I was late to read Alexa Adams’ book, The Madness of Mr. Darcy for several reasons. First, it was published right before I started to read JAFF. Second, I hadn’t read anything by Alexa Adams, so I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy her writing style and last, the book seemed like it may be just too sad. Darcy and Elizabeth are much older characters in this story and they’ve lived apart for their whole lives. The happy ending from canon isn’t here at the earlier stages of their lives either.
Yet, once I gathered the courage to read her story, it quickly became a favorite of mine because Alexa Adams found a way to turn a JAFF story on its head and still give us what we love in JAFF; lots of time spent together between Darcy and Elizabeth, an intriguing and unique storyline, and a wonderful HEA! What more could I ask for, really?
Well, if you ask most JAFF readers what they want after they read a terrific story, they would say, “A sequel!” I couldn’t agree more and when I found out that Alexa Adams had written a vignette to follow-up this story, I passed it around to several of my friends when they finished The Madness of Mr. Darcy. When I learned that this story was going to be published, I just had to ask Alexa Adams to visit Just Jane 1813 to share an excerpt with my readers. In my opinion, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Present is really a lovely gift to Alexa Adams’ readers and she’s also sharing a giveaway too for my Just Jane 1813 readers!
Please know there are some spoilers here, especially if you haven’t read The Madness of Mr. Darcy, so if you choose to skip this excerpt, I highly recommend reading both stories. They make fabulous reads any time of the year!
I will start with the book blurb for Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Present:
The Madness of Mr. Darcy continues a year into Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s marriage. Old demons are laid to rest, but fear of losing his newfound happiness continue to haunt our hero. Learn how old and new friends prosper and see what the future holds for Pemberley. Will the Darcy family maintain the traditions of the previous generations, or will stewardship of the land pass to another clan?
Praise for The Madness of Mr. Darcy:
“The love Elizabeth has and shows for Mr. Darcy in this book is one of the most beautiful I’ve read.” – Rita Deodato, From Pemberley to Milton
“Truly a brilliant and original concept! And kudos to Alexa Adams for executing it perfectly.” – Meredith Esparza, Austenesque Reviews
Enjoy this delightful excerpt:
“Sit down, Mr. Scott,” Mr. Darcy said as he slowly made his way into the room, taking his own place behind the mahogany desk that had been his father’s and grandfather’s before him. He placed his hands on the edge reverently, suddenly struck with the notion that his own son might, one day, call it his own. As quickly as it arose, he suppressed the thought. All that mattered right now was Elizabeth.
“What course of action do you prescribe for Mrs. Darcy’s treatment?’” he asked the still standing man tersely.
The apothecary hopped into his chair and began to speak rapidly. “Mrs. Darcy has suffered a mild contusion to her skull.”
“If it is mild,” he was interrupted, “than why is she unconscious?”
“Head injuries are unpredictable things, Mr. Darcy, but there is no reason not to expect her to awaken shortly. She has a few minor bruises, but the babe seems to be unharmed, which must be of some relief.” Still convinced that news of a conception was universally delightful, the foolish man continued, “May I be the first to offer my congratulations?”
Mr. Scott was only saved from having his neck rung by a sarcastic voice at the door. “For one who claims to attend the health of the parish, Scott, you are doing a damned poor job of safeguarding your own.” George Wickham scoffed from his bath chair. “Can you not see the glint of murder in Darcy’s eye? Trust me, it is present. You had best make a hasty retreat.”
The apothecary looked between one man’s disfigured jeer and the other’s glistening eyes and said softly, “I will impart my instructions to Mrs. Darcy’s attendants,” before hastening for the door.
Wickham rolled himself into the room, shutting the door behind him. “What a jackass!” he proclaimed. “If I did not owe my life, such as it is, to the man, I would throttle him myself.” Mr. Darcy slumped dejectedly into his chair while his friend surveyed the spectacle. He has been amongst the first Reynolds had notified of Elizabeth’s accident, and it was clear to him that he had arrived just in time. “Send a letter to Sir Edding in Manchester explaining the case. He will either come himself or make a recommendation for someone else who specializes in head injuries.”
