His Choice of Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Heather Moll

His Choice of Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Heather Moll

His Choice of Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Heather MollHis Choice of a Wife: A Pride and Prejudice Variation by Heather Moll
Genres: Austenesque
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When a man’s honor is at stake, what is he willing to risk for the woman he loves?

After a disastrous marriage proposal and the delivery of an illuminating letter, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet hope never to lay eyes on one another again. When a chance meeting in Hunsford immediately throws them in each other’s way, Darcy realizes his behavior needs correcting, and Elizabeth starts to appreciate his redeeming qualities. But is it enough to forgive the past and overcome their prejudices?

Jane and Bingley’s possible reconciliation and Lydia’s ill-conceived trip to Brighton pose their own challenges for two people struggling to find their way to love. When scandalous news threatens their chance at happiness, will Darcy and Elizabeth’s new bond be shattered, or will their growing affection hold steadfast?

The time came for the women to leave the table, and for Elizabeth and her sister, it would be the most tedious hour, thrown on their own resources in the drawing room with no male company. Fortunately, the young gentlemen were of equal mind and forwent the pleasure of uninhibited talk and drink and soon rejoined them. Elizabeth was making tea, and all she could wonder about was whether Mr. Darcy would approach her and whether she could not offend him. She had tried to provoke him so often in the past that she was now unsure whether she could engage him in pleasant conversation.
“Miss Elizabeth, you are a conversation in my debt.”
She started to see the object of her thoughts next to her. “I beg your pardon?”
“We are not in a ballroom. You owe me a conversation about books, and there is nothing present to distract you.”
“Perhaps the act of pouring your tea will be sufficient enough to occupy my attention.” Was Mr. Darcy attempting to tease her? “I would hate to spill tea and ruin my gown while I quote Coleridge in an attempt to impress you. I would hardly appear to my advantage, and you would not judge me an accomplished lady.”
“I have already made it clear to you what I comprehend in ladies’ accomplishments.”
Elizabeth smiled at the memory of that conversation and wondered how it would have transpired had she not been trying to aggravate him. “Then let us talk of books. Gilpin’s travelogues on the picturesque have occupied me of late, given our plans to travel north.”
“Do not you find his descriptions vague? He concentrates too much on how the scenery has conformed to picturesque principles rather than the specific character of the country.”
Elizabeth refuted his opinion on Gilpin, and they continued in this manner until her aunt prevailed upon her to play. Mr. Darcy and her uncle were engaged in conversation for the greater part of the evening although Elizabeth noticed that the younger man’s eyes drifted towards where she sat at the pianoforte. It was Mr. Bingley who had to tell Mr. Darcy when the evening drew late, rather than the reverse. The carriage was called, and her aunt excused herself to check on her children. Her uncle attended to Bingley and Jane’s conversation while Miss Lucas lounged sleepily in a chair.
Her heartbeat raced as she realized she had been left in relative solitude with Mr. Darcy while he awaited the carriage. She hardly knew this man despite all the time she had spent in his company. She could esteem him, and Elizabeth supposed that more time with him would gradually improve her estimation of him. Yes, I want to learn more of him.
Darcy enjoyed his evening thoroughly and was not eager to see it end. He knew that, had Elizabeth not admonished him for his conceit and ungentlemanly behavior, he would never have considered her having connections of whom he could not be ashamed. A fortnight ago, he never would have comprehended he could have passed a pleasant evening in Cheapside, nor could he imagine that he would court the good opinion of a woman who had emphatically rejected him.
Darcy heard his pulse pounding in his ears as he approached Elizabeth. “Miss Elizabeth, may I call on you before you leave London?” His voice shook more than it did when he had asked her to marry him.
“Yes.” She addressed this reply to her own shoes after an agonizingly long moment. “Would the day after tomorrow be agreeable?”
Darcy said that it was, but Elizabeth did not appear at ease. He felt their awkwardness from Hunsford as a heavy weight between them. He wanted to vow that he would endeavor not to be the prideful, ungentlemanly man she had known. At the least, he could show her that, despite her ill-founded accusations, he still admired her and hoped for her good opinion. Darcy glanced at the others in the room and, seeing that their conversation allowed him a modicum of privacy, boldly grasped her hand and pressed it.
Elizabeth gasped at the contact of her bare hand inside his, and Darcy, remembering himself, let it go. Her cheeks had turned pink, and her breath came faster, but she gave him a shy, tremulous smile.

I thoroughly enjoyed His Choice of a Wife by Heather Moll. It always amazes me how many times we can take Pride and Prejudice and rework it to make it unique yet keep all the essential elements that we love about the story. Heather was able to do that. His Choice of a Wife is full of intrigue, emotion and that wonderful tension between our Darcy and Elizabeth! It is an Austenite Must Read for me!! 

Heather Moll is an avid reader with a B.A. in European history and a M.A. in library science, so it is astonishing that she did not discover Jane Austen until her late-twenties. Making up for lost time, she devoured all of Austen’s novels, her letters, and unpublished works, joined JASNA, and spent far too much time researching the Regency era. She is thrilled to have found fellow Janeites and the JAFF community, if only to prove that her interests aren’t so strange after all. Heather is a former librarian turned stay-at-home mother who struggles to find time for all of the important things, like reading and writing.

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