First excerpt from my next book! — 115 Comments

  1. Wow! Talk about changing history!
    I’ve never read any variation that has done this. Some time travel ( not a favorite) and paranormal themes but not a history rewrite!

    I’ve enjoyed what ive read so far, but , as expected, have questions!

    One to the next chapter!

  2. Speculation: Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam are British Counterintelligence, pretending to be traitors.

    You’re right — this is one plot I’ve never seen before. Watching for your updates.

  3. Wow, that’s certainly a very different variation, Abigail! It all sounds most intriguing and next Monday can’t come soon enough for me. More questions than answers: what is Jane’s suffering and why is she in the stables? Why is Mary excluded from the Assembly? Why does Darcy still have Pemberley and is Georgiana really a half-wit?

    You won’t see any rotten tomatoes from me!

    • I’ll answer one question – Mary is excluded because the French don’t like being lectured at, and they don’t have to be fair when they invite people (or when they do anything else, for that matter). As for the others, it will take a few chapters to answer them all…

  4. Oh lord Abigail, I’m hooked already. I have so many questions which will no doubt have to wait until I get to read it. I was a little uncertain about this idea until I started reading but I have all your books and must add this one. I can’t wait for the next excerpt. (I must admit I am hoping for an early marriage between Darcy and Elizabeth to protect her from the French!)

    • So glad you’re hooked! I’m hoping people will give this idea a try. Although I’ve done a lot of historical research to make my new history as genuine as possible, I’ve tried not to put much history into the book itself. As long as readers know who Napoleon was, they should do fine with this book. But you’re quite right that Darcy needs to protect Elizabeth from the French…. but how? 😉

    • Oh yes, let them marry soon, please! I love the books where you get to know her as Darcy’s wife and mistress of Pemberley… so many end with the wedding, but that’s the time when Lizzy has to take a role she was not trained for and that is a huuuuge obstacle to overcome, especially with a husband who is torn between his love for her and his snobbery… that’s why “The last man in the world” is one of my favourites amogst your books, although it’s so sad 🙂

  5. Really enjoyed this quirky variation, Abigail So many questions to answer as the tale unfolds not least what is Darcy up to? I like the idea of counter intelligence one other reader has already mentioned. Not to mention Georgiana a half wit I do not want to believe that one and what will happen to Princess Charlotte with this French invasion?
    How exciting – looking forward to next Monday

    • It’ll take a few chapters before you discover what Darcy is actually up to, but you’ll get hints along the way. Princess Charlotte is safely in Canada for now. As for Georgiana being a half-wit, all I’ll say is that she’s sane and healthy but has a pronounced, although very understandable, anxiety disorder.

  6. When I began reading I thought that it was kind of weird but it did not take long for me to wonder all the same questions I have reading any variation. How will Elizabeth and Darcy get together? What obstacles will they encounter? But the first question is this. What happened with Jane??? I am hooked!

  7. Nice, My other favorite gerne is Alternate History, so this is a double treat. I can only recall
    two other story’s with D&E as resistance fighters during French occuppied Britain

    • So there are other stories! I haven’t found any. Of course, Darcy and Elizabeth aren’t actually in the resistance in this book, but telling what they are doing would be giving the plot away… 😉

  8. Wow, what a great story ABigail, and interesting premise. The story can go in so many ways, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Darcy, of course Lizzie, Jane. I am all a-twitter for more!!!

  9. So Miss Darcy is a half-wit, Mary is not wanted at a dance, Jane is hiding from someone and, the Colonel will be working in the background with Darcy and Bingley – look forward to reading the next excerpt

  10. Honestly, I didn’t like this idea at all on the face of it, but I read the first chapter and, of course, now I love it! Darcy and Elizabeth as part of the resistance. Just such great potential for this storyline. I don’t know how you continue to do this, make crazy scenarios so engaging and exciting (and really, it’s not that crazy, is it? Napoleon might have won, after all, if he hadn’t tried to take Russia in the winter). I’ve just tossed out all my historical preconceptions and am now anxiously awaiting the next chapter. I do fear for Colonel Fitzwilliam, though. I sadly suspect he has not survived. ;-< Either that or he's deep underground running the resistance himself, lol–can't wait to see what comes next! Thanks so much for taking this chance!

