THE BOOK: A Quest for Mr. Darcy
Fitzwilliam Darcy is on a quest. Convinced he is over his foolish infatuation with Elizabeth Bennet, he returns from a year of travelling with a plan, both to protect the estate of which he is guardian and to ensure his sister’s happiness: he intends to do his duty and secure a wife at the earliest opportunity.
Duty; a path from which Darcy knows he should never have been diverted. Duty was safe and nothing would persuade him from it a second time.
Soon restored to his home in Derbyshire, Darcy puts his quest in motion, preparing to welcome guests from Town, one of whom is the suitably eligible young lady he has earmarked as his future wife.
But what of the Bennets of Longbourn? What befell them in Darcy’s absence from England? And what of the new tenants on his estate named Bennet? Is his path fated to cross with Elizabeth’s once more?
With the addition of his friend, Bingley’s, mischievous twin younger sisters, letters from a stranger and a shadowy figure lurking in the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s life is about to be turned upside down.
Can he remain steady to his purpose, or will his carefully laid plans soon be in tatters as the rigid protection he has placed around his heart begins to falter?
A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR: Cassandra Grafton
A love of all things Jane Austen has enriched my life in many ways, but one of the most important things I have gained in recent years is the friendship of some amazing people, none of whom I would have met had we not been brought together through our shared admiration for her.
I ‘met’ Rita (the one with the hat on the picture below), owner of this Blog, online some years ago. She has an impressive and informative archive page on Facebook (called All Things Jane Austen) which has over 40,000 followers!
Brought together by a shared love of one of the world’s favourite authors, we have become firm friends, despite being very different from each other! About eighteen months ago, we had the chance to do what so many hope for when they meet through social media: we met in person, and what better place to do it than Hampshire, Jane Austen’s home county?
We had a wonderful few days, sometimes educational, sometimes inspirational, often touching and always fun! Our adventures took us to Chawton, Winchester and onwards to Bath, where we spent the night in Jane’s former home at No 4 Sydney Place on the anniversary of Jane’s actual birthday.
Having been able to show Rita some of my (and her) favourite places (and things – just ask her about her addiction to M&S Percy Pigs!), I was delighted when she invited me to come to her home on the Internet to reveal the cover of a new novel I have coming out later this month.
A Quest for Mr Darcy is a story inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, set largely in Derbyshire. I wanted the cover to reflect the location in which it is set, as well as the mood of story: romance with a hint of mystery.
What could I possibly do? I have no technical skills at all, so knew I would have to enlist someone’s help with the design. My thoughts turned immediately to my good friend, Ada Bright, a talented photographer and artist.
Copyright on images is often an issue, so we decided to use our own photos. Getting one of Derbyshire scenery was easy – I’d been there often enough to already have a selection of images we could use, and in the end, we settled for the one which has been part of the banner for the story as I posted it online over a period of six months between October last year and April of this.
Ada had an idea for the colour palette; all we needed now was a Regency couple! We scoured pages and pages of stock images, but nothing quite fitted what we wanted. Then, an idea began to form.
At first, I batted it away as nonsensical, but as is often the way, once a notion takes hold, it persists in making itself heard! I whizzed a one line email to Ada making the suggestion, then sat waiting for her reaction, convinced it would be: ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’
Ada’s response? GREAAAAT IDEA!!!
Another email flew out into the void, and I chewed my nails in suspense – only to have our potential cover models agree to the photo shoot!
Now this may sound all very well, but you then have to bring in the logistics. I live in Switzerland, and I had possession of the items of Regency clothing we needed to use. Ada lives in California, along with her cameras. Our cover models live in Surrey in England.
How was this a great idea? Because I happened to know that our models were due to fly out to LA in April for a holiday. What could be simpler? Put the Regency clothing in the post from Switzerland to the USA and lo and behold, once the models arrive, the photo shoot can happen!
And so it did, and we were delighted with the results and I am over the moon with how Ada pulled all the elements together.
I hope you enjoyed reading about how this cover came about. I will be offering several giveaways of the book at various Blogs throughout June in the run up to publication.
THE GIVEAWAY (winner announced)
The first chance to win is today! The draw is open worldwide, with the winner choosing either a paperback (be warned, it’s a big book – you might need wrist rests!) or an eBook. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment here on Rita’s Blog (this one) saying what the most important thing is that Jane Austen has brought into your life.
- A set of handmade P&P pencils
- 20 Jane Austen book plates
- A handmade P&P wooden badge
- Plus the book (if paperback is chosen)
ALL IN A “I’D RATHER BE AT PEMBERLEY” TOTE BAG!
WINNER: CINDY KANE
I am also delighted to be supporting the Jane Austen Literary Foundation, a registered not for profit organisation. The foundation was created by Caroline Jane Knight to improve global literacy rates by raising money to fund reading and writing resources for communities in need across the world, in honour of Jane Austen.
I will be donating 10% of any profit made on eBook sales of A Quest for Mr Darcy to the Foundation.