A Test Of Love That Will Take Them To Hell And Back… A vampyre, cursed for eternity, Darcy thought he could marry Elizabeth and never tell her the truth… but as he carries her across the Alps to visit the one person he hopes can advise him, Elizabeth’s terror grows, until the Darcy family curse threatens to tear both of them apart… Starting where Pride and Prejudice ends, international bestselling author Amanda Grange delivers a brilliant vision of Austen’s brooding hero in a delightfully thrilling, spinechilling, breathtaking read.
Welcome Amanda! Amanda’s offering a signed copy of her book to one of our commenters today, so please join the discussion–and she’ll mail to the US or UK. We’ll announce the winner here tomorrow.
Hi! It’s great to be here on the Riskies blog so thanks for inviting me!
This book is something of a departure for you from your previous books. What prompted this new direction?
I wanted to write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice because I adore the characters and I wanted to read more about them, but there are so many sequels that I wanted to write something different. I’d had an idea of Darcy as a vampyre a long time ago when watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer but I couldn’t see what to do with it, so I just tucked the idea away at the back of my mind and got on with other things. Then, when I was reading a lot of Regency Gothics as research for Henry Tilney’s Diary – because his book, Northanger Abbey, is a Gothic – the idea just came to me: what if I started the sequel on Lizzy and Darcy’s very romantic wedding day, and what if I then sent them to Europe on their wedding tour, and what if Lizzy slowly discovered that Darcy was a vampyre? It immediately felt right and so I decided to go with it.
Did you find it intimidating channelling Jane Austen?
ALol, I’m not sure about chanelling Jane Austen! I just love her books and, as a reader, I want more. As no one else writes Austenesque books that satisfy me, I write my own. I try not to think about the fact that I’m reworking or extrapolating some of the best novels ever written, otherwise I would never dare put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard!
What sort of research did you do?
I’ve done a lot of research into the Regency period over the last ten years or so, reading letters and novels from the time, studying fashion plates, visiting stately homes and learning about the political and economic situation. Most of this doesn’t go into my books, but I find it helps me to know about these things so that I get the background right. For Mr Darcy, Vampyre I researched the histories of Paris and Venice as well as researching the landscapes of Regency Europe, complete with travel arrangements. I’m lucky because I’ve been to most of the locations used in Mr Darcy, Vampyre and as the cities like Venice are so old, large parts of them are still the same today as they were two hundred years ago, so I had all that experience to draw on.
What’s your favorite part of the book?
It’s difficult to say. Like all authors, I suspect, I love every bit of my books, and if you ask me on another day I would probably choose a different bit! But I’m very fond of this bit, where Lizzy and Darcy are in Paris, attending a salon. It’s a very romantic part of a novel which is full of romance but also full of fantasy and horror as well.
Darcy was at once welcomed by four women who walked up to him with lithe movements and lingering glances. Their dresses were rainbow hued, in the colours of gems, and flimsy, like all the Parisian dresses. Their hair was dark and their skin was pallid.
‘You will have to be careful,’ came a voice at Elizabeth’s shoulder.
She turned to see a man with fine features and tousled hair. He had an air of boredom about him, and although Elizabeth did not usually like those who were easily bored there was something strangely magnetic about him. His ennui gave his mouth a sulky turn which was undeniably attractive.
‘They will take him from you if they can,’ the man continued, watching them all the while.
Elizabeth turned to look at them and as she did so she was reminded of Caroline Bingley and her constant efforts to catch Darcy’s attention. He had been impervious to Caroline and he was impervious to the Parisian women as well, for all their efforts to enrapture him. As they talked and smiled and leant against him, flicking imaginary specks of dust from his coat and picking imaginary hairs from his sleeve, they looked at him surreptitiously. When they saw that he was oblivious of their attempts to captivate him they redoubled their efforts, one of them whispering in his ear, another leaning close to his face, and the other two walking, arm in arm, in front of him, in order to display their figures.
‘It is not right, what they do there, he being so newly married,’ said a woman, coming up and standing beside the two of them. ‘But forgive me, I was forgetting, we have not been introduced. I am Katrine du Bois, and that is my brother, Philippe.’
There was an air of warmth about the woman which was missing from many of the salon guests, and Elizabeth sensed in her a friend. And yet there was something melancholy about her, as though she had suffered a great disappointment from which she had never recovered.
‘It is not right, no,’ said Philippe. ‘But it is nature. What can one do?’
He turned to look at Elizabeth with sympathy but Elizabeth was only amused.
‘Poor things!’ she said.
Darcy wore the same expression he had worn when she had first seen him at the Meryton assembly; and despite the difference in the two events, the noisy vulgarity of the assembly and the refined elegance of the salon, he was still above his company. His dark hair was set off by his white linen and his well moulded face, even in such company, was handsome. His dark eyes wandered restlessly over his companions until they came to rest on Elizabeth. And then his face relaxed into softer lines, full of warmth and love.
‘I wish a man would look at me the way that Darcy looks at you,’ said Katrine.
‘I am very lucky,’ said Elizabeth, and she knew that she was.
She had not married for wealth or position, she had married for love. She wished that she was not in company, that she and Darcy had stayed at the inn where they could have been alone, but she knew they would not be in Paris for ever. The calls and engagements would come to an end and then they would have more time to spend, just the two of them, together.
‘You are,’ said Katrine. ‘I have many things, I have jewels and clothes, carriages and horses, a fine house and finer furnishings, but I would give them all for one such look.’
Darcy’s companions claimed his attention and he turned reluctantly away. As he did so his hand moved to his chest as though he were lifting something beneath his shirt, pulling it away from his chest and then letting it drop again.
‘What is it he does there?’ asked Katrine. ‘Does he wear something round his neck?’
‘Yes, I bought him a crucifix yesterday. The shops in Paris are very tempting,’ said Elizabeth. ‘He refused to take it at first, but he had given me so much and I had given him so little that I insisted and at last he allowed me to fasten it around his neck.’
Katrine’s voice was reverent. ‘He must love you very much,’ she said.
Great excerpt! What’s next for you?
I’m writing a Darcy and Elizabeth story for a Christmas anthology and I’m also starting work on a prequel to Mr Darcy, Vampyre, which explores Darcy’s early life as a vampyre and reveals a lot more about the other characters in the novel, as well as putting a new slant on his early relationship with Lizzy.
Thanks so much for crossing the Atlantic digitally to be with us today, Amanda. Chat away–and have your name entered into the pot to win a signed copy!