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Book Within a Book — 95 Comments

  1. Great idea! I love the idea of a novel about their growing up years. I think Darcy was a scamp and Anne was rather buttoned up. I think they would have played nice in front of the parents and detested each other when away from the watchful gaze of the adults. Not good at titles so I’ll leave that part alone.

    Thanks for asking! Loved the excerpt by the way.

  2. Hmm…I disagree. I think that as children, before Anne gets sick, she is a lively and fun-loving soul and Darcy is rambunctious around her (she brings that out in him), but is well-mannered in front of adults. Some of his most enjoyable times growing up would be running around with his spirited young cousin. Adding to that, I would make Anne’s descent into ill-health the turning point for both of them from childhood onto the path to adulthood, making both more serious and depriving them of innocent childhood pleasure.

  3. I love the idea of Anne writing a novel. I would picture Anne as a healthy child, but never recovering from some illness in her youth. And to their relationship to each other. I could picture well them liking each other like siblings, but finding the idea of marriage funny and strange.

  4. I enjoyed this snippet of you new novel and look forward with delight to more. I like the title ‘the Intended Cousin’ or another suggestion is ‘A Cousins Promise’ I feel Anne was a shy retiring child, scared of her own shadow, could she be anything else with a mother like Lady Catherine, but Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam felt sorry for her and did their best to bring her out of her shell. Anticipating more of the story. ~ L.G.

  5. I love reading the excerpt. I never picture Anne as an author so I think it’s original for P&P fiction in my opinion. But then I don’t visit JAFF sites so I would not know whether it has been done before.

    I imagine Anne to be active and healthy when she was young and Darcy to be a bit button up in front of his parents. But with friends of his age, he can be playful. I think they get the idea what is like to be married and totally open to it because both sides of their family agreed to it. Of course they don’t know what married love is until they reach puberty and adulthood.

  6. I agree with LisaG – that Anne was always withdrawn. On visits to Pemberley she was intimidated by George Wickham, and championed by her stalwart cousin Darcy. Looking forward to reading it!
    Darcy’s Voyage was the first P&P variation I ever read, and now I’m hooked on the genre.

  7. as Darcy is a first born he will be a serious child – reflective and contemplative. Not that he won’t play, but it will be as a thoughtful processing personality. Dr Lehman’s book on birth order will be helpful in creating accurate characteristics for each.

    Your title options are great.

    Liking the plot and look forward to reading more… thx for sharing Kara Louise 😉

  8. Thanks for the excerpt, Kara! This was a nice little teaser. Looking forward to reading your story when it’s complete.
    I like that Anne is an author, and I can see her story paralleling the events that will unfold in your story and the two stories happening simultaneously. Sounds like a great premise you have.

    • Thanks, Jakki! Now the way I’ve written the main story, Anne’s story doesn’t come in to play right away. But once it does, and Elizabeth is reading it, she will see more about who Darcy really is!

      • Loved the excerpt and can’t wait for the finished novel. Great idea of Anne being a novelist. I think both children were a bit reserved but close. I think Darcy and Fitzwilliam would have helped and protected Anne.

  9. I love seeing Anne with personality. Thank you for the peak at your WIP. I see Anne and Darcy as rambunctious playmates, but proper for the adults. For Anne’s book, how about simply, Intended Love?

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Becky! I like to think that Anne had some personality, as well, and thanks for the title suggestion!

  10. Anne as a secret and published writer is delightful Kara. I envision Anne as being involved in all the childish mischief available to her when in company with Darcy and her other cousins. I like your title choices, but prefer one with the word “promise” included.

  11. Kara, I am so excited to see you on this site. I only discovered Austen Authors and The Darcy Brothers a little over a week ago. I worked full time until recently and didn’t do much exploring of sites while working. And I am finding it is dangerous to my getting much else done…LOL. Am only now going back & putting in reviews on books I have read. I have 6 of your books and have read all or parts repeatedly, I am wondering why I don’t have the other 2. I will go on Amazon and look into that. Abigail recommended you to me when I sent her an e-mail. I have about 90 books in this JAFF genre.

