A Quest for Mr Darcy

Prologue

June 1812 – Mayfair, London

Fitzwilliam Darcy dropped his pen onto the blotter and pushed himself away from the desk, leaning back in the worn leather chair that had borne his father’s and his grandfather’s weight before him.

The seasons had altered. Spring had tumbled full-blown into summer with a rapacious enthusiasm, and London was stifled by its unexpected intensity. The open French windows, which overlooked a charming walled garden, encouraged nothing but warm air into the room. Not a breath of breeze stirred Darcy’s hair nor brushed against his cheek, and he tugged at the restraint of his neck cloth. Then, with a frustrated sigh, he sat up.

Even now, with the time lengthening between his visit to Kent and the change of scene to one with no possible association with…her, he could not rid his mind of Elizabeth Bennet. No matter where he was or what he was doing, she would intrude.

These past weeks had proved little other than removing to Town solved nothing. Knowing the Bennets had family in a distant part of London was sufficient to persuade him he might catch sight of her at any given moment. A head of chestnut curls, a glimpse of a light and pleasing figure, a lady’s laugh of genuine pleasure – all these things conspired against him, tugged at his senses, intensified the heavy weight he now bore in his chest. He seemed unable, despite her blatant aversion, to quench his desire to lay eyes upon her.

Getting to his feet, Darcy walked over to the hearth and stared at the landscape gracing the wall above the mantel. Pemberley had called to him, but he knew heading northwards would not answer for his needs.

No; he had awoken after yet another night of fitful sleep with a renewed determination to shed all memory of Elizabeth Bennet and her summary rejection of his hand. He would venture abroad – leave behind the verdure of an early summer in full bloom, a season all too reminiscent of Elizabeth’s vivacity, and seek distraction elsewhere, in places where he could not possibly expect their paths to cross.

He intended to secure passage for himself, his sister Georgiana and her companion on a sailing for Antwerp departing in six weeks’ time. From Belgium, they would tour across northern Europe, away from the conflict currently gripping the south.

A smile graced Darcy’s countenance. His sister had made no secret of her delight in the scheme, a fine balm for his lowness of spirit. They had been much apart of late, with his spending part of the previous winter in Hertfordshire – he caught himself quickly as his thoughts rushed with no consideration for his heart back to that time – and then he had travelled to Kent in the spring…

Enough! Exasperated with himself, his weakness, his folly, Darcy stared at the painting, desperate to focus upon something, anything other than Elizabeth. A welcome knock came upon the door, and he turned about as Pagett, butler to the Darcy family since the present incumbent had been a young child, made his stately entrance.

‘This has just arrived for you, sir,’ intoned Pagett gravely with a formal bow and an equally solemn offering of the slim packet resting upon the silver salver in his gloved hands.

‘Thank you, Pagett.’ Picking it up and noting the mark of the shipping line with which he had made his enquiries earlier, Darcy dropped it onto the desk; he would study the documentation later.

Pagett began his deferential removal from the room, and Darcy sighed. Despite endless requests, the man would not relax his formal tendencies and persisted in backing out of the room as if Darcy were royalty and not allowed to observe the man’s back.

The door closed, and he threw himself back into the chair, retrieving his abandoned pen and selecting a piece of parchment. He felt a renewed sense of purpose. It was good to be doing something, making plans, taking positive steps towards putting the past behind him. As he anticipated an absence of several months’ duration, he needed to put his affairs in order and, with a quick glance at the clock, Darcy dipped his pen into the well and began to write.

~o0o~

The Darcys set sail from Southampton one fine morning in early August, a day bathed in warm sunshine and blessed with a steady breeze. As the vessel moved away from the docks, Georgiana Darcy and her companion elected to return to their cabins, but Darcy lingered on deck as they slowly made their way out into open seas.

As the expanse of water between ship and land widened and the dockside faded, disappearing into a blur of coastline until indistinguishable from anything else, Darcy released a long, slow breath, firmly closing his mind to any thought of Elizabeth Bennet.

Had he but known it, the lady herself was travelling, but not to foreign climes. She was part way through a tour of the Peak District with her aunt and uncle and staying but five miles from Pemberley.

As Darcy threw one last glance at England’s diminishing shores before turning away, Elizabeth seated herself by a window in the inn at Lambton in Derbyshire. Then she broke the seal on the first of two letters from her sister Jane, settling back against the cushions in happy anticipation of what news her correspondence might bring.

~o0o~

What’s it all about?

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?