    • I’m expecting a lot of people to be unhappy with the premise, thinking that the book is going to be about Napoleon invading England, but it’s just like any other variations – the story of how Darcy and Elizabeth fall in love, just with a different set of obstacles. The ‘history’ isn’t crazy at all – Napoleon was all set to invade with 200,000 men at Calais, and if he hadn’t used a bad design for his landing craft, he would have done it and probably have won. The English lived in hourly anticipation of an invasion in 1803-5.

    • I do fear for Colonel Fitzwilliam. I do prefer him as the heroic officer (not the villain that some authors have written him).

  11. Very interesting premise and most original. I am looking forward to the next chapter. I hope all get what they deserve, including the French!

    • Thanks! Almost everyone gets what they deserve. One of the themes is about Elizabeth’s prejudice that all French soldiers are bad people, and she has to come to see them as human beings first and enemies second. 🙂

  12. This is quite the departure from both Austen and history, and it is so very intriguing!! I am very much looking forward to reading the excerpts you post here and then the book as a whole when it is published.

    I wonder what’s the situation regarding Georgiana? For Sir William’s source of gossip to refer to her as “half-witted” sounds quite serious. I wonder if she was attacked by a French soldier…or perhaps one from Derbyshire who has changed alliances to his benefit in these turbulent times.

    Thank you for sharing this first glimpse of your new book with us, Abigail!! I am very much looking forward to the coming installments!

    Have a lovely week!

    Susanne 🙂

    • One problem with writing a book set in occupied territory is that bad things happen to women. But I don’t want my book to be about dark things, so I’ve taken pains to make sure no one is violated and I don’t show violence, although pistols do get pointed at people at various points. 🙂

  13. I love the approach and can not wait to read more. It is just as fun to see how you handle the history as it is the characters. As always your works are my favorite!

  14. This is a fascinating premise for a P+P “what-if,” and I will enjoy reading more. My speculations: Georgiana as a “half-wit” – I would think that Darcy and his sister are playing up her anxiety disorder as a means of protecting her from the French. Jane in the stables – I would imagine this is for her protection. With Captain Renard taking Robinson’s house under threat of death, I can see he would not hesitate to “take” Jane, with or without benefit of marriage, if it suited him. “Reynard” means “fox” in French, so to make a very bad joke, it’s a good thing that Jane is hiding in the stables and not the hen house. I hope that “poor, stupid” Lydia’s sacrifice was to save Jane. Lydia never disappoints with her bird-brained antics.

    As for Darcy, the maxim “keep your friends, close but your enemies closer” comes to mind. If Colonel Fitzwilliam is part of the resistance, then Darcy being supposedly in league with the French would certainly provide a good source of usable intelligence. I’m just curious as to what Darcy had to do to keep Pemberley and have the French off his back.

    Kudos to Bingley for keeping his workers from being conscripted.

    I’m a fan of regular P+P variations, as well as the time-travel and supernatural ones, so I will look forward to reading this new variation with an open mind and great interest.


    • Excellent speculations, Florence! Have you been peeking in my hard drive? 😉 I hadn’t thought about Reynard and fox before, but it’s very apropos. My French officers’ names all came from lists of, um, French officers in Napoleon’s army. I’m so unoriginal sometimes! Fortunately Captain Renard/Reynard will get his just deserts one of these days…

      • Do you know “Désirée” by Annemarie Selinko? It’s a novel about young Désirée, who was Napoleons first fiancee, later the wife of bis General Bernadotte, who became Kong of Sweden – an ancestor of today’s Swedish Royals that still hold that Surname. But back to the book – it’s a wonderful insight into Napoleonic France… History in its besteht form 🙂

  15. Wow, that sounds very promising, Abigail, well done! You just put a smile on my face, because some time ago, I was thinking what was essential to Darcy’s self confidence and what could happen to make him feel worthless of Lizzy – and one of my answers was him being a grand Landlord, carrying so much responsibility. How would he feel like, if he lost that, how would it affect his self esteem and would he be a little bit more humble on their first meeting?