    Now to this excerpt: it already has me hooked. Having worked with children as a profession and having three of my own with 2 grandchildren, I favor Anne and Darcy being fairly normal in health and interactions while young. Even if she is to be sickly, all children want to join in the action while in their youth and dare to take chances. I would see Anne developing health problems closer to puberty and at the same time coming more under her own mother’s scrutiny. Lady Catherine does not seem to have prejudices against outside walks so possibly Anne was allowed to play outside with Col. Fitzwilliam and/or Darcy when they came to visit. Darcy would always be the protective one and would monitor any mischief suggested by Richard. And I would allow Darcy some adventure as a child: intelligent children do like to observe and explore. BIRTH ORDER: not all children follow those descriptions. My children agree with me that my second born acts just like the first born roles described. And my first and second are only 2.5 yrs. apart. I like the Intended Love title.

    • Thanks, Sheila. So glad you found us and that you have enjoyed my books. I think Anne would not be a typical only child, which I think is addressed in the birth order book. But I love reading everyone’s thoughts. It is certainly inspiring to the muse!

  12. I have always felt that Anne was sick from birth, and I think a congenital heart defect would explain why she is small, thin and insignificant in appearance. There is no mention of any deformities, such as would have occurred if she developed childhood rheumatoid arthritis. If this is the case she would have had to develop it early enough to affect her growth and development to make her small and sickly looking as an adult. I suppose she could have had rheumatic fever and been left with a dicky heart. I wouldn’t expect another infectious disease to have long-term consequences (since it is unlikely that she has been out of England to catch Malaria or that she had congenital syphilis brought into the family by her father- I’m sure Lady Catherine would not allow it!)

    Can’t wait to see it, Kara Louise!!!

    • Thanks, Carey! I think I’ll need to consult you when it comes to Anne’s issues, although her small frame may just be a hereditary thing. I agree with you that a heart defect may account for the way she is, but I think I want her to have some fun when she is young. Thanks for your thoughts!

  13. For the society in which these children would grow up, would they not be with nannys and have limited contact with the parents? They would be expected to show proper deference to adults. Just cannot see the elder Mr Darcy giving Fitzwilliam horsie back rides. If that is the scenario, they would be reserved around adults and the conversations about marriage would go over their heads and be of little consequence to them.

    Lady Catherine as a doting mother?? I think that a healthy rompish Anne would be a pawn from the beginning. “They are formed for each other” was probably spouted regularly in their hearing but with no meaning to the children. Their interests would be toys, games, and treats.

    One thing they would be aware of is the special treatment and attention Fitzwilliam receives as heir. I would imagine he was watched carefully, especially by the held-responsible nannys, and not allowed as much freedom as the other children. This would cause a natural tendency for the children to go about their rambunctious games and Fitzwilliam left to the periphery. After awhile, patterns like this could be set. I could see, If Wickham was allowed to participate, he would take advantage of the situation, baiting Darcy knowing he cannot respond without chastisement by the nannys. No fighting for Darcy – he might get hurt.

    Anne may have seen this trend and tried to engage Darcy, but she is a girl! Would Darcy risk teasing about being friends with a girl? Their interactions would be limited to times when separate from others. At those times I would like to think they got along famously.

    Would hope Anne is forbidden activity after a childhood illness and will improve when allowed more physical activity and off meds.

    LOL. May be waay off and very wordy, but there you are!

    A great start! I especially like ‘The Intended Cousin” as a title.

  14. Thanks, Dave! It’s interesting how I’m getting ideas as I read others’ ideas. I think Wickham would have teased Darcy ruthlessly, especially if Anne was plain. Thanks for your thoughts.

  15. First let me say that I’ve been a fan of your writing since your first story in 2001. I remember eagerly antipating each new chapter posted and still have Pemberley’s Promise in a 3-ring binder in a drawer in my bedroom. I’ve read all your stories and am delighted to see the new novel in progress above!

    I see Anne as a shy child because of the domineering and overprotective mother, who may have at some early point caused Anne’s poor health by overmedicating her for a simple illness and continued the medicating her and thus causing the downward spiral of her health and growth. But I’m not a medical doctor or nurse so don’t even know if this would be a possible result of that.

