THE DARCY BROTHERS Blog Tour! Abigail Reynolds Joins Me for Coffee

Good morning, dear readers! 

Coffee with ColetteI know it has been some time since I have had a visitor, but I didn't think I would ever get this author to stop by.  I am absolutely delighted to have Abigail Reynolds joining me for coffee this week! I must confess, I have been a huge fan of hers since I first knew of such a thing as Pride and Prejudice variations; and she warmly welcomed me into the family. (That's right, you have her to blame for my contributions to the sub-genre!) I have read and re-read her variations until I am in a fair way of soon knowing them by heart! And she is probably regretting ever giving me her contact information since I keep harassing her for a new release for my JAFF obsession!

Fortunately, for my sanity (and I use the term loosely), she and four other fellow Austen Variations Authors have provided us with a delicious treat: The Darcy Brothers! When I learned that this amazing collaborative effort was being released, I couldn't wait to jump on the Blog Tour bandwagon!  

The Darcy Brothers was first conceived as an interactive group writing project and has developed into a full-length novel featuring the charismatic Theo Darcy. Theo Darcy is everything his disapproving elder brother, Fitzwilliam, is not – easy-going, charming, and full of fun. A tragic event as children severed their bond of friendship, but now they are together again. They are still at odds, though, this time over the love of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and the truth about George Wickham. Will Wickham manage to divide the brothers again? And more importantly, which Mr. Darcy will Elizabeth choose?

Find out as the two brothers lock horns in this unique Pride & Prejudice variation collectively written by five respected authors. PLUS they are offering a giveaway of two eBook copies of The Darcy Brothers. To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment or ask Theo or the authors a question below. (
Readers can increase their chances of winning by visiting multiple stops along the tour; but once you read this excerpt, I bet you won't want to wait!)

It is a truth universally acknowledged that no fictional character could possibly knock Mr. Darcy off his throne of perfection. At least that’s what most writers in the peculiar sub-genre known as Austen-inspired fiction believe! When I sat down with four other Austenesque writers to create a new hero for a new collaborative Pride & Prejudice variation, I didn’t really think our new character could really be as, well, heroic as Mr. Darcy. I was wrong. Mr. Theo Darcy took on a life of his own and gives his elder brother a run for his money!

A Pride & Prejudice variation starts out with the characters and settings from Pride & Prejudice, but then adds a twist – a change in plot, circumstances, or characters. The twist that Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and I – all published authors of well-received Austenesque fiction – chose for our variation was to give Mr. Darcy a younger brother. Actually, we gave him two younger brothers, but that’s getting ahead of the story!

Our early discussions were fast and furious email exchanges as we tried to decide what Mr. Darcy’s brother would be like. First we had to name him. Given that Darcy’s parents had chosen long, complex names for their children Fitzwilliam and Georgiana, it didn’t seem likely the new brother would be Charles or James. So he became Theophilus Darcy, Theo for short. Darcy had to find him annoying, because older brothers always find younger brothers annoying, and because we needed a conflict between them to make a good story.
Once we started talking about their childhood, the conflict became obvious. Both would have grown up with the nefarious but charming George Wickham. Darcy sees through him fairly quickly and rejects him. Theo, a few years younger, is more susceptible to the charms of an older boy like Wickham, and ends up sharing in Darcy’s disapproval. By the time The Darcy Brothers opens, Darcy is convinced Theo is irresponsible and flighty, and is unable to recognize that Theo, unlike Wickham, has grown into his responsibility. Theo rebels against his brother’s condemnation while secretly wishing for his approval. As the two journey together to Rosings Park, Theo becomes aware his brother is in poor spirits, but cannot ascertain the cause – at least until he meets the fetching Miss Elizabeth Bennet!

