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Book Under the Spotlight: Georgiana Darcy, a Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, by Alice Isakova

By Mariagrazia @SMaryG


With her temptingly large dowry, the beautiful and talented Georgiana Darcy catches the eye of numerous suitors, not all of whom wish to marry purely for love. As Georgiana navigates the treacherous waters of courtship, her story becomes intertwined with that of Anne de Bourgh, her wealthy but painfully awkward cousin, who stirs up trouble when she sets her sights on a young gentleman with a rank far below her own. In so doing, Anne encounters the opposition of her proud and domineering mother, the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and sets in motion a chain of events that brings a damaging secret to light and threatens to destroy Georgiana's dreams of happiness. Intrigues, gossip, and elopements further complicate Georgiana's efforts to find love and avoid the snares of fortune-hunters.
Written in a sparkling, witty, humorous style on par with Jane Austen's own in Pride and Prejudice, Alice Isakova's Georgiana Darcy continues the tale that has delighted readers for over two centuries.
Read an excerpt
When Mrs. Townsend had shown the Darcy ladies their rooms, Georgiana asked their hostess, "May I play some music on your pianoforte? It seems like ages since the last time I played.""Certainly, if you wish, but you have only just arrived! Would you not prefer to rest after your long journey and take some refreshment?""I assure you, Mrs. Townsend, that nothing will revive my energies better than to play some tunes. As I recall, you have a very fine instrument in your drawing room.""Yes; I do not play myself, but you may remember that Maria, my sister-in-law, has talent for music and used to practice a great deal before she married. Please feel free to use the pianoforte as much as you like, Miss Darcy. I should be delighted to have music at Kleistringham again."While Elizabeth remained upstairs to get settled, Georgiana promptly went down to the drawing room. Chatting pleasantly with her guest, Mrs. Townsend took up some embroidery to work on, while the young lady arranged her music sheets on the pianoforte. Meanwhile, the gentlemen who had been out shooting were returning to the house. One of the party, Mr. Meggott, remarked to the others, "That last pheasant was a particularly wily one!""Oh yes, a wily pheasant indeed! If Sir Matthew were not such a good shot, it would surely have gotten away!" exclaimed Mr. Townsend.Walking just behind the rest was a young gentleman no older than perhaps five-and-twenty. He was rather handsome with dark eyes; a well-chiselled jaw; and thick, dark brown hair that flowed in loose waves. As he and his companions reached the staircase that led to their bedchambers, the first notes of Beethoven's piano sonata Quasi una fantasia emanated from the drawing room. The music began softly, and since the men were much absorbed in conversation about that day's sport, most of them hardly noticed the sound. The young, handsome gentleman, however, perceived it and consequently paused at the bottom of the stairs. Instead of continuing up with the rest of the party, he turned around and began to move towards the source of the music. With almost no conscious thought on his part, he crossed the floor in the direction of the drawing room as if impelled thither by an invisible force.
Although the young man was familiar with Beethoven's famous sonata and had heard it performed on previous occasions, never before had the piece affected him so powerfully. Never before had he heard the music played with so much emotion and so much beauty as he did in that moment. He felt an irresistible curiosity to discover what sort of being was producing that heavenly sound. As the gentleman neared the entrance, he half-expected to see a fairy or some celestial spirit within. The reality was not far removed from what he imagined, for seated at the pianoforte he found a lovely young lady of nymph-like beauty.So absorbed was she in playing the music that at first the handsome stranger standing in the doorway completely escaped her notice. Perhaps a minute passed before Georgiana finally looked up, and when she did, the music stopped abruptly. For several seconds, neither of them spoke or moved; the gentleman and Miss Darcy only gazed at one another in silence.Wondering what was the matter, Mrs. Townsend lifted her eyes from her embroidery, and, perceiving the newcomer, she exclaimed, "Sir Matthew, you have returned! I was so occupied with my needlework that I did not see you come in." Then, turning to the young lady, she said, "Miss Darcy, allow me to present Sir Matthew Leigh, Mr. Townsend's cousin. Sir Matthew, this is Miss Darcy. She has only just arrived from Derbyshire."The gentleman bowed, and Georgiana curtsied.

