Although many of you are already familiar with novels by Georgina Young-Ellis, she is a new author for Meryton Press. We are so happy she is part of our family. Her new book, Kiss Me Good Night, Major Darcy, is now available for preorder and will be released to your Kindle, Monday, June 27th.
Would you like to read the blurb and see the cover? Let’s begin with the back cover copy.
The wind ruffled Darcy’s hair. “You’re beautiful.”
Happiness surged through Elizabeth’s body like electricity. This moment was as close to perfection as she had ever known.
1943. World War II has torn the continent since 1939 and tested families, the Bennets included. Elizabeth and Jane nurse wounded soldiers and civilians in a London hospital. The other sisters volunteer as best suits their inclinations. Mr. Bennet rattles about Longbourn. Wickham sniffs about the edges of the estate—and the Bennet daughters.
Even the ever-present threat of death from the skies cannot prepare Jane and Lizzy for the most devastating news. The words one never wishes to hear are delivered by two officers, each scarred by years on the front lines. In the dark days that follow, devotion is tested, and affection blooms.
Kiss Me Good Night, Major Darcy drops Jane Austen’s timeless characters into the midst of the most horrific conflict in human history. Their trail twists and encounters those who would turn sacrifice to their profit. Follow the women of Longbourn as they navigate the rocks and shoals of wartime Great Britain to endure misunderstandings and discover lasting love.
Doesn’t that sound intriguing? What is the devastating news? Where is Mrs. Bennet? I like the idea of Elizabeth and Jane being nurses. I also wonder what Lydia, Kitty, and Mary are doing. How about you?
Are you ready to take a look at the front cover? Let’s do!
I do believe Major Darcy is kissing someone good night! It better be Elizabeth, right? The picture looks like it might be from the World War II era. (Actually, it is!) What do you think?
Now for the full wrapper with blurb!
Aww, the back cover shows more of the story. Do you have any ideas? If you do, share them with us in the comments. What about the look and feel of the 1940s?
When you read “From the Author,” Georgina’s ideas on her cover and book setting, light may be shed on some of your thoughts and questions.
From the Author
When I imagined the cover of my World War II-themed Pride and Prejudice variation, I always had in mind a vintage photo from the 1940s of an officer and a young lady kissing. That famous photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square on VJ-Day sprang to mind, and yet, that wasn’t quite it. I knew the story behind that photo: that the sailor grabbed the nurse, a stranger, and kissed her without permission. My Major Darcy would never do anything like that and, besides, my book takes place in war-era England. Times Square wouldn’t do at all. Both I and the designer at Meryton Press looked and looked for just the right photo to no avail. But the delightful solution she came up with surpassed my wildest dreams!
One might wonder: why place the novel in World War II? As we know, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Jane Austen inspired stories that take place in every conceivable location, time, and situation, with every conceivable twist on the canons. I could have chosen a canon other than Pride and Prejudice, especially since we do have military leading men in other books of Austens’, i.e. Colonel Brandon and Captain Wentworth. And yet, something about the thought of tall, handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy in an officer’s uniform really appealed to me. Add to that, the Bennet girls working as nurses and in other volunteer capacities, and the theme really came together.
I have a few other reasons for placing my story, which, by the way, has plenty of twists and turns that veer from the original, during World War II. I have always been fascinated by the war era. On a superficial level, I love the fashions of the 1940s, love the music, and even took lessons for several years with my husband to master the jitterbug, which is sometimes referred to as the Lindy Hop, but also can include East Coast Swing, Jive, the Charleston and other dances from the 1920s through the ‘50s. In fact, it’s easy to romanticize the war era for many reasons, yet we all know how truly tragic the reality is. In my book, I tried to paint a realistic picture of the anguish of war while using the bright and beautiful love story of Darcy and Lizzy (and Jane and Bingley) to shine a light over that dark time.
Finally, readers will notice that I dedicated the book to David and Dorothy Ellis, my in-laws. Dave was a tail gunner in a patrol bomber aircraft during World War II, a terrifying job that adversely affected him the rest of his life (he’s still with us at 98 years of age). He married his wife, Dorothy, when they met in New Orleans just after the war. They were lovingly married until her death in 2019. Though Dave and Dorothy didn’t have a story like Darcy and Lizzy’s, I kept them in mind as I wrote: two people who faced the hardships of wartime bravely, and who emerged at its end to find an everlasting love.
It is interesting to read of Georgina’s in-laws being in the back of her mind as she wrote this story. What a tribute to them!
A tall, handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy in an officer’s uniform does sound appealing! There is much about this premise that intrigues. Maybe the excerpt will give more insight! Let’s see what Georgina shares with us today.
Lizzy looked around the room expectantly. The band was just finishing a tune. Then, a trio of ladies took the stage and launched into “The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B.” Their close harmony was spot on and every bit as good as the Andrews Sisters! Lizzy was dying to dance. She caught the eye of a nice-looking soldier who immediately approached her.
“Miss,” he said, “would you like to dance?”
“I’d love to!” Lizzy replied. “Do you mind, Jane?”
“Of course not,” her sister said.
Elizabeth flashed a triumphant smile at Major Darcy. He could have asked her to dance, but the idea of the staid man doing the jitterbug was unimaginable.