~o0o~

The eBook was released on 22nd June 2017. The paperback will be out during July.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31 Responses to A Quest for Mr Darcy

  1. Hollis says:

    What a great ending, I love it.

  2. Janet Taylor says:

    Such a lovely ending, Cass! Thank you for wrapping it up perfectly!

  3. Carole in Canada says:

    You brought tears to my eyes…I love how Bingley took his time with Jane and the proposal! Amazing. I can picture it clearly. You brought laughter too…I must say water and Mr. Latimer don’t mix! Oh to see everyone come together like this. I still think you could do another sequel to this one! Thank you!

  4. I loved it. Thank you dor sharing. Congratulations on it getting it published. The cover is very nice.

  5. So lovely!!!!! I adored this story as a whole, plus the epilogue is perfection itself.

    Thank you for sharing it with us, Cassandra 🙂

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

  6. Roxey says:

    *le sigh*
    A beautiful ending!
    I’m so bad with names, i had to think for a while to remember who Sarah was!
    I guess I need to reread so I need the book!
    Roxey

  7. Fran says:

    That was an awesome epilogue. It had everything I could have asked for. The last line was great. Good luck with your publishing it. Thanks for writing for us fans.

  8. Beate says:

    Sooooo nice. I will read it again ans again. And ordered a copy already. Thank you so much Cass for this beautiful Story. And there is an n missing. When the Colonel searches his person for his son… 💟💟🌸

    • Cass says:

      Beate!!!! Hugs to you for spotting a typo! Phew! It may be too late for the paperback as the interior has gone in for formatting, but I can change it in the eBook. And I read that Epilogue through SO many times for typos! Sigh

      • Beate says:

        I’m so sorry Cass! My post i full of typos – I wrote it on fire 😂 Well on my kindle Fire – German version. So who am I to to tell you about typos. Especially when this is one of the best books – or epilogues ever. Just finished one of Zoe Burtons first books, and another first one from Leenie. Sorry to say… there are significant differences between the first and later books. Your first three books let me search for Cassandra Grafton. And you are … one of a kind … don’t know if there are restrictions on length, words or what ever from Amazon or your publisher. For me, what you write is exceptional. One n more or less🌺

      • Cass says:

        Beate! You are so sweet! Thank you for your lovely words ❤

        I value the flagging up of the typo!!! I only wish I could see them more easily!

  9. What a beautiful ending to a beautiful story! Congratulations on finishing! It’s a great accomplishment. How perfect that the finale is set at Georgiana’s wedding! I also had to take a minute to figure out who Sarah was — how funny! I loved all of your original characters, even Latimer, (every story needs a villain) but especially the twins! I’ve pre-ordered and am looking forward to reading the edited version.
    Best wishes to you on the launch and your next project. See you next time!
    Carol in CT

    • Cass says:

      Your kind words mean the world, Carol (aka Cassandra!)

      LOL re Sarah! As for Latimer, I’ve realised I have a tendency to kill someone off in the Epilogue. It was Collins in AFP! 😉

      I will miss you!

  10. Suzanne Sawyer says:

    What a great epilogue! I loved reading along over the last few months and will be reading it again as soon as it’s out! What fun this has been – Thanks Cass.

  11. Ann Isom says:

    what a perfect ending to a lovely book…thanks Cass for this very nice epilogue. Will mosey on over to Amazon to pre-order my book now! Happy Wednesday!!!!

  12. Mari says:

    Thanks so much for writing such a wonderful story. I can’t wait to order it so I can read it in full. Proud of you. Hope to see another story from you after you rest up. You did good. Thanks for the entertainment.

    • Cass says:

      Aww, thank you, Mari. What a lovely thing to say! ❤

      I don't miss the pressure of posting twice a week, but I do miss the interactions with all you lovely readers!

  13. Lizzybel says:

    A lovely summation! I look forward to getting my copy of A Quest for Mr. Darcy and reading it straight through (probably in one sitting). However, when I clicked the link in the email, I got an error message on Amazon. I will search it out later to pre-order my copy. Thanks for the very enjoyable read!

  14. ANovick says:

    Loved your story, sweet ending.
    Those Bingley twins are great, they really added to the story. Glad everyone got their HEA! I love seeing the Colonel holding his child.
    Elizabeth and Darcy are the ultimate couple and their children are so cute.

  15. Maria Maderi says:

    Cass,
    What a great ending to a lovely story. Congrats on the publication. Will be looking forward to reading it all over again.

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