Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future (Darcy Saga Prequel Book #2) by Sharon Lathan
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet will soon be joined in Holy Matrimony!
The initial month of their Season of Courtship has passed. Together, the lovers strengthened their bond through honest communication, as they dealt with adversity, jealousy, and distrust. Ever growing in mutual love and understanding, a dramatic confrontation broke through the final barriers.
Now their Hope of the Future “happily ever after” is assured!
As long as Lady Catherine can be stopped in her scheme to interfere, that is. Or, will Mrs. Bennet’s bad advice ruin future marital felicity? Might increasing liberation lead to overwhelming passions that cannot be controlled, with catastrophe a result?
Continue the journey begun in Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. Delight in their flourishing romance, ride along on their escapades in London, and be a witness at the wedding of the century.
The miraculous design of how Two Shall Become One begins before the sacred vows.
Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is Volume 2 of the “prequel duo” for Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga sequel series to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Good morning! I hope everyone had a great start to the week. Today I am here to share a guest post from an author who has played an important role in my JAFF reading journey: Sharon Lathan. As the author of several popular Darcy & Elizabeth books, Sharon has enjoyed a lot of success as a JAFF writer. When I began my own JAFF obsession, her series was one of the first ones I ever read and today I am glad to have her here to share her long-awaited prequel, Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future.
Sincerest thanks to Claudine for welcoming me to the blog today! It is a true joy sharing my latest novel with the Just Jane 1813 visitors. Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future is the second book in the two-volume Darcy Saga Prequel Duo, which began with Darcy and Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship. These two novels perfectly fit with my Darcy Saga Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, the series now including nine lengthy novels and one novella.
My series contains a whole lot of the Darcys living the dreamed of happily ever after, but before the “ever-after” can happen they must get married. With weddings in mind, today I am covering a brief history on wedding flowers, and then inviting everyone to play the bouquet game. Read on!
Wedding Flowers: A History and Bouquet Game
Flowers have been an integral part of any special ceremony dating back to the earliest recorded history, and presumably long before anyone jotted the fact down in an indelible manner. The importance of a matrimonial ceremony to all cultures since the dawn of creation translates to the likelihood of flowers appearing at weddings for just as long.
The ancient Greeks are credited with first specifically noting the inclusion of flowers at a wedding. Garland wreaths worn atop the bride’s head or around her neck were woven of flowers and plants, such as sweet-smelling herbs, laurel and holly, and even wheat and other grains. Flowers added color, fragrant aromas, and freshness. In periods where cleanliness wasn’t easily accomplished and noxious odors were prevalent, masking with pleasant smells was logical. Also, instilling a measure of nature into the ceremony held deep significance, partially from pagan fertility beliefs, but also due to the elemental aspect of life and creation reflecting the sacred purpose of marriage.
Bouquets of flowers and leafy plants tied together with ribbons and lace fulfilled the same purpose as the Greek’s garland. Variations to the theme arose from culture to culture, for instance, candles were popular in Germany, while herbs held and tossed onto the aisle were traditional in Sweden. England is noteworthy for the invention of the “flower girl” spreading blossom petals in front of the bride as a blessing for long life and happiness.
The important point to take away from the above paragraphs is that flowers were not originally included for their beauty as a decoration, but for the symbolism, superstitions, and practicality. By the Regency, superstitions were no longer adhered to and improved hygiene eliminated some of the odiferous concerns. What remained was the symbolism of flowers and the sheer beauty of a floral bouquet.
However, despite the love of flowers for weddings, Regency marriage ceremonies were solemn events and churches were considered supremely sacred places of worship. A bride commonly held a flower bouquet, but a small one of a simple design. Additionally, while not against the law or forbidden to decorate a church, it was not common to do so. Even the highest-ranking members of the aristocracy were allowed only modest flower arrangements and maybe a few candles.
A bride would not rush her flower-choice decision. For one, the need for minimalism meant few blooms so each one counted. Secondly, if far from London or without an orangery to access, seasonal blooms may be her only options. Thirdly, her budget and engagement length affected her ability to obtain exotic flowers or deliveries from far away. Lastly, the message and meaning of each flower was critical.
Floriography—the cryptological communication through flower use or arrangement —has been practiced for thousands of years in numerous cultures. In Europe, especially England, the craze truly bloomed (pun intended) in the Victorian Era, but was seeded and sprouted some one hundred years earlier. A Regency bride may not have strictly followed this custom, but it would have been considered.
BOUQUET GAME: With floriography in mind, I thought a game would be fun! Below are several flowers (all should be familiar) with their most common meanings. Choosing just three, create the bouquet YOU think best fits the union of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Then, using the same maximum of three flowers, create a bouquet befitting Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet. Share your rationale for each choice. Ready? GO!
Buttercup — “Your charm dazzles me.” Cheerfulness, childishness.
Daffodil — “The sun shines when I am with you.” Respect, regard.
Azalea — fragile, still developing passion, temperance.
Hyacinth — rashness, sportive play.
Tulip (red) — passionate, perfect love.
Lily of the Valley — “You’ve made my life complete.” Chastity, sweetness.
Rose (red) — deep love, sensuality, passionate romance.
Rose (white) — eternal love, innocence and purity, new beginnings.
Baby’s Breath — everlasting, undying love, innocence.
