Peculiar Engagement Chapter 1 — 24 Comments

  1. The painting is beautiful! I would like to step into it myself! What a wonderful memento to cherish a friendship!
    I have read all of your previous P&P variations so I am truly looking forward to this one as well! An Unpleasant Walk was one of my favorites, You twisted that one very well!! And Pirates and Prejudice was a great read as well.

    On to the chapter, I feel like you are giving us a closer look at Anne. I feel bad for her all over again! LOL Her mother is the obvious overbearing woman we all know and love to hate, but to get a glimpse of her father as well and how he handles things is refreshing! Seeing her young cousin through her eyes is also intriguing. I am curious to see if her thoughts stay the same on the engagement of a peculiar kind!

    I did find 2 errors which abruptly took me out of the story. I know that you will read and re read this when you publish it, but I also thought you might like to know. I am not sure why errors throw me off the story so easily. The first one is here:
    “Their fathers, although not directed related save by matrimony ”
    And here;
    “Annabelle believed he could have stayed outdoors all day if he could, but she was always eager to return inside.” Should that be would have stayed outdoors if he could?

    I’m just being nit picky because I like the story and where it can lead! Sorry for that!!!

    Thinking of Anne as a writer makes her more likable for sure. I have seen a lot of great “what if’s” where she was a much more lively character out from under her mother’s thumb and I believe that would be true here as well.
    I can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the book! I think throwing in Fitzwilliam will bring her out of her shell even more, with his natural ease of conversation. He will be a buffer between Her and Darcy. What kind of mishaps will occur when Wikham is in the mix, I can only guess, but look forward to finding out!! I
    Thank you for a peek!!

  2. Thanks, Angie! Love to get those errors corrected early! Love those who have eagle eyes, because I don’t! (It took me two readings to figure out what was wrong with the first one.) I’ll go correct those right away.

  3. Anne must be an excellent writer, since I would really like to keep reading this! And her foreshadowing – ““Oh, my dear girl,” he replied, “there are many things that we love dearly that we must one day say goodbye to.”” makes me wonder how she will feel about Darcy marrying Elizabeth. She sounds like a writer with the stories she tells herself as a child. 😉

  4. I agree with Abigail’s comment. I immediately thought of the forshadowing as well. I liked seeing both Darcy and Anne as children as well as a glimpse into Anne’s father. As far as Col. Fitzwilliam, I hope that he will help both Darcy and Anne realize that they are not meant for each other. He will ease Anne’s feelings when Darcy refuses to go along with Lady Catherine. I like the idea that he will eventually marry Georgiana, but perhaps he could help Anne publish her writing and feel good about herself as an independent single woman.

  5. What a wonderful first chapter! My heart goes out to ‘Annabelle’ as she is ignored by her mother and the times spent with her father are so few. I was deeply moved by ‘there are many things that we love dearly that we must one day say goodbye to’ and ‘ wishing with all her heart that her mother would find something in her to appreciate and praise as much as she did her garden.’ Having Lady C as her mother does not give her a very good role model as a caring loving person. Having ‘Robert’ thrown into the mix will show’ Annabelle’ how boys get themselves into mischief. I do hope that they include ‘Annabelle’ in some of them. She so desparately needs laughter in her life!

  6. This was a very lovely read…can’t put my finger on exactly what it stirs in me…almost melancholy. Obviously, Annabelle is not yet sickly (if that is even part of this version ) but the light hurting her eyes might be a foreshadowing. Fairly typical girl/boy play activities although I had to buy my son the Prince Strongheart who went with the Lady Lovely Locks doll owned by his sisters so that he could play along. He did own G.I. Joe, etc. but had no brothers or male cousins so looked to get into what his sisters were doing.

    I, too, think that painting is lovely. Sad that you lost a friend but fortuitous that you have that to remember her by, among other things. So heartwarming that Annabelle has the imagination to put herself into a happier “picture”. Lonely child using her alone time to create events and surroundings that show she knows there is a different life out there…other than the marriage she sees between her parents and the warnings about being above others. Also a clue to her future writings.