    I see Darcy as an inquisitive and active boy, but also very aware of his manners and demeanor when with adults. I see him actively participating in all things Richard and Wickham instigate, although stopping at dangerous or malicious activities. I see him being very protective of his cousin Anne and maybe hanging back to make sure she’s not left alone while Richard and George go off to roughhouse. I don’t think Anne nor Darcy have any real idea of what it means to be “intended” for marriage at first. They don’t understand until they approach puberty, and then I think Darcy would want to avoid thinking about it and Anne might be looking forward to it because she remembers how kind her cousin Darcy has always been to her and her need to get away from her domineering mother. But I think by this time in her life (late 20’s) she understands that marriage to Darcy would be horrible for him and would sacrifice her happiness for his.

    Can’t wait to read this – and I like both titles. You choose what you like best.

    • Thanks for your kind comments! Doesn’t it seem like 2001 was so long ago? I so appreciate your thoughts about Anne and Darcy!

  16. Hi Kara, this is a good thought for your new book. I think Fitzwilliam and Anne were like brother and sister. Teasing and fighting. Happy to be children.

    • I’m glad you like the idea for the book, Elaine. Thanks for your thoughts! Hopefully they were allowed to be children occasionally!

  17. I can’t imagine anything changing between Darcy and Anne as they would be too young to care.
    Unless we find out if anything had happened to Anne as she grew up I still imagine her as a scared mouse as a child especially in the presence of her mother. It all depends who else is in her life. I am going to presume that Darcy was a typical boy as he grew up – but still well-mannered. .

    Another title could be ‘ My Own Love’

    • Thanks, Vesper! It’s interesting to hear everyone’s thoughts on these to as youngsters! Thanks for the title suggestion, too!

  18. If you are including the 10+ age, Fitzwilliam may be watching his parent’s interactions. If he sees both his parents rolling their eyes at Lady Catherine’s plotting rants and not responding, that may set up in his early mind, that is the way to deal with his aunt. Listen and then ignore just like his parents did long ago.

      • Only one rolling their eyes?…… Yes!

        I am always troubled by the assumption in most JAFF that Lady Anne wasn’t in on the matchmaking of Anne and Darcy. Why wouldn’t she be a snobbish social climber like her big sister? I can very well see these two daughters of an Earl making plans to join the Darcy money with the Fitzwilliam title. Maybe Darcy wouldn’t view his mother in this way, but I’m not convinced the plan was only hatched in Lady Catherine’s head. Seems very reasonable to me that these two sisters would have that discussion.

        Was Lady Anne a woman in love with her husband or was that the assumption of her young son? Maybe she doted on Fitzwilliam and only tolerated her very rich husband. Do we really know for sure? Darcy’s interpretation was that of a young boy who loved his mother. Not necessarily unbiased.

        • I have read different viewpoints in JAFF stories. Lady Ann is in on it in some stories. And then some do have Darcy’s parents in love, others write that it was one-sided while one even has Georgina as the child of a lover! Not all depict that the parents set a good example. Then there are books which do have Anne & Darcy accepting that their parents planned this while others have it only in Lady Catherine’s mind. There is one other book which has Anne as an author but I can’t remember which of my many books it is. One book even has Lady Catherine’s husband in love with Ann Darcy so Lady C.names her daughter after the sister so her husband can have those regrets every time he looks at her. With so many JAFF stories I am sure we can find every viewpoint if we search.

  19. Wonderful excerpt, Kara!! The exchange between Elizabeth and Anne about music and writing was so lovely…I could see it happening 😉 . And, fwiw, I really liked the title “Intended to Love.”

  20. I have to say that I like the stories where all of the cousins get into mischief as children. So, I would like to see this charasteristic in Ann and Darcy. Their changes don’t come until later in life when life becomes more complicated. I do like stories where Ann and Elizabeth become friendly, so I happy that you are going in that direction. Can’t wait to see where you are going with this story… 🙂

  21. Thanks, Kari! There are so many directions to go, and it’s fun to imagine that as children they did have fun and even liked each other!

  22. I actually think the title might be better as Intended to Marry. I think Darcy should be a rambunctious young man as all children are but with good manners and consideration for others as well as being a empathetic. Anne should be an active young girl who has not yet been I’ll. I like the excerpt and the fact that Anne’s talent is writing. thank you for sharing that with us.