Stephanotis — happiness in marriage, the ultimate symbol for marital bliss.
Gardenia — “You’re lovely.” Refinement, joy.
Chrysanthemum — lasting friendship, non-romantic affection.
Viola/Violet — modesty, faithfulness, virtue.
Jasmine — wealth, grace, elegance.
Zinnia — constancy, steadfastness, lasting affection.
Carnation (white) — innocent and pure love.
Primrose — “I can’t live without you.”
Goldenrod — good fortune, encouragement, luck on a future venture.
Honeysuckle — happiness, devoted love, fidelity.
Magnolia — love of nature, nobility and dignity, splendid beauty.
Rosemary — commitment, fidelity.
Excerpt from Darcy and Elizabeth: Hope of the Future —
In a separate room inside of the church, the two grooms waited for the agreed upon signal, yet were still startled when it came. The sharp rap on the door was immediately followed by the appearance of Colonel Fitzwilliam’s solemn face squeezing into the gap.
“It. Is. Time,” he intoned sonorously. “Thy brides hath cometh and shalt soon enter the holy church. Thy attendance is requested forthwith.” Then he grinned and shoved the door wide.
Bingley chuckled, or tried to. To Darcy, it sounded more like a weak wheeze, not that he paid much attention to Bingley or his cousin. Calmly passing by the still-smirking Richard, Darcy walked into the church with Bingley a step behind. Together they crossed the transept until standing to the left of the priest. Reverend Jenney, resplendent in his official robes, stood in the center of the chancel, his hands folded over a well-used Book of Common Prayer. He greeted the grooms with one bob of his head and the tiniest possible lift of his lips before returning his eyes to the closed doors at the far end of the nave.
For weeks, Darcy had passively listened to chatter about the desire to adorn the ancient brick church with flowers, ribbons, and candles. Frankly, he didn’t care about the chosen flowers, the ribbon colors, or if there were decorations at all for that matter. His only desire was to marry in the Pemberley Chapel, but even there, he would not have expressed an opinion on the decor.
However, when he detected Mrs. Bennet’s dismay over the rigid Reverend Jenney’s refusal to permit garnishing the pews with even a single flower and later ascertained that Jane and Elizabeth were saddened by this as well, he decided to intervene. In truth, as a man of deep faith, he tended to agree with the parish priest on maintaining the solemn atmosphere befitting a sacred place of worship. Then again, were not flowers God’s gift of beauty and color? What harm was there in a few ribbons and fragrant blooms if he promised to restrain Mrs. Bennet?
Now, as he swept his eyes over the interior, he was thankful for his powers of persuasion. Mrs. Bennet, Darcy had to admit, had far exceeded his expectations, the resulting floral display tasteful and modest by anyone’s standards. She had beautifully arranged small clusters of winter blooms with narrow ribbons of white and gold tied around them. Adorning the aisle end of each pew was one bouquet, in the center of which was a single, tall, lit candle. The overall effect was stunning and elegant.
These details he registered swiftly and might not have noticed at all if not for repeatedly reminding himself that this day was special as no other day in his entire life had been or would ever be. He would later regret it if he could not recall these seemingly minor elements. Thus, after first checking the main door and ensuring it was still closed, he scanned the church wall to wall. Peering into the pews, he acknowledged his family, smiling at each one.
Lastly, he swiveled his eyes to the left, where a few paces beyond Charles Bingley stood the two individuals chosen as the official witnesses.
Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, was published in 2009. Sharon’s series of “happily ever after” for the Darcys now totals nine full-length novels and one Christmas themed novella.
Darcy & Elizabeth: A Season of Courtship and Darcy & Elizabeth: Hope of the Future complete the “prequel to the sequel” duo recounting the betrothal months before the Darcy Saga began.
Sharon is a native Californian relocated in 2013 to the green hills of Kentucky, where she resides with her husband of over thirty years. Retired from a thirty-year profession as a registered nurse in Neonatal Intensive Care, Sharon is pursuing her dream as a full-time writer.
Sharon is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, JASNA Louisville, the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the Beau Monde chapter of the RWA, and serves as the website manager and on the board of the Louisville Romance Writers chapter of the RWA.
Sharon is the co-creator of Austen Authors, a group blog for authors of Austenesque literary fiction. Visit at: www.AustenAuthors.com
Sharon has the following generous giveaways for two of my Just Jane 1813 readers:
2. A trio of romantic greeting cards, blank inside (1 winner)
To enter these giveaways, leave a comment on this blog no later than September 15, 2017. The winner will be announced on this blog after this date. If you’d like to play the Bouquet Game, choose three flowers from above to create the bouquet YOU think best fits the union of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. Then, using the same maximum of three flowers, create a bouquet befitting Mr. Bingley and Jane Bennet. Share your rationale for each choice. Ready? GO!
Thank you, Sharon Lathan, for visiting with my readers to play this really fun game and to share this lovely excerpt from your newest book. I know my readers will love your giveaways too!
To add Sharon’s newest book to your bookshelf, visit these booksellers:
Amazon Kindle and Print: http://amzn.to/2uq4PGR
Barnes & Noble Nook and Print: http://bit.ly/2uGcuFn
Kobo digital: http://bit.ly/2wxZNJO
iBooks digital: http://apple.co/2v24Zoa