Thanks for having me here, Maria Grazia! I love Italy and everything Italian, including my hubs who has half-Portuguese-half-Italian heritage. I’m Brazilian, love and live in Rio de Janeiro, have a healthy fixation with Darcy and Lizzy since I first read Pride and Prejudice.
It was love at first line. When Austen told me exactly what was going on in Darcy's head I fell for him. What I like most in P&P is their imperfection, how real they seem. She is stubborn, strong-willed; he is haughty and conceited. Well, he is also stubborn, she is also conceited… I can never tell who is more prejudiced and who is more proud.
I spent years reading fanfic, silently at first and then commenting and making friends until I gave in to a particular scene that looped in my head constantly. From the barbecue sequence from ‘Friendship of a special kind’ to today, it’s been four years, countless short stories and drabbles and six books; I can’t seem to leave Ms. Austen’s characters alone. Neither they leave me… They talk to me in the wee hours of the night, right before falling asleep and sometimes I dream a whole scene, a whole plot even! A friend teases me saying I’m slightly crazy, I call it inspiration.
The Prince of Pemberley has a touchy plot; not only a P&P ‘what if’, but a major life what if as well. Considering everyone has a specific ‘orange half’ lost in the world, that perfect matches are not optimistic delusion, what if you find yours too late? Should you find mirth in the irony or do something about it?
I keep wandering about Darcy’s arrival in Meryton: What if he had chosen to stay closer to Georgiana and, to save Jane from a sad marriage with Collins, Elizabeth had accepted his offer (Oh, dear… *sigh*) – or even fallen prey of Wickham. Darcy could have accepted to ask for Anne’s hand and they would only meet when both were already committed.
That’s what ‘The Prince of Pemberley’ is about. Fate’s whimsical delays, what’s written in the stars, leaps of faith, true love, the ardent desire to reach out for a better life one can see but cannot have. Ultimately it’s about second chances and deeming oneself worthy of grasping it.
It’s a modern story freely inspired in P&P where a British Darcy and a Brazilian Elizabeth meet by mail when teenagers but life pushes them apart for twenty years until, by chance, she finds him online. Their friendship rekindles immediately, they unite their families, share the perks of adult life and before they notice, desire is too strong to resist. That’s Book 1 – Friends. Book 2 - Lovers - follows their struggle to live apart, continue as merely friends or acknowledge the affair. When Book 3 – Partners - starts they are divorced, and the struggle now is to make their life together possible against all odds.
As my previous novels, I wrote a story I’d like to read with E&D together since the beginning; it's about their relationship, how they manage to keep together. And there is a zest of Brazil too, they are at times forward and naughty; adults with a lot at stake. High hands, big bets.
It took me more than a year to wrap a decent first draft and countless re-writings since that one. I’ve nagged my friends who have sadly been through divorces, spent many evenings over wine discussing the characters and their choices with my husband, researched online, dreamt, wept and laughed with them. The result is a very heartwarming novel in three parts, hot and emotional, funny and respectful to P&P.
I’ve got lovely covers, great paperback set and a lot of love for this novel. I sincerely hope readers will find it rewarding to spend time with these Darcy and Elizabeth.
Again, Maria dear, thank you so much for having me.
Here’s an excerpt from Book 1, a point when they start to realize friendship is an excellent fuel to love.
Exerpt Book 1 – Chapter Seven (Simple pleasures)
“The upscale restaurant he took her was an amazing place with stunning windows overlooking the city and Darcy got them a table that oversaw the London Eye.
‘This place is amazing!’ Elizabeth marveled sitting sideways to the big window while Darcy took the seat facing it, at her side instead of in front of her.
‘Can I order for you?’ He asked not waiting for her answer as the maître and a waiter hovered around them. ‘Good evening, we’d like single malt whisky, 40 years.’
‘Good evening, Mr. Darcy. I’m afraid we’re out of your favorite brand.’ Said the maître. ‘I believe we have other good options though, sir.’
Darcy pressed his lips and flickered his eyes from the man’s face to Elizabeth who watched the exchange with mirth. ‘Bring me your best. The lady will want a splash of soda.’
‘Very well, sir. Would you like stones or water as well?’