    I really love the dialogue between Bingley and Mr. Bennet! Bingley is so much more confident, suits him well! But one thing I missed- Mr. Bennet is intelligent and well read – wouldn’t he have recognised the name “Darcy” as very French? And how could Darcy’s potential French connections have influence on the plot?

    Well, I’m very excited and you really got me hooked, I’m looking forward to reading more and getting to know Madcap Princess Charlotte 😉

    P.S.: I’ ve been to the movies today, watching Bridget Jones Baby and really enjoyed Colin Firth – he plays Darcy so well!

    • I love the idea of Darcy losing everything! (Hopefully temporarily.) I would really like to see how he would interact with Elizabeth under such circumstances – especially if Abigail were the one to write it. 🙂

    • One of the questions I asked myself when I started this is what it would take for Darcy to learn to play a false role. We know how he feels about disguises of every sort, so it would take something really big. In the real P&P world, he hasn’t ever been pushed that far. In this book, he has, and it does make him more humble.

      I hadn’t thought about using D’arcy – an interesting point. I may throw that in at some point!

    • Thanks! It’s been really fun to look into historical possibilities for this book. The story is all about Elizabeth and Darcy, but you know me – I have to know all the background even if I never put it in the book!

  16. This is great, Abigail! I always enjoy your variations. 🙂

    Speculation: Georgiana’s condition is purposely exaggerated to keep the French soldiers from being too interested in her. I hope Jane isn’t pregnant with a French officer’s child, but I can see it going that way. (She would have been unwilling, of course.) As for Darcy, I have no idea what he might have done to keep his estate….but I can’t wait to find out!

    • Thanks! Your speculations are going in the correct direction, but Jane isn’t pregnant – I have a firm no-violence-towards-women rule for this book. There are some Frenchmen who try to apply pressure to get their way, but they don’t succeed. It’s not very realistic for an occupied territory, but it’s my book and I like keeping my characters safe. 😉

  17. I am excited! loving the first chapter…here is hoping that Darcy is just lying about Georgiana for her own protection! can’t wait for next week 🙂

  18. Abigail, your books were the first P&P variations I bought four years ago, and I was hooked. This looks like a very interesting vagary, and I look forward to the next installment. Keep up the good writing.

  19. I love your books a great deal, and it appears that this one will live up to the excellence of the others. Looking forward to reading more!

  20. enjoyed this excerpt very much. Bingley is the voice of reason. He is fit. Everyone had to make concessions, even Mr. Bennet. I looking forward to meeting Darcy. I wonder if he is part of an underground.

    • Sorry. My mobile is having fits. I am typing too rapidly for it. Bingley is right not fit. And I enjoyed this excerpt very much.

  21. Wow! This is certainly a unique what if and very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I am really curious to see what is going on and if the French invaders can be thrown off.

  22. I have not read the other comments as I just got my computer back from repairs. So I have a lot to catch up on. England invaded by the French…
    OMG!!! Jane is beautiful so the family hides her to protect her…whether she has already been compromised or not is anyone’s guess at this point but I will hope she is not compromised…poor thing.

    Did Lydia go willingly? You say the Bennets had to sacrifice their youngest daughter so I am wondering if it was free will and/or whether Lydia truly knew what she was doing…she only has half a brain IMO, anyway. Georgiana is a half-wit? So she was raped? Or some such event affected her…is Wickham a traitor who threw in with the French and used his position to take her?

    I am always happy to read another story by Abigail Reynolds but this one is such a turn about. I am glad you assured us of a HEA for ODC but what of the Motherland? Changing world history – my, oh, my, but you are brave.

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the next post.

