Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods by Brigid Huey ~ Review and Vignette

Title: A Chance Encounter in Pemberley Woods
Author: Brigid Huey
Publisher: Meryton Press
Genre: Austenesque
Release Date: September 1st, 2019
Format Read: Kindle ebook
Number of Pages: 113

Blurb: A surprise meeting
A baby alone in the woods
And a second chance at love.

Fitzwilliam Darcy returns to his beloved Pemberley with one thing on his mind—to forget Elizabeth Bennet. Riding ahead of his party and racing a storm, he happens upon the very woman he wants to avoid. To his astonishment, she is holding a baby whose name and parentage are unknown.

Elizabeth Bennet never dreamed she had wandered into Pemberley’s woods on her afternoon walk. But when she finds an infant alone in the storm, she turns to the last man in the world she wants to see—and the only one who can help them both.

As the mystery of the baby’s identity intensifies, Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy to be quite different from what she expected. But when the child’s family is discovered, will the truth bring them together or tear them apart?

My Review: I started this novella not really knowing that much about it but I gradually got the gist of it. Basically, Elizabeth finds an abandoned baby in the woods while it's raining while she is traveling with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. Darcy finds them and takes them to Pemberley. They spend time together and Elizabeth starts falling for him. Then the Lydia scandal happens and Darcy fixes it.

There wasn't really any conflict or anything that would have kept Lizzy and Darcy apart except for the whole Lydia scandal. This is a fast read if you need a story to keep you entertained for a couple of hours.

Rating: 3½  stars out of 5

I have a vignette for all you lovely readers down below so make sure to check it out.

Thank you, Tina, for hosting me today. This vignette takes place before the novel begins. Here we meet Elizabeth in the midst of her travels with the Gardiners. She has only just arrived in Lambton, and her mind is all a tumble!

Pemberley was but five miles from the inn at Lambton where Elizabeth was staying with her aunt and uncle. There was something unsettling about being so close to Mr. Darcy’s family home. She had known they would come to Lambton; Aunt Gardiner had grown up here, and it was only natural and right that they should visit the town during their tour of Derbyshire.

Elizabeth, however, could not but wish that they were miles away. Even the possibility of an encounter with the man she had so thoroughly and ruthlessly rejected would cause nothing but pain to either party.

Thinking of that day at the parsonage brought a new pang of guilt and shame to Elizabeth’s heart. Oh! Would that she had shown some sense! She had been completely blinded by her own pride to be sensible of Mr. Darcy’s true feelings.

It could not be said that he had behaved well; yet, she had also given in to the conceit of prejudice and favoritism. Mr. Wickham had flattered her sensibilities, and she had fallen for his practiced arts! How low she had felt, reading the letter from Mr. Darcy that had freed her mind from the terrible falsehoods Mr. Wickham had foisted upon her.

That letter. Even now it was with her, stowed away safely in her travelling trunk. For some reason, she could not destroy it. Though if anyone found it, the outcome would be disastrous for both her and Mr. Darcy.

“Lizzy, my dear! The tea has arrived.”

It was her Aunt Gardiner, calling from the cozy sitting room on the other side of the door. Elizabeth rose and straightened her skirts. She must endeavor to appear composed before her aunt and uncle. Although they were the kindest and best of relations, Elizabeth did not feel up to sharing her history with Mr. Darcy. It was too intimate, and too painful.

“Ah, Lizzy,” her uncle said as she came in the room. “What do you say to visiting Pemberley tomorrow?”

Elizabeth was pleased that her steps faltered only slightly as she walked toward the tea tray. “I...I am not sure that I am up for touring yet another great house, Uncle.”

“Oh, come, LIzzy!” Aunt Gardiner said. “The grounds will be lovely at this time of year.”

“I suppose you especially desire to see it then, Aunt?”

“I do, for it has been many years since I have been there.”

“What do you say, Lizzy?” Uncle Gardiner asked.

Though her heart felt leaden, Elizabeth forced a smile on her face. “Then of course we shall go.”

“I promise it will be delightful, Lizzy,” her aunt said.

Elizabeth sipped her tea, but did not taste it. Perhaps I can feign a headache tomorrow morning. Without warning, Mr. Darcy’s voice echoed in her mind. “But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence.”

Abruptly, she rose from her seat.

“Are you well, Lizzy?” Aunt Garinder asked, her brow furrowed in anxious concern.

