Tuesday, 20 October 2015


Glad to be hosting again Joana Starnes, this time on occasion of her promoting tour for The Unthinkable Triangle. Ready to discover more about her new intriguing variation of Pride and Prejudice?

Book Blurb - All is fair in love and war – or is it? What if Mr. Darcy’s rival for Elizabeth Bennet’s affections is not some inconsequential stranger, but his dearest, closest friend? How is he to reconcile the claims of loyalty and kinship with the urge to pursue his heart’s desire?

Author Guest Post

Many thanks, Maria Grazia, for having me here today. It’s always wonderful to be your guest, and I greatly appreciate your warm welcome at My Jane Austen Book Club, on the blog tour for the launch of my latest book, The Unthinkable Triangle.

We are all familiar with the courtship dance of our favourite couple, in the original novel as well as in countless variations. The aloof gentleman, drawn against his better judgement to a pair of fine eyes and the playful, pert disposition of one who, instead of fawning upon him like the majority of his acquaintance, persists in challenging him at every turn. And then there is the opinionated lady, with her deep-set prejudice against him, for valid reasons as well as not so valid ones. They meet, the spar, they part. They meet again, they argue heatedly, and then they part once more. And just as they begin to understand each other, they are drawn apart again, by all manner of adverse circumstances.

But what if they are not? What if the adverse circumstances are as such that, instead of drawing them apart, they constantly bring them together? What if Elizabeth’s prejudice against Mr Darcy, on account of Mr Wickham’s lies, is removed very early in the story? What if she has the opportunity to learn firsthand what he is really like? What if she has a very valid reason to be often in his path? A frequent presence in his house. A close friend of his sister’s. What if she is almost part of the family – almost, but not quite?

All things come at a cost, and the price Mr Darcy has to pay for Elizabeth’s company is very high indeed. Because in The Unthinkable Triangle she is often in his path as his future cousin. As his dearest friend’s betrothed. And he is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. He is caught between loyalty and love.

Would you like to take a peek into Mr Darcy’s drawing room? Yet again, at Georgiana’s invitation, Elizabeth and her sister Mrs Bingley are staying briefly at the Darcy townhouse. Thus, our favourite characters are once more thrown together. They meet, they talk – but this time they do not spar. Instead, she gets to know him and offers him kindness. But can he fool himself into believing this could ever be enough?

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Read and Excerpt from The Unthinkable Triangle

Bingley estimated he would be absent for a se’nnight and in due course he set off, while his wife and Elizabeth came for their all too brief sojourn in Berkeley Square, as arranged. So Darcy would see her at breakfast and at dinner. Find her in the library, when he would wander in there for no reason. Hear her in the music room, where she would sit with Georgiana, taking turns in playing on the pianoforte. Or covertly watch her in the drawing room, as she would help his sister entertain the endless horde of females whom he could not but find vexing and unwelcome, devoid of charm and beauty and falling short in everything when measured against her.