    How do I think Robert Adamson’s introduction will affect these two other cousins? I am sure that men being men, they will spend some time going off on rides, kicking a ball around, exploring in the woods, both near and far, etc. Fitzpatrick’s twitchy foot and drumming fingers seem to convey energy not being used up. So even if they have time for Annabelle after their activities, it will not be totally one-on-one as Annabelle is used to at present. Robert Adamson may tease her, which Fitzpatrick has not done. And Robert may try to draw Fitzpatrick into this type of teasing banter. But Fitzpatrick (Is he going to have a younger sister?) will usually be more sensitive to Annabelle’s feelings. I can’t see Robert buckling under to Lady Candace Drake completely. He will have his little remarks, even as a young man. I can see him questioning, “What’s this about you two marrying?” But out of the hearing of Lady C. (Wickham is not mentioned so I am not speculating on his role here.)

    So you certainly gave me a lot to speculate about this Monday morning. Thank you. I enjoyed the details about their youth and the relationship thus far.

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments! I did have someone suggest to me that Anne might write like one of the Bronte sisters, but I’m not quite sure I can pull that off. I think Anne’s story would lend itself to that, anyway. 🙂

    I might be more sporadic in my comments today. I just came home from the store and found an outdoor (thank goodness!) faucet running and I can’t turn it off. I had to divert the water away from the house until my husband gets home. Not sure what is going on there., Right now he is in the dentist chair getting fillings. Don’t know what will be more upsetting – that or the water problem. Ok, I’m letting out a big sigh and not worry.

  8. Awww, Annabelle is so cute. I’m currently reading Master Under Good Regulation and – as you know, since you wrote it – Anne is a young girl in it as well, which I enjoy seeing). I think when Robert comes they will do what little boys do, run off and play outside, and leave little girls alone. Especially as Anne isn’t really allowed to play outside anyway. Robert maybe won’t have the same awkwardness toward Annabelle that Fitzpatrick does, since Robert isn’t The Betrothed. How sad that Lady Candace wouldn’t display Annabelle’s flowers 🙁

    I have 2 random questions – would Annabelle use Hunsford as the location of her village since it’s a “real” place? Is she going to publish this story? And did children back then call their fathers “daddy”? Ok that was 3 questions, sorry.

  9. I loved the story. it has a wistful tone which would be a display of Annbelle’s feelings because as the book is being written she know Darcy & she won’t marry. There is a sadness as she watches Darcy’s parents show affection to him which she never gets from her mother and rarely from her father. It’s as if her father is afraid to cross his wife, but dearly loves his daughter. I also liked her father’s words that all things we love we must say goodbye to.

    It is truly a shame that Lady Candace won’t display the flowers her daughter picks because they aren’t perfect enough, as Monica P said. My son would bring me bedragled dandelions that I would but in a little bud vase because he, at 3, wanted to bring me a pretty flower.

    As for Fitzpatrick’s foot twirling, little boys need to play and are very energetic. That would be a way for him to keep still, but still move. At 49, I do that if I have to sit still too long.

    I think that when Robert comes the boys go off and explore the woods, ride their ponies, fish and generally stay out of doors. I can see Annabelle being jealous of Richard. Even when in the nursery together the boys will play together leaving her out. I can also see Richard teasing the both of them.

    I found a typo in the paragraph that begins “To the west of the manor was a lovely park…” in the 6th line I believe it should say “good enough to be displayed” not display. When I type newsletters to parents or wrote reports for school I always needed to have someone else read it, I could never find my own errors.

    Thank you for sharing your WIP with us. It is very enjoyable thus far.

  10. Both points are good, Monica. I went out and changed the name of the village and also changed daddy to father, although I got to thinking whether I should have said ‘you play my husband,’ but I decided not to. And thanks Deborah! That was pointed out earlier and I thought I had changed it, but obviously hadn’t. Now, I got a second revision back from Gayle, who edits my stories, with more recommended changes from her first look through, so I’ve made those changes. If there are more mistakes, it’s probably because I have this terrible issue with making new mistakes when I edit my work. There is nothing major, just some wording suggestions.

    Again, thanks for your comments!

