Today’s Guest Post and Give-Away
by Ola Wegner
Hi, Darcyholics! One of the delightful experiences that I have had in the land of Jane Austen inspired-fiction and my obsession with Darcy, is that I have made friends all around the world. One of them is our guest poster today, Ola from Poland. Included in her post is a little tidbit of her current work in progress. I am very happy she agreed to share with us today.
Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
February 14--Sandy Cook! Celebrating Mr. Darcy and Valentine’s Day
February 17--Nancy Kelley
February 21--Janet Taylor
February 24--Nina Benneton
February 28--Maria Grazia (My Jane Austen Book Club)
March 2--Rita W.
March 6--Ruth Oakland
March 27--Lucy S.
And Many more to come!
Ola is giving away a soft cover copy of one of her books, your choice. Entries will be based on comments on the blog post; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, Joining this site as a member!, sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend me on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, or following BarbTCole on Twitter. Please note any of these things that you do in your blog post for extra entries.
Hello There: From Ola in Poland
First of all I would like to thank my friend, Barb, for the invitation to make my contribution here on her wonderful blog. I feel truly honoured to have this opportunity.
My name’s Ola Wegner and I write Jane Austen fan fiction, as well as trying to write some original stories from time to time. I am Polish, and I live in Poland (which is a country in Europe between Russia and Germany). Obviously English is my second language, and I will probably always struggle to use it properly.
Currently I am writing a Pride and Prejudice Regency story. It is called The Final Reason, and I am posting it at a very cool forum called DarcyandLizzy.com. The story is currently a WIP, and I am somewhere halfway through, with fifteen chapters already posted. If you wish to read it, and you are not a member there yet (your loss in my opinion because they have some great stories posted there), please register. The place is run by awesome Brenda and a few others great ladies, but she is the founder.
Final Reason is a Regency story where Elizabeth had a much older brother who is great friends with Darcy. It is really fun to write and readers seem to enjoy it. In this story I was cruel and I killed Mrs. Bennet right at the beginning before Mary, Kitty and Lydia were born. What can I say? She is not my favourite character. Consequently Mr. Bennet is a widower with three children - the eldest son Thomas and two younger daughters Jane and Elizabeth. The story is told completely from Darcy’s point of view, which is challenging but very interesting writing exercise.
Here is the part of Prologue:
Mr. Thomas Bennet of Longbourn was a well-respected country squire, his family having been a part of the landed gentry since the time of Charles II. His estate, situated in Hertfordshire near the small town of Meryton, was conveniently only half a day’s journey from London. He was a worldly man, educated at university, his interests and literary leanings reaching far beyond the ones of his neighbours. In his youth, he was considered quite a catch, being considered handsome with his dark colouring, fit figure and bright, animated eyes. His attractiveness only added to the fact that he was financially independent after his parents’ premature deaths. Longbourn, though modest by general standards, gave him a good income of two thousand pounds per annum. His connections were excellent too, as his mother was the youngest of seven children born to a ruined earl.
Mr. Bennet married for love. Miss Margaret Gardiner, the young lady of his own choosing, was a daughter of a wealthy merchant from London. They met one summer when she came to visit her cousins in Meryton. Margaret, or Meg as he liked to call her, was beautiful, charming, kind and well educated— all that a young lady ought to be, in his view. She had a large dowry but no connections to speak of. The lady’s family was quite delighted to have their only daughter married to a country gentleman whose grandfather was an earl, especially as the gentleman did not care in the least that his wife’s grandfather was only a shoe maker. The Gardiners did not need money, but they craved connections and social standing.
Within a year of their marriage, a healthy boy was born to them. He was named Thomas after his father but bore great resemblance to his mother’s handsome features. Unfortunately young Mrs. Bennet died of fever three days after the happy event. Thomas Bennet was left alone with his son, devastated, and blaming himself for ending his wife’s life. Amidst his own grief, he gave his consent to have the boy taken away from him to be raised by his mother’s family. After three months, however, he came to his senses and went to London to claim his son, bringing him back to Longbourn.
Mr. Bennet was not particularly eager to remarry. Nevertheless, as his son was growing up, turning from a baby into a toddler, and from a toddler to a little boy, he observed that the child tended to cling to the skirt of every woman who came across their way. It was obvious to his father that little Thomas lacked a mother figure in his life, and that he would surely greatly benefit from the company of siblings.
Not in the mood to socialize, Mr. Bennet did not look far for a new wife. Taking the advice of his mother-in-law, he proposed to Frances Gardiner, a first cousin to his late wife. Fanny, a daughter of a solicitor from Meryton, was undeniably pretty and full of life; She smiled constantly, even if she was a bit silly. She was not intellectual for certain, and the only book she had ever been acquainted with was the book of prayers.
