Her worst fears come true...
"Overall, Kara hit a home run with my control group and both mentioned to me the possibility of reading more work by her. I'd like to say that I'm responsible for creating two new Austenites, but the kudos go to Kara Louise and her deft wielding of the mighty pen." - Jane Austen Examiner
"Kara Louise is very respectful of Austen's characters and the feel of the story as well as the interactions of the characters are believable while following naturally from the new story line. I was enchanted by characters I admire and enjoy reading about and by Louise's style, wit, humor, and story telling. If you enjoy Pride and Prejudice variations as much as the follow-ons, you really need to read Only Mr. Darcy Will Do" - A Curious Statistical Anomaly
"Kara Louise's Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is stunning, eloquent, and just plain wonderful. It is one of the best Pride and Prejudice variations I've ever read! A keeper for sure!" - Love Romance Passion
"Kara Louise is gifted in her writing of the Regency era, and her characterization of Lizzy and Darcy is spot on with Austen's original vision. Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is the ultimate romantic tale for those who simply cannot get enough of Lizzy and Darcy" - Austen Sequels
"Austen fiction fans will love this. If you've not read any Austen fiction, this is a good place to begin. You don't have to know the characters to love them and delve right into the story. " - Literary Litter
"Only Mr. Darcy Will Do is an emotive, absorbing, and heartrending romance that Austen admirers should not miss! " - Austenesque Reviews
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Read an Excerpt
Elizabeth Bennet wrapped the cloak tightly around little Emily, bending down with a smile as she straightened it.
"There! I believe you are ready."
"Thank you. I am sorry I dawdled and needed you to help me get ready." She looked up at Elizabeth with pleading blue eyes.
"Will you not join us this morning, Miss Bennet? Why do you never attend church services with us?"
Elizabeth took the little girl's hands in her own. "You ask me that every week, and every week I tell you. Your mother and father have been so kind to me that on Sundays I am free from my duties so I may visit my family. I accompany my sister, Jane, and my aunt and uncle and little cousins to the church they attend in their neighbourhood."
The little girl pouted. "But today is Easter! I do not know why you cannot spend the day with us."
Elizabeth patted Emily's head. "You have me for six days a week. I would think that you would prefer to have one day without me. Besides, when we are in the country this summer, I shall be with you every day. I dare say you will tire of me then and wish to have some time away from me!"
Before the little girl could respond, her mother called from downstairs. "Emily, we are about to leave. Are you ready?" Emily looked toward the door, then sadly back at Elizabeth. "I think I would enjoy church much better if you were there with me."
"That means a great deal to me, Emily. And one day I shall join you, but not today. Now walk downstairs like the little lady you are. I will be late if I do not hasten and get myself ready." Elizabeth smiled and shook her head as she watched her ward turn and skip down the stairs.
Each week Emily's plea was the same, but Elizabeth knew that once Emily was with her parents, she would be all but forgotten.
As Sunday was her day off, normally Elizabeth did not have any responsibilities with Emily. Today, however, the young girl needed some additional help readying herself, so Elizabeth gladly assisted her. With that task now behind her, Elizabeth could look forward to her day with her family. She would accompany them to church and then visit with them throughout the afternoon and evening. This was the highlight of her week. For the remainder of the week she was governess to six-year-old Emily Willstone. Elizabeth hurried to ready herself. She knew her uncle's carriage would arrive shortly, and she did not wish to be late.
When she was finished dressing, she looked at herself in the mirror. Her eyes took in the grey dress she wore and how pale her face appeared. It was one of two grey dresses she owned and wore while in half-mourning. She also had two black dresses that had been her complete wardrobe for her days of full-mourning. She still had a little over a month of mourning remaining and she wondered whether she could ever go back to wearing colours again. Her grief was still as fresh and strong as it had been the day her father died.