"Miss Darcy, you played that tune most beautifully. I do not exaggerate when I say that it was the most moving performance of Beethoven's composition that I have ever heard," said he."You flatter me, Sir Matthew.""It is no flattery, Miss Darcy. I speak sincerely. I have heard that piece played numerous times before, but never with so much feeling as you did just now.""Then, Sir, I thank you for your kind words.""And shall I hear you play again this evening?""Yes, of course, if you wish.""It would give me great pleasure."As it was nearly time for dinner, there was only a sufficient interval to exchange a few more phrases. The young man inquired about whether Georgiana had had a pleasant journey, whether she had been to Kentbefore, and so on. In short, nothing more of consequence was said, but both the gentleman and Miss Darcy left the room with a strong desire to become better acquainted.In her own chamber, Georgiana urged her maid to help her dress as quickly as possible, and then she hurried back downstairs to the drawing room. The butler soon announced that dinner was served, after which everyone proceeded to the dining room. At the table, Miss Darcy and Sir Matthew were seated farther away from one another than either would have liked, but from the furtive glances she occasionally cast in his direction, Georgiana could see that the young gentleman's eyes were often upon her.After the meal had been eaten and the men had consumed their port, the two young people at last had an opportunity to deepen their acquaintance. Sir Matthew took a chair next to Georgiana in the drawing room and then tried to engage her in conversation, but the maiden spoke little and blushed more. She was, however, very interested to hear about his life and family in Cheshire. He told her that his mother and father were both dead, but he had a younger sister."How old is she?" asked Georgiana."Adelaide is thirteen.""Is Miss Leigh in school, or does she have a governess?"Sir Matthew started back a little at this question before answering:"She has—that is to say—my sister had a governess… but some circumstances arose… it became necessary for the governess to leave, but a new one will be found in due course…"After a momentary silence, he asked, "Miss Darcy, will you play something for us? I have been looking forward all evening to hearing you again." Georgiana agreed, and Sir Matthew offered to turn the pages of the music for her while she played. In reply, she smiled bashfully, clearly pleased by the attention.

Georgiana performed several lively tunes, to which everyone (and Sir Matthew in particular) listened with great enjoyment. From his position right beside her, he had the additional advantage of being able to admire her lovely form at close proximity. His eyes first rested on her swan neck, then moved down to her graceful shoulders, and then to her sylphlike arms, before finally stopping at her delicate hands. No less attractive than her person and talents was Georgiana's manner. Hers was not the demeanour of a bold, self-assured temptress. Instead, she captivated with a different kind of charm, one that Sir Matthew found even more alluring. Far from discouraging him, her shy silences and modest ways only added to the enjoyment of pursuit.As Georgiana's fingers danced over the pianoforte keys, she was acutely conscious of her admirer's presence next to her, to the point that she could hardly keep her mind on the music she was playing; and whenever he offered some gratifying little remark or attention in between songs, she received it with the greatest pleasure. Sir Matthew was like nobody she had met before. It was not that the gentleman's conversation was unusually witty or profound—but rather, he possessed a magnetic energy and a liveliness of spirit that drew everyone to him. His laugh was infectious, and there was something in his countenance, his mien, and his expressive eyes that Miss Darcy could not name, but which she found fascinating.

About the author

BOOK UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT: GEORGIANA DARCY, A SEQUEL TO PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, BY ALICE ISAKOVABorn in Eastern Europe, Alice Isakova spent the latter part of her childhood in the United States before finally settling in Australia. There she obtained a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Adelaide and won multiple university prizes for outstanding academic achievement. 
Alice now lives with her family in rural Tasmania. When not writing, she pursues her passion for fitness, especially the disciplines of rhythmic gymnastics, yoga, and ballet. Georgiana Darcy: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is Alice Isakova's first book.

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