“Do not be uneasy, Aunt. I am perfectly well. I will just see to my things, if I may. The journey was long, and I find I am weary of sitting still.”

“A capital idea, Lizzy,” Uncle Gardiner said.

Elizabeth escaped to her room, but she could find little peace that afternoon. Nor, in fact, could she settle her mind as she tried in vain to rest that night. How could she possibly visit Pemberley? After all that had transpired between her and Mr. Darcy? And yet, the only way to escape the ordeal would be to open her private history with Mr. Darcy to her relations. This she was loath to do; she was simply too ashamed by her actions to have them looked upon by people she respected as much as the Gardiners.

The morning brought little clarity to Elizabeth’s thoughts. She had spent half the night dreaming of Mr. Darcy. He would look at her from across the ballroom, his countenance stern and disapproving; then suddenly he was at her side, declaring his ardent love. When dawn’s light entered her room, Elizabeth’s mind was fatigued and her heart felt heavy.

She had risen early to escape the torture of her fitful sleep, but as yet her aunt and uncle were still abed. A glance out the window told her that the morning was fine—though overcast it did not appear to be raining. Perhaps I may find a moment of solitude in woods.

As they had arrived in Lambton the previous afternoon, Elizabeth had noted an idyllic path leading into a lovely shaded glen. It was not far from the inn, and she found that a ramble through the woods was exactly what her heart needed after such a tempestuous night. Moreover, perhaps providing a balm to her wounded heart would fortify her for the anguish to come this afternoon during her visit to Pemberley.

She sat down at the little writing table and penned a note to her aunt and uncle. Though they were well acquainted with her penchant for early morning walks, she had no wish to cause worry. She tucked the note under her aunt’s door and went out. She met Hanna, the chambermaid that had attended them the night before, in the hall on her way to the stairs.

Impulsively, Elizabeth stopped the girl and asked how far it was to Pemberley. On being told that it was indeed less than five miles, Elizabeth spoke again.

“Do you know if the family is at home at this time of year? For we would not wish to disturb them should we travel there today.”

The girl assured her that they were not typically at home yet. “Though even if they was, miss,” she continued, “it’s naught difference to the masters if the house be open for touring.”

Elizabeth thanked her and went on her way. The girl was right, of course. She and her relations had not encountered any of the families connected to the great houses they had toured heretofore. She would be safe.

It really was a pretty little town. The villagers that were up at this early hour greeted her in a kindly manner. Before long she passed a milliner’s establishment, and stopped for a moment to admire a bonnet in the shop window. Beyond the milliner’s was the chandler’s shop, and it was clear that the proprietor was already hard at work. The door to the little workroom behind the main store was open, and the smell of freshly dipped candles wafted through to the summer air.

At last she reached the apothecary, and beyond that the road became little more than a dirt path. It led almost directly into a grove of trees that appeared to be part of larger forest. There was neither fencing nor signage of any kind, and Elizabeth thought it must lead to a local farm. Perhaps someone that came often to sell at the market.

Does Mr. Darcy ever frequent Lambton, I wonder? It seemed unlikely that he would; yet, his servants must come here often for supplies of one kind or another. She could not imagine keeping such a great house as Pemberley running. Though perhaps it was not so very great after all. I will find out soon enough, for we visit it today.

So engrossed was she in her ruminations that she failed to send a glance to the sky to ascertain the state of the weather before she entered the protection of the woods. The gathering gloom far in the east might have warned her to turn back and seek the comfort and safety of the inn. Yet into the little woods she went.

Author Bio: Brigid has been in love with Jane Austen since first seeing the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice as a young girl. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids, and spends her free time reading and writing. This is her first Pride and Prejudice variation, though many others live in her imagination.

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  1. Elizabeth really should know better than to walk out without an escort

  2. I enjoyed the vignette; now I want to know what happens next! Thanks to Tina for hosting and for her honest review.

  3. Thanks for hosting, Tina. We appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  4. I enjoyed the vignette. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the book.

  5. Thanks for sharing an amazing introduction to this variation, Brigid. I'm glad we get to know Elizabeth through her point-of-view. It would be fascinating to know her thoughts upon discovering the infant and meeting Mr Darcy in the woods but you stop the vignette before that.

  6. I'm so excited to read this book! Thank you for sharing.