Thank you Maria Grazia for hosting me on your blog! It is always a pleasure. I thought I would share a part of my new book, To Refine Like Silver, that I adore and always makes me giggle. In this scene, Darcy and Elizabeth both end up in the same bookshop in Lambton. Mr. Darcy and Georgiana had been loaned a book of thoughts by Elizabeth and he began to see the benefit of writing his confusing thoughts down. This is the afternoon after the ball at Pemberley where Darcy realized that he loved Elizabeth and also where he made the decision to pursue her. Up to that point, he kept trying to talk himself out of it. Here it is.
“Good afternoon, Miss Elizabeth. What brings you to the Lambton bookshop today?”
“My aunt has come to Lambton to do some shopping, and I asked her to drop me off here. I could not think of a better way to pass the time than to peruse a bookshop. What brings you here?”
He lifted the journal. “I suppose my purpose is the same as yours.”
She reached for the book he had in his hand and asked, “But what have you found that you do not already own?” She flipped through the blank, lined pages and looked with surprised eyes at him. “It is blank. What do you need a blank book for?”
“I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. Some of my thoughts are circulating through my mind, confusing and elusive, while others are well-formed ideas. Either way, I find I am in need of writing them down.”
“Well, it is about time.”
“I do not take your meaning.”
“You seem to fight very hard, although quite poorly I might add, to refrain from expressing your thoughts. I always see so many thoughts and emotions in your eyes, and yet you share so little.”
“It is hard for me to share my thoughts.”
“No, sir, it is not. You start by saying, ‘I feel,’ and then you finish the sentence. Try it.”
Mr. Darcy looked around for Mr. Kassing and did not see him. There was no one else in the bookshop. His heart started pounding, and his mind was reeling a mile a minute. He had made this decision last night at the ball. Was now the right time? Could he do it? Was she ready to hear it? How does one share such thoughts?
He took a deep breath and stepped a little closer. He took the journal from her hands and put it down on a table. He then took her hand and clasped it in both of his. He saw her surprise at his bold gesture, but instead of making him more nervous, it only strengthened his resolve. Her entire face showed enlightenment and curiosity.
“I feel like a different person when I am around you. I feel like you have altered me in such a permanent way that there is no going back. I feel like I have found someone I can enjoy a lifetime of happiness with. Miss Elizabeth, forgive me, but I feel like I cannot hold back this question a moment longer: will you consent to a courtship? I realize that we have only known each other a month, but I cannot imagine my life without you anymore. Please allow me to get to know you better.”
Elizabeth’s hand was warm from his hands, but it was nothing in comparison to what she felt in her chest. To say she was surprised was an understatement. He was so rich! So handsome! So wonderful! How could she possibly have won his regard?
“Mr. Darcy,” she stammered, “I must admit that unless you have been practicing expressing how you feel, you did a wonderful job in your first efforts. I feel very flattered that you even have looked in my direction. But you must know that I am a simple country girl from Hertfordshire. Why would the Master of Pemberley want to court me?”
He sensed she was not refusing him, and he took greater courage in declaring himself. “Miss Elizabeth, I have been introduced to many, many ladies, but I have never met anyone like you. You are like a diamond among pearls. Pearls may have a soft sheen, but diamonds reflect every bit of light in a room. You outshine them all. You emanate goodness. I find myself desperately trying to invent ways to spend time with you. I had not meant to declare myself today, in a bookshop of all places, but here I am, doing just that. I have no script rehearsed. I have no prepared words of admiration, but I feel like I may love you. Will you please consent to letting me court you properly?”
Tears were building in her eyes. She looked up at him, and his eyes had more love and admiration in them than she could have ever imagined. He was holding nothing back. There was no “Mr. Darcy mask” now. She smiled at him, and he responded with one of his brilliant, dimpled smiles. If he only knew what his smiles did to her! She was so nervous that she almost could not find her voice, but it finally came softly. “I would like that very much, Mr. Darcy.”
He squeezed her hand and then brought it to his lips and kissed it gently. “Forgive me for cornering you like this in a shop. I was not planning to express myself today, but you have made me so happy. Thank you for seeing past my faults and accepting me.” His joy was so full he was bursting!
“I rather think you did an excellent job for one unprepared. That book of yours will become full quite quickly if your pen can keep up with your mind.”
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt! What avid reader hasn’t thought about running into your soul mate in a bookshop? I can’t think of too many places that would be more romantic for a proposal than a bookstore, surrounded by all the thousands of perfect proposals that I have melted with as I read them! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!
I am doing a giveaway of two different prizes, so there will be two winners. One winner can choose a signed paperback of To Refine Like Silver (U.S. only) or an eBook (internationally). It is only available in kindle however. The other winner will receive a bar of Fitzwilliam Darcy scented soap from Shirley’s Handicrafts. If you do not win but want to know how to purchase your own soap, you can find it here at this link:
You can be entered into the giveaway in two different ways. You can like my Facebook page, Jeanna Ellsworth, and you can comment below. Two chances to win! Good luck, and thanks again Maria Grazia for hosting me!
About the Book
If Mr. Darcy had met Elizabeth Bennet in his beloved Derbyshire, would he have recognized her as the love of his life instead of dismissing her as someone “not handsome enough to tempt” him? This alteration of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice adds a little spirit, flirtation, and charm to everyone’s favorite characters.
Early in the summer of 1811, Elizabeth Bennet travels to Derbyshire to help her aunt and uncle settle in as new owners of Saphrinbrooke. Elizabeth is soon introduced to the estate’s nearest neighbors: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and his sister, Georgiana, who is suffering the results of a fateful trip to Ramsgate. Having endured several life tragedies herself, Elizabeth reaches out to the young lady of Pemberley. Under her radiant influence, both Darcy and Georgiana begin to look for help outside of themselves.
To Refine Like Silver is a romantic and spiritual journey where more than one of our favorite Regency characters must learn to fully rely on God. Their trials bring depth to the beloved story, and Mr. Darcy ultimately learns that our trials do not define us; rather they refine us.
About the author: Jeanna Ellsworth
Jeanna is a mother of three daughters, all whom are well versed in Pride and Prejudice; they are her best friends and the inspiration for her writing. She also proudly states she is the eighth of thirteen children. When she isn’t blogging, gardening, cooking, or raising chickens—or more realistically, writing—she is thoroughly ignoring her house for a few hours at a time in order to read yet another romance novel. Somewhere between being a mom, sister, writer, and cook, she squeezes in three 12-hour shifts each week as a Registered Nurse in a Neurological ICU. She finds great joy in her writing and claims she has never been happier.
Jeanna fell in love again with Jane Austen when she was introduced to the incredible world of Jane Austen inspired fiction. She can never adequately thank the fellow authors who mentored her and encouraged her to write her first novel. Through writing, Jeanna has gained something that no one can take away from her: hope for her own Mr. Darcy. More than anything, she hopes to prepare her three best friends to look for their own Mr. Darcy and to settle for nothing less.
Jeanna’s works include: Mr. Darcy’s Promise, Pride and Persistence, To Refine Like Silver, Hope For Mr. Darcy, and Hope For Fitzwilliam. She is eagerly working on her first attempt at an original Regency romance novel: Inspired By Grace. For more information on these books, please visit her website, www.HeyLadyPublications.com