  23. I love this idea for a story. I like seeing Anne as a true character and not just as the sickly cousin. I think your title of The Intended Cousin is pretty good. Can’t wait to read more.

  24. I think Anne was a healthy but shy girl. Since she was an only child, she probably had limited interaction with other children her own age, except when she was with Fitzwilliam and Darcy. Lady Catherine would never have permitted her to interact with nearby children from the “lower sphere” of society. Holidays with her cousins were some of her fondest memories; moments when she didn’t have to perform to meet her mother’s exacting standards or be under her governess’s strict discipline. Fitzwilliam would find mischief, and his two quieter cousins went along with it. Darcy was kind to Anne, and Darcy became the protective brother she never had. Her father was a mitigating influence on Lady Catherine and made light of the supposed engagement between the cousins. Anne’s world suddenly shifted upon her father’s death and her own weakened condition from contracting diphtheria. This disease left her heart damaged and her muscles weakened. Lady Catherine became more controlling and overprotective after losing her husband and almost losing Anne as well.

  25. Well I see you have thought a lot about it. Thanks for your detailed ideas! These are almost as fun as reading a story! Thanks, Karen!

  26. What a great excerpt! I like the idea of a novel within a novel. It’s no surprise that Anne writes as she has been so dominated by her mother throughout her life. As a young child, I think she would have rebeled against the confines of her up-bringing and joined in the adventures that Darcy and the Colonel got into. They would have been close and loved being together not truly understanding what ‘promised for each other’ really meant. She would have been frustrated that the boys had more freedom and more opportunities than she would ever have. But I see her trying to at least have her share even if they were very small. I see Darcy trying to help in that regard as well. All this before she fell ill and was smothered even more by her mother…not allowing her much interaction after that with her cousins in case they brought in any ‘germs’ to infect her further.

    Yes, I really like this concept and can’t wait to read the book! Knowing how much I enjoyed ‘Only Mr. Darcy Will Do’ and ‘Darcy’s Voyage’, this will be delight as well.

    As to the tilte of Anne’s book, I like ‘The Intened Cousin’ only because I think a publisher during that time would be inclined towards it. I do like the other as well

    • Glad you like the concept, Carole! I like everyone’s thoughts that Anne would get drawn into adventures with her cousins! So glad you enjoyed OMDWD and DV! Thanks!

  27. Oh what a fun idea! I love Anne as a novelist – how daring of her!

    The idea of a playful young Darcy, a regular little boy, always appeals to me. But of course he’d be protective of his cousin Anne. I never imagine the idea of being promised would enter into young Carcy’s mind – but it would Anne’s (because her mother is the one constantly reminding her of it!). I like to imagine young Anne as a little more lively than she is portrayed in P&P, but perhaps still quite sheltered and not allowed to do much – even though she’d really like to!

    Looking forward to this new work of yours… OMDWD is one of my favourite variations!

  28. Thanks, Nicole! So glad you like OMDWD! And it seems like the odds are in favor of Anne being a bit more lively (at least when around her cousins!). I think that would make a more fun story, anyway!

  29. I like the title “The Promise Without Consent” or just “The Promise.” Whatever the title, it will be well worth the read!

  30. I’d love to read more about Miss de Bourgh; I always wonder what else Austen had in mind for her character.

    Based on Mrs. Reynolds, I think Mr. Darcy was definitely a well-mannered, thoughtful boy.

    • I think most of us want to know more about Jane Austen’s characters. And we all have our own ideas, don’t we? But yes, we need to base what we write on what Jane told us. Thanks goodness for Mrs. Reynolds! 🙂

  31. I picture Darcy as a protector of Anne when they were children. I picture Anne teasing Darcy when no one is around. As for the titlei like Best Friends.

  32. I don’t like Intended to Love much. Love was never a consideration of the “intent”. Intended for something, but not love. I see Anne being a happy but reserved child whose health and demeanor deteriorates as her body grows and taxes her heart. Darcy and Fitzwilliam being fun cousins and playing with her until she no longer could. Of course as time went on and they got more understanding of the marriage intent, it would have put a strain on the relationship and changed the way they interacted. I like Anne and Elizabeth being friends. Anne would have female insights into Darcy from WAY back that no one else would.