  11. I think it so fun to see their childhood from Anne’s point of view. You can already see from an early age how her surroundings and particularly her mother influences her future personality and preferences. We really never hear about her relationship with her father, so that was very sweet. It’s too bad he didn’t stand up more to his wife and show more open affection to Anne. Mi took the statement about having to say goodbye to things we love to foreshadow his own death, which must happen when she’s still pretty young.

    Her relationship with “Fitzpatrick” in this chapter seems pretty typical of boys and girls at that age. You can see young Fitzpatrick struggling against his normal boyish tendencies and his upbringing to be polite and proper. I think when “Robert” arrives, those two will be thick as thieves and Anne might start to resent them having a playmate while she does not. I could also imagine a scene in which Robert is teasing Fitzpatrick about marrying Annabelle (thinking she wasn’t listening) and Fitzpatrick makes some sort of insensitive comment like, “oh, I’m not really going to marry plain Annabelle. I am going to marry someone beautiful and lively” or something that mirrors his statement about Lizzy at the first assembly. He has a habit of saying the wrong thing after all. Maybe that smashing of self confidence and her feeling left out leads her to either become sickly or to pretend to be sick to get attention or sympathy, both from the boys and her mother.

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Thanks, again for letting us participate in the story telling!

  12. Thank you for this lovely chapter!
    Anne sounds very self-aware, and so it makes so many things in her childhood so poignant — the coldness of her mother (especially compared to her cousins’ parents), her wanting to be the prettiest girl at a ball, and recognizing her attraction to Fitzpatrick — assuming we know how all of this turns out, it’s sad that she had such hopes for more of a fairy-tale life than what she got!

    I think that the addition of cousin Robert is going to leave Anne in the dust (back in the house) while the boys (including his older brother?) are roaming around outside, where she can’t be. As others have commented, I suspect that will cause her a fair amount of resentment and sadness that she’s being excluded. I think Fitzpatrick/Darcy will be relieved to finally be out and about with his male cousin, but will probably feel some guilt over leaving Anne behind. Initially I can’t see Robert having a good relationship with Anne at all. Maybe this prompts Anne to start writing to create a world more to her liking, that she can be important in? (Maybe she’ll write a story casting evil cousin Robert as a villain?)

  13. Oooh! thanks for you comments! Robert a villain? I might just leave that role for Wickham! 🙂 I agree that he will throw an interesting mix in. And we might just see the first evidence next time of Annabelle’s (Anne’s) physical issue. Just a little.

  14. I took the father’s remark of there are many things that we love dearly that we must one day say goodbye to.” to mean that he was in poor health & he knew he wouldn’t live long.
    I had a rather overbearing British aunt. She always made a fuss about boys or men in the vicinity but neglected her daughter & was the bane of her sisters and sister-in-laws. Once my father had come for a visit alone, and when my mother joined him, they were talking together in their bedroom, when my aunt came in & insisted my mother leave the room – it was as if she thought it was improper for them to be alone in a bedroom, even though they had had six children together and had been married more than 40 years. Then my aunt insisted that my mother share the aunt’s bedroom, rather than my dad’s! I always assumed Lady Catherine would do similar things – flatter (perhaps even flirt with) the men who visit but bear down on the women & be really critical and dismissive of them..
    All the Roberts suggested are possible, but I rather like the idea of his getting along with both of the children separately, and getting to know him makes Annabelle realize she doesn’t want to marry Fitzpatrick – life can be more exciting than marriage as lived by her parents.

  15. Oh, I meant to say my uncle tried to make up to the daughter for his wife’s neglect. He was such a kind man. I”m glad you’ve made the father so kind, yet he fights with Lady C – presumably trying to get her to behave better towards their daughter and other living things.

  16. Thanks for your thoughts, Beatrice! Lady Catherine just may act preferentially towards men. Makes me wonder if she would have preferred to have a son. Hmmm….

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  22. I liked this quite a lot, actually. You included a plethora of little details that really spoke to me. I felt a sense of sadness and isolation that I have come to associate with Anne. I liked the foreshadowing and the glimpses of the cousins as children. I even liked little Anne’s take on her parents. The idea that she had no notion that husbands didn’t always do as their wives said was adorable.

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