Her ‘whisky lessons’ were beginning, then. Elizabeth was making an effort not to giggle because the whole thing was ridiculously presumptuous and somehow it made her giddy. She averted her eyes to the city bellow and made an effort not to read any sensual promises in his simple offer to teach her to drink a spirit he liked – obviously he simply wanted to have her company in this too.
‘Soda is not my first choice but I wasn’t sure if you’d like some.’ He said bringing her back from her reflection on the window with the city lights as background. Elizabeth shrugged and smiled. ‘Do you like whisky with soda?’
She frowned so prettily that Darcy remembered her daughter. ‘Actually, I’ve never had whisky.’
Darcy was at first amused but then considered the weather in Brazil and thought beer was probably better, especially because Elizabeth liked it almost frozen. ‘I’ll teach you.’ She pressed her lips to contain laughter again. ‘What?’ He asked smiling and pinched her arm over the table.
A single bubble of laughter escaped her lips. ‘You teaching me to drink sound so… naughty!’ She said and he was so surprised that he touched his fist to his mouth not to laugh, but the wrinkles around his eyes gave away his mirth. ‘And whisky of all things…’
‘Bart, only you can come up with these things…’ He shook his head pressing a smile.
‘And this place is so lush… Classy, handsome and old-fashioned, just like you!’
‘Ha.’ He said without moving a muscle in his face. ‘Wait until you visit Pemberley.’
‘Is the old farm as gorgeous as you?’ She wiggled her brows making him blush and contract his face not to widen his smile. ‘Anne must be having a ball! I’m surprised she lets you wander alone…’
‘She hasn’t noticed.’ Darcy dismissed his friend’s teasing.
Elizabeth clicked her tongue and shook her head just as the waiter brought them their drinks. ‘Believe me, she did.’ She assured him watching the crystal bottle with the rich caramel liquid and the many side items.
‘I don’t think so.’ He insisted waving the waiter off and pouring them both a small amount of whisky. ‘Here.’ He gave her a glass.
‘Pure?’ She wrinkled her nose. ‘Cowboy?’
Darcy chuckled. ‘If you never had whisky, first you need to get to know it. Swirl it gently and try to inhale the aroma before taking a sip. A small sip, Bart.’
She nodded. ‘Like those wine snobs, right?’ She winked and brought the glass to her face.
He watched intently as she briefly closed her eyes sniffing the spirit suspiciously at first and then with more courage.
‘It smells great.’ She said. ‘And strong.’
‘I’d like you to have the other brand, it’s got more fruitiness. Maybe next time.’ He said watching her. ‘Try it.’
As she puckered her lips and tilted the glass gingerly until she sipped the amber liquid, Darcy found himself holding a breath and parting his lips as if he was the one about to invade her mouth. Teaching her to like whisky was a simple manner to escape her outrageous taste in beer but the way she was doing it, after she pointed it out that it sounded naughty, rendered him salivating.
She raised her brows swallowing. ‘Wow.’ Elizabeth blinked lowering the heavy crystal glass to the table.
He smiled seeing her cheeks redden. ‘Strong?’
‘Yes…’ She swallowed again, the lingering afterglow overwhelming her tongue. ‘I taste some… vanilla?’
‘Probably.’ He nodded and took a sip himself. ‘Open your mouth slightly, Lizzy. Savor the finish.’ Darcy chuckled to himself. ‘That’s what my grandfather taught his grandsons.’ He reached the small crystal bow and added a few grey rocks to his glass.
If maybe his intentions weren’t on the gutter, the situation was very alluring. The strong spirit warmed her insides, lingered in her mouth and filled her nose enveloping Elizabeth in a fog of sensations. ‘You know, Fitz, every woman we’ve passed noticed you. The horse faced blonde at the bar, the old cougar here on my left, my friend Charlotte…’
He blushed and shook his head. ‘And have you?’ He asked.
‘Fishing for more compliments, King?’ “
|Moira's Austen Shelf|
About the author
Moira Bianchi is a 40-years-old architect and human engineer addicted to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the moment she first read ‘…Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her.’ After years consuming Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in fanfiction, movies, TV series and what else; she decided to try her hand on writing and loved it.
Married for almost twenty years, mother to a tyrant prince of her own, Moira lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
‘The Prince of Pemberley is her sixth published story, fourth in Austen’s universe. Her blog ‘www.moirabianchi.com’ has several extras and short stories from this universe as well as many others, including her first adventure in petticoats – Love hurts – a Regency short romance.