    • Hi Stephanie! I wasn’t thrilled with the title, either, that’s why I asked for suggestions. I think as the got older and really did understand, it would have had to affect Darcy and Anne’s relationship. Thanks for your input!

  33. Oh, I am so excited to know that there is more of this story to come. What a great tale. To answer your questions, I like “The Intended cousins”. As for their early years I in vision Ann being very out going, and Darcy reserved, quiet, rather a proper child. Ann is always coaxing him to run and play and do other things besides riding his ponies. She wants to swim, climb trees and catch butterflies, and he constantly reminds her that a proper lady does not do such things.
    Thank you so much for all of your wonderful books.

    • I think yours is the first comment to have Anne the adventurous one enticing the reserved, quiet Darcy to come out of his shell. Very interesting! Thanks for your thoughts, Christa, and I’m thrilled you like my books! 🙂

  34. Thanks for that little glimpse into your new story. I can’t wait to read more! We know that Elizabeth is going to learn more about Darcy’s nature from the book, so it should show a caring, honest side of him. I don’t think either Anne or Darcy would have been dramatically different than how they are now… Anne was probably always overpowered by her mother and Darcy was probably always serious (I imagine him quite competitive and athletic, too). Clearly Anne is a romantic and Darcy, too, or he would have married her already if he only cared about duty. So maybe in the story Anne and Darcy talk about marrying for love but agree to not say anything to their mothers because they don’t want to upset them. Or maybe they agree that neither would marry until the other had met their true love. I think this would show Elizabeth a side of Darcy that would surprise her. The title could be “Intended from Birth” to echo what Lady C says about it. Thanks for letting us all imagine with you!

    • And thank you for imagining with me! This has been so much fun and I have so much to consider. Your idea is very interesting about them agree to not marry until both had found love. And thanks for the title suggestion!

  35. Earlier today I said Anne was healthy. Somewhere between the ages of 8 & 11 dhr contracted Scarlet Fever. That would have caused health issues as well as heart problems.

    • Deborah, I don’t believe Jane Austen ever told us any details about her illness. If that’s in Pride and Prejudice, I would love to know… (I have been known to miss things) or was that in another book you read?

  36. Thanks for the lovely tidbit from your WIP; I cannot wait to read more. I am loving the premise and cannot wait to see how it unfolds. And any time there is a little competition for Elizabeth`s attention is always agreeable to me.

    Thanks,
    Liz

  37. Wow so many good ideas. You could probably write several versions of what you’re planning! I guess I would agree with those who think Lady C was always an overbearing mother and so Anne probably was always somewhat shy and timid as a result. Anne probably enjoyed getting to interact with her cousins since she was probably very isolated from other children and acquaintances growing up. I would have guessed even if she hadn’t been actually ill, her mother would have been smothered her and kept her cooped up at the slightest sign of any weakness. I would also have imagined Anne would have been a fairly good reader if she decided to become an author. Maybe that’s something she and Darcy would have in common as youngsters?

    I would have thought that Darcy would have always been somewhat serious but that he had a sense of fun before he grew up. Though he might have been somewhat socially awkward without his own siblings to play with and only the alarmingly naughty George Wickham around.

    As for a title, I’d imagine something like “An Engagement of a Peculiar Kind.” (ha ha)

  38. Thanks, Kathy, for your insightful suggestions! I love that they were both readers! And I kind of like your title. 🙂

  39. Hi. I really liked the extract I’ve just read. All of you have very good ideas and I’m almost afraid to submit mine!

    However, here goes. In my mind, supposing them to be of roughly similar ages, Fitzwilliam (I always think of him as Will but not Fitz), Anne and all the other cousins got on very well as children. They played together in a very lively fashion whenever their families got together, including George Wickham whenever this occurred at Pemberley. Georgiana, being so much younger, wouldn’t be part of the group. I can imagne Will, George and Anne being ringleaders in any mischief. The birth of Will’s sister and the eventual death of his beloved mother would have had a sobering effect on him, starting him down the road to the Fitzwilliam Darcy we know now.