    • Lydia, I assure you, was completely willing. Blue coats, red coats, what’s the difference? A soldier is a soldier, after all. 🙂

      Although I strive for historical accuracy and women were frequently sexually assaulted in occupied countries, it’s not something I want to include in my book. There are some attempts to blackmail women into sexual liaisons, but they don’t succeed, and there is no violence towards women beyond some off-screen rough treatment during an arrest. in fact, in most of the cases where a weapon is appears in this book, it’s a woman holding a pistol on a man. Usually a pretty little muff pistol, since those fit in reticules so nicely. 🙂

      As for England – well, Germany, Prussia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and Portugal all managed to survive occupation by Napoleon’s army, and England will, too. There’ll always be an England. 🙂

      • Thank you for relieving some of my angst although I do like angst…just not sexual assault of any kind. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

  23. Oh I laughed when I read the French invaded Britain and are now in control! Brilliant what-if! Already, I am hooked and I actually like how you have portrayed Bingley. He seems less boyish and more manly with his opinions. I can well imagine D’arcy using his family name and maybe French connections to keep his land in order to assist the ‘Loyalists’! I agree about Georgiana’s role of a half-wit to be more of a cover to keep her safe. Oh but Elizabeth already has some very pert opinions so the road ahead for the two of them looks very rocky. As for Lydia, why am I not surprised! Kitty is headed in the same direction unless you can save her from herself in some way. I do like it when she and Mary are somewhat ‘reformed’. I can only imagine what you have in mind for Mr. Collins! Then there is Lady Catherine and her strong personality bowing to the French…that should prove interesting! Who can forget Wickham…the only dilemma I see there is the fact that he was in the militia…unless he turned sides and gave sensitive information for them to trust him. Yes, that would be his modas operandi!

    I can just imagine the fun you are going to have with his! Thank you for sharing and looking forward to Monday!

    • Yes, Bingley has had to learn to stand up for himself more in this brave new world. Darcy, on the other hand, has turned inwards even more than in P&P. One thing I’ve had to keep in mind is that the invasion happened in 1805, so anything that would have happened after 1805 may not have happened. Wickham doesn’t join the militia in P&P until 1811, so that’s a non-issue here. The one place I’ve had to bend that rule is regarding a name. I refer a couple of times to Lord Wellington, but in 1805 he was still plain Arthur Wellesley, so that’s what he should be called in this world. Unfortunately, few of my readers would have any idea who General Wellesley was, so I’m rather stuck with Wellington.

      As for Lady Catherine… well, since the French would most likely have invaded through Kent, Rosings would have been an early stop for them. in other occupied countries, Napoleon’s troops were the most violent at the very beginning. I Imagine Lady Catherine telling them, ‘Over my dead body!’ The invaders would be in total agreement, especially with all the riches of Rosings waiting to be plundered. This is why I’m glad the invasion was over 6 years before my story starts!

  24. Oh my, definitely a new variation! I might need to brush up on my history a bit, but the plot sounds fascinating.

    So many questions and conspiracy looming on Darcy’s role with the French. Can’t wait for more!

  25. Wow! What a fascinating idea for a variation! And, as usual, your writing is superb. One little grammar correction: The past tense of execution by hanging is “hanged.” A picture is hung, but a man strung up by the neck to die is hanged.

    • Thanks, Debbie. I’ve made the correction, though it sent me on a wild goose chase since I was sure one of the primary sources I used had ‘hung.’ Turns out they were interchangeable back in the day and the rule was made in the late 19th century. But since I’m writing in 2016, I’m glad to have the correction. 🙂

  26. Way to go Ms Reynolds. This is totally a new twist to a story. To be underrule of the French. WOW! I am drooling waiting for the chapter. I am so curious to find the story behind Jane’s imprisionment. I am following this to publication. It will definately be one for my library.
    Thank you

  27. Changed a bit of history in your new Pride and Prejudice Variation, but I’m ready for more! Hopefully, there will be a HEA for ODC and the country. So type away, quickly please.

  28. Wow! The mind boggles at all the mysteries and the potential for a resentful and hotheaded Lizzy! Looks like a great story, and I can’t wait to read more. 🙂

  29. I believe that I have only read 1 variation where the French successfully invaded England. It was great in the beginning, but got very strange, so I stopped reading it. Anywho…I love the sound of this new story and look forward to seeing where you go from here. I am especially curious what you do with Georgianna’s character. Is she the reason that Darcy had to make a deal with the French? Can’t wait for more!

