoop to comfort such a dog?”
“I should think you would have no problem as you appear to be a low-stooper,” I said. “Amusing as you are, Mr. Wickham, I’m needed elsewhere.”
“I didn’t catch your name.”
“I didn’t throw it,” I said. Could the man not see I was in a rush?
Sure as Swiss clockwork, Lydia stepped between us. “We’re the Bennett sisters. I’m Lydia and this is Lizzie… Elizabeth.”
Wickham gave Lydia a courtesy nod but held me with his hot eyes. I felt a tingle down to my toes. This was a man who knew women. He possessed a tractor beam able to draw and hold. I pulled my anti-ingénue sister ahead of me and we forged through the tide of the escaping audience. I felt Wickham’s eyes and the hairs on the back of my neck did a wiggly dance.
“He was quite handsome,” Lydia said jumping up to reach my ear.
“Hush! Do you see Jane?” I scanned the crowd feeling my older sister’s panic.
My phone vibrated. I pulled it from my pocket and read Jane’s text. Hurry. In the front of the stage.
Cutting through the crowd and climbing over the plush theater seats, Lydia and I made our way to the enclosed circle just below the elevated stage. The audience continued to grumble as they pushed to the exits, a wave of designer cocktail dresses and Savile Row suits. I’m sure the dogs were very impressed.
I glanced up at the overhead screens; the cameras were filming. I could see Jane standing defensive guard between two basset hounds and a highlighted redhead who looked vaguely familiar. My sister’s face filled the screen, her tearful eyes impossible to hide, her blonde hair poking in spikes from what had been a lovely chignon, and her lower lip quivering.
“Jane! I’m here!”
Notes from Elizabeth Ann West ~
When it’s FUN and Successful, Watch Out!
After resigning from a corporate management job early this summer that required me to work the graveyard shift, I took about three weeks to feel sorry for myself. Facing a summer of being a stay-at-home-Mom again, I decided a little escape was in order. So I began writing again. Dusting off a 3,000 word piece I wrote back in January that imagined Elizabeth Bennet discovering Darcy, fallen off a horse, as a new beginning of Pride and Prejudice, within two days I had nearly 10,000 words. I have a three-year dry spell under my belt since I last published a novel, and this time around, I was afraid if I stopped, even for one moment, I would fail again to finish a story.
Twelve days later, a little 28,000 word novella was born and it was mine! The Trouble With Horses was a “happy shot” in the arm that I needed, and I shared it with others to read on the BeyondAusten.com forum. When others agreed, it was just a happy little story, I published it, not thinking too much would come out of it. Instead, the next morning I woke up to see it in the top 100 short reads for Literature & Fiction on Amazon! Since releasing on July 4, 2014, the novella has sold over 1,000 copies, and is quickly gaining on 2,000 sold. And it now has a sibling, A Winter Wrong that starts off a new episodic series for me, one season at a time.
The sales are great, don’t get me wrong, but finding my stride as a writer has been even more rewarding. I can dream, write, and finish these things called novellas! I’m having FUN, and that’s all that matters.
I love the JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) community. I am a proud Darcy addict and have been for nearly nine years as a reader. We need more Darcy and Elizabeth fiction, there’s just never enough, and that’s why as soon as I saw what was happening, I recruited Barbara Silkstone to join me. If anyone can write fun, modern twists, it’s her. Together we can help serve the gamut of Darcy readers, from the modern enthusiasts to the historical connoisseurs! 🙂
Elizabeth can be found at: http://www.elizabethannwestcom
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