Mr. Bennet knew that he would never again have the deep understanding, the instant connection with Fanny as he had found with Meg, and he was not looking for it. His heart was well guarded after losing the love of his life, and he neither craved nor hoped to experience such deep passion as he had had for his first wife. Nevertheless, he was reasonably happy with his choice of new bride. Fanny was certainly attractive, her figure light and pleasant, womanly rounded in all the places where she should be. She was also most eager to please him in every aspect of their union. What counted most for him, though, was that she doted on little Thomas and the child adored her in return, not hesitating to call her Mama from the earliest days of their meeting. Even when two girls were born, Jane and Elizabeth, Fanny never stopped treating the boy as her very own.
Thinking that his life had stabilized at last with no more drama awaiting him in the future, Mr. Bennet hoped that he would live peacefully, enjoying his son and daughters. All his children were especially well made which filled him with great pride and was a source of great contentment for him. They were handsome and kind, but each one was very different from the others.
Thomas was mature for his age, very responsible, liking all manner of sporting activities, especially horse riding, and he was a fierce protector of his little sisters. Janie was, according to many who met her, the most beautiful child they had ever encountered. She was a quiet, calm and very polite little girl, not speaking much, but with a heart of gold, always bringing baby birds that had fallen from their nests and kittens which had been abandoned into the house where she hid them in her room, trying to prepare them to live in the wild once more.
Careful not to favour any of his children over the others, Mr Bennet had to admit to himself that little Lizzy was his favourite. She was the only one of his children who looked like him, having his dark curly hair and bright, brown eyes. Jane and Thomas resembled their mothers, with their blonde hair and blue eyes, even though they must have inherited his build, as they were tall for their ages.
Lizzy was a ball of energy, and her parents swore that as a babe she went straight from crawling to running, omitting entirely the walking phase. She was extremely intelligent, reading at only three years old, having great talent for music, dancing, and languages. Her father sometimes regretted that she was not born a boy as she would have been able to achieve great things. Unlike Janie, who was content to stay by her mother’s skirts all day long, Lizzy preferred the company of her brother. She loved the outdoors, shouting, “Out, out, out!” the first thing in the morning as soon as she learned to speak, pointing with her tiny finger towards the window.
When Thomas was eleven, Janie five, and Lizzy three, very unexpectedly, Mr. Bennet became a widower again. Fanny, always very sensitive about her looks, purchased an ointment from an unknown source which was promised to prevent her skin from getting wrinkles. It was incomprehensible to her husband where she saw lines on her face— she was, after all, only seven and twenty, but he kept his opinion to himself, thinking the ointment to be harmless. One night she applied it generously on her face and chest, and the next day she awoke in terrible pain. The product burned her skin, leaving ugly scars. She put a veil over herself, refusing to see her husband and children, closing herself in her room. Some time later she disappeared from the house, and though Thomas looked for her devotedly, there was no trace of her. A month later, her body was found, washed up on the river’s bank.
After that incident, Mr. Bennet swore never to take another wife, closing his heart to women, devoting himself completely to the upbringing of his children and their future. He prayed as well that none of his daughters inherited their mother’s stupidity. He planned to send Thomas to Eton, while he home schooled Janie and Lizzy himself, wanting them to attend an all girls school in London once they were older.
Using his first wife’s substantial dowry, he bought several farms bordering Longbourn, doubling his acreage and soon doubling his income as well. Some of the money he entrusted to his second wife’s brother, Mr. Edward Gardiner, who was proving to be a skilful businessman in his own right.
Mr. Bennet hoped that all these improvements and investments would give him an income of up to five thousand a year when the time came for his son to take over the management of his estate. He remembered his daughters as well, every year saving at least five hundred pounds for each of them toward their future dowries, steadily adding to the five thousand pounds each that the girls had already secured from their mother’s money.
On the occasion of his thirteenth birthday, Thomas was sent to school where he met a boy who was to become his life long friend, as well as one day in the future, a brother-in-law. Fitzwilliam Darcy was from Derbyshire, where his family owned Pemberley, a great and famously picturesque estate. The boys were assigned to one room in their freshman year at Eton. They forged a fast friendship based on the many similarities between them. They were born the same year and month, only two days from one another. They both were sole heirs to their fathers’ estates, their mothers had passed away, and they had much younger sisters whom they adored and felt responsible for. They liked sports, horse riding, and country life.
Mr. Bennet and Mr. Darcy, curious as to their sons’ fierce attachment to one another, met as well. Both gentleman marvelled that they had never heard about one another as they had both studied at Cambridge at the same time, though they had not been in the same year, as Mr. Darcy was two years older. The friendship between the boys, approved by their fathers, resulted in Fitzwilliam spending half of his summer vacation in Longbourn, while Thomas was being invited to Pemberley during the winter holidays. There was even one occurrence when Mr. Darcy stayed with his two children for a two-week long visit to Longbourn. Georgiana Darcy was still very small, barely out of her nappies, only three years old, but she was delighted with the company of the two older girls.
Everyone who will comment on this post will have a chance to win a paper copy of one of my published books of your own choosing.
Thank you for reading my post and I hope that you will check my story at DarcyandLizzy.com!