In the waning of spring last year, just as the days were growing in length and warmth, Mr. Bennet was unexpectedly taken from them. A trip Elizabeth had planned to take with the Gardiners up north was cancelled. Her youngest sister, Lydia, was sent home from Brighton, where she had been staying as a guest of Colonel Forster and his wife. Jane's loss of Charles Bingley's affections was now swallowed up in the loss of her father. The family grieved together and consoled one another. Elizabeth, being the one who had the strength of character, was the one everyone turned to, yet it was she who suffered the deepest grief in the loss of her father.
While Elizabeth tried to encourage everyone to be strong, there was an underlying uncertainty that each of the Bennet ladies shared. With Longbourn entailed away to their cousin, Mr. Collins, he now had every right to claim it as his own. Whenever Mrs. Bennet brought up the dreaded subject, Elizabeth and Jane would do their best to assuage her fears that they would not be left homeless and destitute. As was feared, however, several months following Mr. Bennet's death, the Collinses sent notice that they would indeed be moving to Longbourn at the beginning of the new year. Charlotte Collins, Elizabeth's good friend, assured the family that they could remain in their home as long as they required, but Elizabeth knew she could never live at Longbourn when it was no longer theirs, and neither could she live under the same roof as Mr. Collins.
With strong urging from Elizabeth, Mrs. Bennet moved into the nearby village of Meryton with her sister and husband, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips. She brought her three youngest daughters to live with them. The Phillips's children were grown and married, and the couple was able to take the Bennet ladies into their home, although there was not as much ample space as they had enjoyed at Longbourn.
Elizabeth suggested early on that Jane move to London with Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, their mother's brother and wife, as governess for the Gardiners' four children. Jane was delighted when Elizabeth herself secured employment as a governess for a family in London. With this arrangement, the two close sisters could still occasionally visit.
The Willstones, the family for whom Elizabeth worked, hired her when it became apparent to them in their initial meeting that she and six-year-old Emily seemed to get along quite nicely. Despite Elizabeth's lack of formal education, she impressed them with her knowledge of the basic accomplishments. While explaining she learned much from her own love of reading and self-teaching, she did have access to a few masters who lived in the nearby town of Meryton.
Richard and Lorraine Willstone were exceptionally kind and generous, allowing Elizabeth time off on Sundays to visit the Gardiners and her sister. While Elizabeth was grateful for the employment, it was not a life she had ever envisioned for herself.
A piercing recollection interrupted her musings of Easter spent in Kent exactly one year ago. She shuddered as she thought how much had changed since then.
What if I had...?
No! She stamped her foot. She would not reproach herself for refusing those two marriage proposals. The first one, Mr. Collins, she could never have agreed to. The second...
A knock at the door announced that the carriage had arrived.
She pushed away that last thought.
As the carriage drove her through the streets of London from the more fashionable neighbourhood to the less fashionable neighbourhood near Cheapside, Elizabeth looked forward with much anticipation to her day. She would listen with joy to all her aunt and sister had to share about their week, and she would recount to them how her own had passed. It would certainly prove to be a more agreeable Easter than last year.
When she arrived at the Gardiners' home, she handed off her coat and gloves and eagerly walked into the breakfast room, where a warm meal was being served. She was greeted warmly and profusely.
"Good morning, Lizzy! Happy Easter!" her uncle exclaimed, and he rose and walked over to her, wrapping her in his arms.
"Thank you, Uncle. And a joyous Easter to all of you." When her uncle released her, she walked over to Jane and gave her a hug.
"How are you, Jane?"
"I am well. And how is my dearest sister?" Jane asked.
"Delighted to be here." Elizabeth let out a soft laugh. "As much as I love Emily, the joy of my week is being with all of you."
"And how is little Emily?" her aunt asked as Elizabeth motioned for her to remain seated.
"Her usual self," answered Elizabeth as she walked over and gave her aunt a kiss on the cheek. "She was a little slow this morning getting ready for church, so I gave her some assistance. She went through her usual custom of not wishing to leave without me. I hope I am not late."
"Dearest Lizzy, do not worry about being late. We have plenty of time," her aunt reassured her.
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