    • You may yet decide that this story goes in a strange direction – we will have to wait and see! And you’re right – Darcy would have been left without the ability to support or protect Georgiana if he hadn’t made a deal with the French. I suspect many people would make trade-offs like that, not for their own sake, but for the sake of people they love.

  30. Oh my! What a change of – well, nearly everything! What an idea!
    I confess: At first I was quite offended. What have you done to my favourite characters?! I usually do not like those war-stories at all.
    Your variations were the first ones I read about half a year ago – all of them. After about 100 other mostly good stories they still are my most favourite ones.
    So I read the first chapter, though, and was intrigued, soon!
    Since then I caught myself on several occations menthally tiptoeing about Longbourn and Meryton trying to be invisible among all those French officers…. I am hooked!

    • I’m glad you gave it a chance! This isn’t actually a war story at all, just like Pride & Prejudice isn’t – and it did take place during a war that was constantly on everyone’s minds, even if Jane Austen didn’t mention it. If there hadn’t been fear of invasion, there wouldn’t have been a militia in Meryton. Or Casablanca – the plot depends on the war, but it isn’t a war story, just the story of two people.

  31. Wow! You’ve got me hooked. Great idea! I also have all your books, so am so pleased you are working on another! And what a concept!!! Can hardly wait to see where you take us with this one!!!!!!!!!!

  32. There is trouble coming, that’s for sure. I absolutely love this change, it’s very intriguing. I imagine some difficulties ahead for Darcy as he comes into this neighborhood. And I suspect Kitty may learn a very hard lesson as well. I look forward to the next installment!

  33. Hi Abigail, I wonder if Mrs. Bennet is (in secret) pleased that the French invaded. In the story “Twelf Days in August”, England is conquerd by the French. Because the French Code Civil becomes the law of the land, The Entail of Longbourn doesn’t exit anymore and Mr. Collins can’t throw the Bennet Ladies into the hedgerows after Mr. Bennet dies.

    • I’m not familiar with that story, but the Napoleonic Code plays into my book in several ways, especially around rules on marriage. It does protect Mrs. Bennet in that regard, and while she’s anxious to see LIzzy bag a rich man, she isn’t pushing anyone to marry – except perhaps Lydia, since that was the price of getting Longbourn back. I don’t go into the inheritance question in detail because it isn’t important to my story, but it is very nice to be able to leave Mr. Collins out of the story!

      Money, though, would still be a huge issue for Mrs. Bennet. Napoleon was well-known for forcing occupied countries pay for their own occupation as well as providing funds and cannon fodder for his wars, leading to general impoverishment. But I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about how the English would respond to the new marriage laws, since people following them would not necessarily be married by English laws, and vice versa. I suspect a lot of people went through both processes to be on the safe side.

      • Yes,we had some issues with the French Civil Code in the Netherlands to. The French demanded that everbody had a Surname and set up register (outside of the church) for births, marriage, death etc,.They also demanded that every house had an adress (street&number). Some took a poke at the French officials and said that their Surname should be “Shithead” or something like that and thought they pulled a fast one on the French. But the horror was when the French left, and the new dutch goverment kept the new ex-French civil register and the names. They finally had the means to tax almost everybody and knew where to find them if they didn’t pay up.

        • That must have been an unpleasant surprise! But what government could possibly resist using a ready-made tax list? There are big chunks of the Code in some of the states that were part of the Louisiana Purchase, when Napoleon sold some of France’s colonial land to the new US – in order to finance his invasion of England. How different the US would be if that sale had never taken place!

  34. What a variation on a theme!
    Am totally intrigued and I have no idea where this story is going. What I do know is that I’m looking forward to taking this journey with these beloved characters,sure in the knowledge that Darcy is not a traitor,Georgiana is assuredly not a half wit,and sparks will indeed fly between Darcy and Elizabeth.

    Oh,what verbal slings and arrows we will be witness to! What barbs,veiled looks and telling states we have to look forward to! Can’t wait! Cheers for such a fascinatingly different story!

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