“Yes. Precisely!” Darcy immediately pulled a thick piece of paper from the top drawer of his desk and took up his pen, relieved to have a course of action to which to cling. Wickham watched on in silence while Darcy completed the task, dusted, signed, and sealed his missive, and rang for a footman to send it express.
When the two men were again alone and Darcy had resumed his seat, he leaned forward and asked, “What next?”
George wheeled himself to look out the window. He never could bear to have Darcy’s perfect face glaring into his own mess of scars. “I cannot say until I know all. I presume Mrs. Darcy is not only burdened with a bump on the head, but that there is some other reason for which you turned on poor Scott?”
There was a long pause before the terse reply. “Elizabeth is with child.”
Wickham’s smile was well-concealed from Darcy, but he repressed it nonetheless. “I imagine that complicates things. You did inform Sir Edding?”
“Then we shall just have to do our best for her until in receipt of his advice.” He wheeled himself back around, now that Darcy was brooding on a non-existent spot on the wall. “I shall remain at Pemberley, if you do not mind, until we have more information.”
Darcy nodded his acquiescence, murmuring, “Reynolds will find a suitable room for you on the ground floor.” A sudden thought lifted his head. “Richard has been notified. So has Mrs. Bingley. Either might make an appearance.”
“If and when they show up, I will return to my cottage, but in the meantime I think you need a friend on hand. If nothing else, I can keep Scott from causing further aggravation.”
“I appreciate it, George. Thank you,” Darcy said dejectedly.
Wickham, seeing he wanted time alone, began to move towards the door. “One other notion occurs to me.” He paused with his hand on the knob. “Why not write to Sir Frederick? His unique assistance might be just what you require should Elizabeth’s recovery proceed more slowly than we would hope.”
Darcy shook his head vehemently. “Dr. Wilson cannot just up and leave Ramsey House on the instant.”
“Yet he would surely like to know what has occurred to his former matron and friend,” Wickham pressed.
“Yes. You are correct. I will write to Sir Frederick and apprise him of the situation, but I will not ask him to abandon his work. I shall weather this. I will not succumb,” Darcy asserted shakily.
“And your friends are here to help bolster you up, old man. Always remember that you are not in this alone.”
Darcy confronted Wickham with shining eyes. “Thank you, George.”
Wickham smiled wryly before turning the knob, but his progress out of the room was impeded by Mrs. Apple, whose ample form filled the opening. “The mistress is awake, Mr. Darcy!” she excitedly declared. “She wants to see you.”
Bath chair, invalid, and corpulent cook notwithstanding, Darcy was through the door and storming up the stairs in an instant.
I bet you are tempted to read this story now, aren’t you?? Quite a different take on the Wickham and Darcy relationship. And wait, Mrs. Darcy is with child??? Oh, this is such a dreamy must-read!!
Meet Alexa Adams:
A devoted reader of Jane Austen since her childhood, Alexa Adams is the author of Darcy in Wonderland, The Madness of Mr. Darcy, Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice (First Impressions, Second Glances, and Holidays at Pemberley), Emma & Elton: Something Truly Horrid, Jane & Bingley: Something Slightly Unsettling, Becoming Mrs. Norris, and the short story collection And Who Can be in Doubt of What Followed?: The Novels of Jane Austen Continued. Alexa is an American expat living in Switzerland with her husband and daughter. She blogs about Austen and Austenesque literature at alexaadams.blogspot.com, is a contributing member of AustenAuthors.net, and a founding member of the Jane Austen Society of Switzerland.
It’s Giveaway Time!
Alexa Adams has kindly brought a giveaway with her to Just Jane 1813. Please leave a comment on this blog post no later midnight, ET on December 22nd to enter a giveaway of either an eBook of this story. The winner will be announced on this blog after this date. This giveaway is open to international readers too!
Thank you to Alexa Adams for your lovely excerpt and your generous giveaway for my readers. I hope readers enjoy this fabulous duo and thank you for publishing this sequel novella!
Alexa Adams is expecting a baby any day now. I wish her and her family the best of health and happiness!
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