They had been apportioned more than their fair share of visitors that day as well and, as soon as the last one was finally escorted out by the obliging Simon, Georgiana breathed an obvious sigh of relief.
“Hopefully now we might have our time to ourselves. ‘Tis hard to believe sometimes how busy our mornings have become of late,” she could not help remarking, then instantly regretted it, for she was loath to have her brother know she felt imposed upon. She was glad of Elizabeth’s assistance when her friend gave a little laugh and airily observed:
“Do you suppose a note might have been put in the paper to let it be known that Mr. Darcy is in search of a wife?”
And then she turned to Georgiana’s brother to offer with a smile:
“I hope you would also find affection into the bargain, Sir, although if you do not mind me saying, it does not appear very likely with anyone from the last contingent.”
Darcy set his teacup down and, to her sadness, Georgiana heard him say matter-of-factly, “I am not seeking a marriage of affection, Miss Bennet.”
Promptly, Elizabeth voiced the question that Georgiana did not dare ask:
“Whyever not?”
At first it seemed that the only answer she would get would be a mere shrug, but in the end he added as somewhat of an afterthought:
“Because the world is misaligned and the quest for a love-match is seldom rewarded.”
“Then let us pray the world would mend,” Elizabeth exclaimed with feeling. “Forgive me for intruding on such a private matter, Mr. Darcy, but I believe you deserve much better than a loveless union.”
“I thank you for your kind concern,” he retorted crisply. “Ladies, would you excuse me?” he added and stood, and then was gone.
“I fear I have offended your brother yet again with my propensity to speak too freely and go where I am not wanted,” Elizabeth said wistfully once they were left alone, but Georgiana hastened to put her mind at ease.
“Pray, do not regard it. He is too good to take your words amiss and I, for one, was very glad to hear you say as much to him. I have long wished I dared make the same plea, for I dread him marrying for sheer duty. To me, to the estate. I wish him to be happy and I fear he would not be, were he to offer for any of those ladies.”
“This is my fear also.”
“I must sound positively awful, just like a horribly jealous sister,” Georgiana exclaimed in clear remorse, and resumed without allowing Elizabeth to intervene and reassure her. “’Tis but my fear that they would be ill-suited. I do not wish to cast aspersions on them all and distrust everybody’s motives. Some of these young ladies might be genuine, and pleasant enough,” she saw fit to retract the sweeping censure. “Miss Wyatt, for instance. She seems rather sweet and kind, as does the youngest Miss Grantley and her cousin. And perhaps Miss Hewitt too. And Lady Morley’s daughter, although… Oh, I do not know! I wish Richard were here, he would know how to advise him,” she sighed, then brought her fingers to her mouth in sudden contrition. “Forgive me, Elizabeth. You must wish for his return as well, and for better reasons. Why did he have to throw himself in danger’s path again, after everything that happened?” she incautiously voiced the thought that had been with her for months, before she realised what it was that she was saying. “Goodness! Whatever has got into me today to make me say all the wrong things, over and over?”
“Pray, do not fret,” Elizabeth entreated as she endeavoured to fight off the turmoil brought by Georgiana’s words, for she had asked herself that very question too often to count, and every time she had come to no reassuring answer. “Might there be something in the tea, do you imagine, to make us both say things we wished unsaid?”
“I should imagine not, otherwise it might have affected my brother as well. He too had the tea, if I remember rightly,” Georgiana replied in the same jesting vein, and her countenance brightened.
Elizabeth was pleased to see that her attempts at light-hearted repartee had borne fruit. She only wished it would be as easy to gain Mr. Darcy’s pardon for her untoward interference in his affairs.
An encounter in the downstairs parlour an hour later gave her the chance to try. She was sitting by the fireplace with her book, waiting for Georgiana to return from a conference with her housekeeper and for Jane to emerge from the daily rest her condition required, when the door suddenly opened to admit Mr. Darcy. He froze in his tracks, as though he had expected the parlour to be empty.
“Forgive me. I thought…” he hesitantly offered.
“That no one was here?” Elizabeth finished for him with a rueful smile.
“Not at all! I did not mean…”
“Nevertheless,” she came to his rescue, “this gives me as good an opportunity as any to apologise.”
“Whatever for?”
“My earlier comment, in the drawing room.”
“Pray do not. I know it was said in kindness and… I do appreciate it,” he added with manifest difficulty.
“You are very gracious.”
“I am not. I was not. Miss Bennet, I must beg your pardon– ”
“Mr. Darcy, we simply cannot continue in this manner,” she cheerfully interrupted. “We seem to have been apologising to each other more or less constantly for many months now, and I think we ought to have some variety in our conversations. So let me change the subject by saying that perhaps it is time to cease being so very formal. As we are to be cousins, can I not persuade you to address me by my Christian name?”
He bowed, but she still glimpsed his countenance for long enough to see that his lips tightened.
“I would be honoured,” Elizabeth heard him say.
“I thank you. And might I be allowed the same liberty? Oh, how foolish of me,” she exclaimed with a hint of laughter. “After all this time, I find I do not know your Christian name.”
For some reason that she could not fathom, he swallowed hard, and at last he answered.
“I beg your pardon?”
“My Christian name, Miss Bennet – Miss Elizabeth – is Fitzwilliam,” he quietly elaborated. Then he excused himself and left the parlour, without taking the time to seek whatever he might have walked in there for.

Fitzwilliam Darcy. Fitzwilliam. How strange that she had never known. Yet perhaps not so. To the best of her knowledge, Georgiana uniformly addressed him as ‘Brother’ and spoke of him likewise when he was not there. As for the others – Richard, Charles, his relations and general acquaintances – she had only heard them call him ‘Darcy’.
Fitzwilliam Darcy. There was resonance in the uncommon name, a stately ring to it which, if anything, made addressing him by his Christian name seem even more formal, and not less.
Elizabeth turned under the counterpane in the same comfortable chamber that had been hers before, and closed her eyes. Yet a moment later they flashed open and she turned on the other side, with something of a huff. She had begun to regret having asked him what his first name was, especially as he had seemed rather displeased about it. Besides, her intended purpose was not served, for she felt she could not possibly address him thus.
Then… what? Cousin? That was presumptuous. They were not related yet.
William? Wills? Will? Or something in that vein? Of course not, she would never dare! No one of his acquaintance had used such appellations in her hearing, and it would be far too forward of her to be the first.
And yet – Fitzwilliam? No, he would have to remain Mr. Darcy to her, and hopefully he would not think her distant, especially after prompting him to address her by her Christian name. Whatever had possessed her? Now she would have to find creative ways of speaking to him while avoiding the use of his name altogether.
She tossed and turned under the counterpane, dismayed that her attempts at friendliness always seemed to serve her ill where Mr. Darcy was concerned. As yet, she did not begin to wonder why it was so thoroughly unthinkable for her to address him as Fitzwilliam, and so she eventually drifted into peaceful slumber, blissfully ignorant of the storm to come.