    Now for what may be the controversial bit! We all know what George Wickham eventually becomes. At the point in the extract above, we know nothing yet about his attempted seduction and elopement with Georgiana – assuming it has taken place in this version. If it hasn’t, or even if it has, could he have attempted something smilar with Anne, while at Pemberley, for her (presumably) even larger fortune as heiress to Rosings. I wouldn’t go as far as sexual intimacy between them but they could be caught in a “compromising” situation, with it being obvious that Anne was reluctant to go ahead. That could explain her withdrawal into herself and why she wouldn’t want to go ahead with a loveless marriage. Her penning of a love story could also be explained by this as her idealising what she wants for herself.

    As to possible titles, I’ve just re-read the scene where Lady Catherine confronts Elizabeth about the rumour of her engagement to Will. This leads me to make a couple of suggestions; “An Engagement of a Peculiar Kind” and “Whilst in Their Cradles”.

    Just one thing bothers me, though. I appreciate why it’s been used but was Andy in use as a name, or diminutive, in Regency times? I’ve tried to look it up but only been able to trace it as far back as 1880.

  40. First of all, I thought of the ‘Andy’ issue, and haven’t had the time to check into its usage. There are other options. 🙂 Your thoughts about Wickham are definitely unique and I think Will’s issues with his mother’s death would indeed have a sobering effect on him. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  41. Sorry if I made it seem that Jane Austen said it was scarlet fever…she did not. I should’ve said…it could’ve been. Scarlet fever was usually fatal, but if one survived they had serious heart problems and my age was wrong…I should’ve said between 6 & 8. Also,my reasoning for Anne being active is I would gess her father was alive and encouraged his only girl to be a little adventurous much to his wife’s mortification. Unfortunately after Anne’s death her mother took over.and was herself. I agree that after Darcy’s mother’s death he probably would’ve become more serious and even somber.

    • Thanks for clearing that up, Deborah! 🙂 I also like the idea that her father may have been more affectionate and allowed her more freedom than her mother did, especially after he died.

  42. I look forward to finding out about Anne de Burg in this novel. That is a interesting twist that she is a right and the surname is witty and I’m sure Lizzy smiled when she read it. As for as the title of Andy Berg’s book, that is a great question. I like both of your suggestions or maybe “Unintended love”?

  43. Anne writing and publishing a novel is an excellent idea, and I look forward to read more of “her” creation, as well as your story when it will become available. Since Anne clearly is intelligent and thinking independently in this story, I prefer to think of her as being healthy as a child. Others have mentioned several medical conditions that could occur in her childhood, but I also like the possibility that Lady Catherine’s overprotective and bossy treatment of her might have contributed to her illness (that is, she has the opportunity to get better with a more active and heathy lifestyle… perhaps she has anemia and the medical practice of bleeding makes it worse?)
    Thank you for sharing this story!

  44. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Agnes! I’m glad you like the idea of an intelligent Anne, and I like your comments about her illness. Thanks for sharing!

  45. I kind of like the idea of Wickham playing some awful prank on Anne, that causes her to fall ill or perhaps intentionally harming her… I prefer to see her not as ill forever, but as withdrawn. I love the stories in which she grows bold and stronger with the help of her friends. That said, I love this idea. That she could paint the picture of Darcy for Elizabeth in her writing, and that Elizabeth begins to see him for who he is. I hope that if Anne’s novel is a love story, that it reveals a love of hers that isn’t Darcy or perhaps it foreshadows a love for Darcy, what she wants to see for him – you know, an impertinent country miss. 😉

  46. For Anne to have the spunk to write when she knew her Mother would have apoplexy, she must have been a real pistol before she got sick.

    How about “Intended from Infancy” or Betrothed from Birth” or “Matrimonial Mischief”. Actually, it doesn’t matter as I already know I will enjoy both books in one.

    By the way, Master Under Regulation made me cry happy tears at the end. Have read Pirates and DVD several times. I love your character development! Love, love, love.

    • Thanks, Joy! You may have seen that I just posted the first chapter today here, entitled it “A Peculiar Engagement.” So glad you’ve enjoyed my books!

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