The soldier swung Lizzy onto the floor, and they fell into the steps, flying in unison across the parquet and looking as if they were in the Imperial Finals at the Paramount on Tottenham Court Road! He was an excellent dancer and led Lizzy flawlessly through moves she had only imagined doing. She was laughing breathlessly. When was the last time she had had this much fun? When she happened to look in the direction of their table, she saw Major Darcy watching her intently. He had turned away from the others and was staring directly at her. She threw him a carefree grin. Elizabeth scoffed that he was probably shocked at her uninhibited behavior, but she could not care less. Let him think whatever he wanted.
The song ended, and Lizzy shook hands with the soldier. As he returned her to her table, another fellow asked if she would dance. The tune was not as energetic, so they fell into a foxtrot. The previous song had been more fun, but this was very nice as well. The soldier was a good dancer as most of the men in the hall seemed to be. Lizzy let the rhythms of the music flow over her. There was no war, no death, and no destruction—only the swaying of their bodies in time and in company with the others. Conversation was limited to a few perfunctory remarks, but the mood did not feel right to encourage anything more. When the song was over, she thanked him as they walked back to her table.
As she approached, Major Darcy stood and held out a hand to her. “May I have the next dance, Miss Bennet.”
“Only if you call me Elizabeth,” she replied with a smile.
“Very well,” he said, barely cracking one himself.
If she had thought her last partner had been proficient on the dance floor, she was surprised to find that Darcy’s foxtrot made the other’s seem amateurish. His arms were strong yet relaxed as he led her across the floor. It felt as though they had been dancing together forever—as if they were formed for each other. Elizabeth’s face flushed as she looked up into his. He was gazing down at her. For a moment, their eyes locked, and energy surged through her core. Quickly, though, she remembered Private Wickham and his tale, which dashed cold water on…that…something. Her anger flared, but she managed to tamp it down. This was neither the time nor the place to bring it up. Major Darcy seemed disinclined toward any conversation.
“My previous partner and I spoke while we danced,” she finally said, smiling. “I think it makes the activity all the more enjoyable.”
“I prefer not to talk while I dance.”
She seized on the opportunity to tease him. “Why is that Major Darcy? Do you not consider yourself an adept conversationalist?”
“I am when the occasion arises.”
She let her smile fade, tipped her head slightly, and allowed only her eyes to reflect the humor she felt. “What occasions suit your criteria?”
“Over a dinner table,” he said seriously, “tea with an acquaintance, catching up with a friend. I do enjoy conversation when the moment is right for it.”
“I just said I did.”
She paused. Her teasing was leading them nowhere, certainly not through his reserve. Her tone became more serious. “Do you have many close friends, Major Darcy?”
His eyes took on a faraway look. “No. Bingley is one; Duncan was another.”
This was sad territory. She was still curious though. “What about Miss Bingley? Charles made it sound like the four of you were a close lot, one that includes your sister.”
He sighed. “I suppose you could say that. My sister is my sister though. We don’t talk about intimate things. Words that pass between friends often are those you can never say to a relative.”
This was too good an opening to let pass. “It’s recently come to my attention that we have a friend in common who also knows your sister.”
His eyes grew wide. “To whom are you referring?”
“Private George Wickham. He’s a recent acquaintance—one might say a friend. He spoke of you and your sister when last I saw him.”
Darcy’s back stiffened against her hand. “What did he say?”
“That you and he had been very close once. That he practically grew up with your family; that Georgiana was a ‘sweet kid’ as he put it.”
“Interesting,” he said bitterly. “We indeed grew up together, but George Wickham and I were not close.”
“Ah. I misunderstood. He did say he admired your father very much. He said it was because of him that he was able to attend Cambridge.”
“This is also true,” Darcy’s face grew grim.
“I find myself wondering, then, why he didn’t also attend the Officer’s Academy when the war broke out. It seems strange.”
“Not everyone is cut out to be an officer,” he replied. He no longer looked at her, but off into the distance.
They danced without speaking for a few more minutes.
It was he who broke the silence. “Miss—er—I mean, Elizabeth, you would do well not to believe everything you hear. There are always two sides to a story, you know.”
How dare he lecture me! “Well then, what’s your side? Did you have something to do with him not getting into Academy?”
He looked down at her coldly. “Yes, I did.”
She gasped. “How could you?”
“I am not at liberty to say why, nor do I owe an explanation to you.”
She was speechless. She forced herself to get through their dance, but as soon as it was finished, she broke away from him and marched back to the table. She grabbed her ale, now warm, and downed it in one long gulp. It was unladylike, but she was beyond caring.
“Lizzy,” Jane whispered to her, touching her arm, “are you all right?”
She clenched her teeth. “Perfectly.”
Trouble is brewing! Do you want to know more? I do! Kiss Me Good Night, Major Darcy may be preordered at Amazon US and Amazon UK (not yet available) and be delivered to your Kindle on June 27th! The Amazon UK link will be added when it becomes available.
Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks of Kiss Me Good Night, Major Darcy by Georgina Young-Ellis. The giveaway is international and will end on the 25th of June at midnight central time. To be entered in the giveaway, be sure to leave a comment below. We would love to hear your thoughts on the cover, the time period, and anything else you would like to share. Good luck to everyone.