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I hope you have enjoyed the peek into Mr. Darcy’s townhouse. If you would like to see what happens next, please take your chances in the rafflecopter form below this post to win a Kindle copy of The Unthinkable Triangle. The giveaway is available internationally. Thanks for stopping by and many thanks again, Maria Grazia, for having me as your guest today!

                                                                             Joana Starnes

About the author

Joana Starnes in Bath with ... Mr Wickha
Joana Starnes lives in the South of England with her family. A medical graduate, in more recent years she has developed an unrelated but enduring fascination with Georgian Britain in general and the works of Jane Austen in particular, as well as with the remarkable and flamboyant set of people who have given the Regency Period its charm and sparkle. She has published five Austen-related novels, all available at Amazon in print and Kindle version:

v  From This Day Forward ~ The Darcys of Pemberley ~ A Pride & Prejudice sequel
v  The Subsequent Proposal ~ A Tale of Pride, Prejudice and Persuasion
v  The Second Chance ~ A Pride & Prejudice – Sense & Sensibility Variation
v  The Falmouth Connection ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation set in Poldark territory
v  The Unthinkable Triangle ~ A Pride & Prejudice Variation, where loyalty comes at loggerheads with love

You can connect with Joana Starnes on http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk ; http://www.facebook.com/joana.a.starnes ; http://www.twitter.com/Joana_Starnes or visit ‘The Unthinkable Triangle Facebook page’ for details of giveaways and lots of images that have inspired this story.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


PdxIrishGirl said...

Wonderful excerpt! Thank you for this
"taste" and the giveaway.

Joana Starnes said...

Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Best of luck.

Barbara Silkstone said...

I am so enjoying The Unthinkable Triangle. A most delightful approach. You are so very fortunate to live in England. I wish... I wish... :)

dstoutholcomb said...

lovely excerpt!


Betty Madden said...

This was one more variation that I enjoyed very much. Buy it if you have not read it and don't win a copy. I'm eager to read anything Joana writes and buy her work bypassing KU and Sample opportunities, confident I will not be disappointed.

Thank you for the continuing pleasure, Joana.

Joana Starnes said...

Thanks for stopping by, Barbara!
Wonderful to hear you're enjoying it :)

Joana Starnes said...

Thanks, Denise, I'm so glad you liked it!

Joana Starnes said...

Thanks so much for stopping by and for the kind words, Betty!
I'm so glad you liked this book and my other ones, it's great to hear that!

Anonymous said...

I have to get this book, and soon!!! Any way I can...

oloore said...

Among all authors of P&P variations I have read so far, Joana Starnes torments Mr.Darcy the best! She invents and implements such exquisite bitter-sweet struggles and challenges for him, that when reading her books my heart always skips a beat and feels so much compassion for poor Mr.Darcy:) And, of course, demands to have more!:)

Joana Starnes said...

Fingers crossed, tgruy :) Just a couple more giveaways left, I think, so fingers crossed. Thanks for following the blog tour and I'm so glad you've enjoyed it. Best of luck!

Joana Starnes said...

Thanks ever so much for the kind words, oloore, I'm over the moon that you think so! Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely comment, much appreciated!

Anji said...

Hi Maria and Joana.. Yes, Joana, it's me again! Oh dear, what are we going to do with the pair of them? She's happy with him calling her Elizabeth but can't call him Fitzwilliam. That should tell her something about her feelings towards him. So, are you torturing her this time?

Joana Starnes said...

Great to see you, Anji! Thanks for coming over, I LOVED the comment. Yep, I think it's Elizabeth's turn now, and about time too ;) But hang on, we haven't talked about it, is THIS legal? Or is it OK just to torture Darcy?

Dung Vu said...

Oh no, I don't think Elizabeth know what kind of emotional storm she created by asking Darcy to address her my her Christian name and vice versa!

Joana Starnes said...

From the frying pan into the fire, Dung Vu ;)
Thanks for stopping by to read and comment and good luck!