Here’s an excerpt to give you a flavor for Theo and Darcy’s relationship, taking place after Theo accidentally encounters Elizabeth for the first time, believing her to be the new Mrs. Collins. Pray permit me to introduce you to the charming, witty Mr. Theo Darcy!
Not being prone to the depression of his spirits, the chance encounter had restored Theo’s natural enthusiasm and, despite his reluctance to be at Rosings, he bounced up the stone steps to the front door with a much improved air and countenance.
He made a perfunctory attempt at scraping some of the mud from his boots, then shrugged and let himself into the house, closing the door carefully so as not to alert anyone to his return.
To the either side of the doorway stood two highly polished suits of armor; these had stood in their silent positions for as far back as Theo could remember and, moreover, presented a temptation he was loath to resist. With a quick glance about to ensure he was yet undetected, he grinned, removing his hat and balancing it on top of the helmet of one of the figures. Pleased with his efforts, he rested his cane across the extended arms and turned around, looking for inspiration.
He was just threading two large flowers, extracted from a vase on the table in the center of the hall, into the mouthpiece of the helmet when a voice behind him made him spin about.
“What the devil do you think you are doing?”
An ominous creaking behind Theo hinted at the disaster to come, then time seemed to stretch as the helmet toppled off the suit of armor, bounced with a loud clang, then rebounded into his brother’s shin. Theo winced at Darcy’s grimace of pain. “I was merely attempting to add a little cheer to the decor.”
Darcy bent over and rubbed his abused shin, then carefully picked up the helmet, its visor now dented and dangling loose. “This survived intact for four hundred years until you came along,” he said coldly.
“Had you not startled me, it would have been there for another four hundred,” Theo shot back.
“Had you merely respected a historical artifact, it would not have happened.”
So much for his improved spirits! Theo managed to smile despite gritted teeth. It was a skill he had practiced often. “Whatever you say, Your Highness.”
“Oh, stop that nonsense!” Darcy snapped. “Where have you been? Your boots are covered with mud.”
“I went for walk, not that it is any of your business. My boots became muddy when I rescued a damsel in distress.”
“I hesitate to think what you might have demanded in return for whatever slight service you offered.”
“None. I came upon the parson’s wife, whose bonnet was caught in a tree. I retrieved it for her.”
Darcy’s shoulders tightened. “Why was her bonnet in a tree?”
“She said it had blown off." Theo dropped into one of the chairs lining the wall. “It was my pleasure to help her. She is a lovely girl – all chestnut curls, bright eyes, and a lively expression. A quick wit as well. A pity she is wasted on the parson.”
His brother turned away to look out the window. “It was likely a prudent match for her,” he said coldly, then added briskly, “As it was for him. Apparently he only sought a wife because our aunt instructed him to do so.”
“And prudence is the only important thing, is it not?” Theo said mockingly. “Heaven forbid a man should choose his wife because he finds her attractive, or even worse, because he loves her.” Despite his tone, he was watching his brother carefully. Once again, a mention of the parson had angered Darcy. What could the man have done in Hertfordshire to discompose his normally stoic brother to this degree?
“Love!” Darcy snapped. “Love is only for poets. It will not keep a roof over your head, nor will it feed your children, nor establish them in society. Love cannot keep the Pemberley estate intact for future generations. It is not the person who marries for love who suffers, but his children and their children after him.”
Theo sat back in his chair and studied his brother. “Every man owes something to his children,” he said mildly. “He also owes something to himself.”
Darcy’s lip curled. “That is what selfish men would say.”
It was time to take a risk. Cocking his head to the side, Theo said, “What is troubling you, William? You are not yourself.”
He could almost hear the mask snap back into place. “Nothing is troubling me. Nothing at all.” Darcy turned on his heel and strode away.
Theo tapped his cheek. His best hope of discovering what had happened between William and the mysterious Mr. Collins was to observe them together. A plan began to take shape in his head. True, it would mean undertaking several of his least favorite things - awakening early in the morning, attempting to be polite to his aunt, and avoiding annoying his brother – but sometimes sacrifices must be made. BUY LINKS:

The Darcy Brothers ~ Amazon ~ B&N Nook ~ Kobo


In addition to their collaborative effort in The Darcy Brothers, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds between them have published over two dozen Austen-inspired books, including national bestsellers.

Monica Fairview (Mr. Darcy’s Pledge) holds down the fort for the team in London while Abigail Reynolds (Alone with Mr. Darcy) supplies cute cat pictures from Cape Cod, Susan Mason-Milks (Mr. Darcy’s Proposal) inspires with views of the Seattle skyline, Maria Grace (Remember the Past) frolics in the Texas bluebells, and British expat Cassandra Grafton (A Fair Prospect) has the critical responsibility of keeping the team supplied with much-needed chocolate from her home in Switzerland.

Look for them at the Jane Austen Variations group blog where they are all founding members.


We are all at:

Austen Variations: (
White Soup Press (publisher): (

Theo is at:

Individual Links:
Monica Fairview
Twitter: @Monica_Fairview
Maria Grace
Blog: Random Bits of Fascination (
Blog: English Historical Fiction Authors (
Twitter: @WriteMariaGrace
Cassandra Grafton
Twitter: @CassGrafton
Susan Mason-Milks
Twitter: @susanmasonmilks
Goodreads: Reynolds
Twitter: @abigailreynolds


  1. Really enjoyed reading this, Abigail! That brought back memories! LOL

    Loved the excerpt, especially the exchange over the dented helmet. :D

    Thank you for being part of the book tour, Colette!

  2. Enjoyed the interview and the book. Please do not enter me in the give away, as I already have the eBook.

  3. Thanks for hosting me, Colette! It's a great pleasure to be here, and please do keep harassing me to produce new variations. I really need someone holding a gun to my head to make me write! ;)

  4. Great excerpt. I love seeing the wheels starting to spin in Theo's head... Can't wait to see what kind of plans he comes up with!

  5. I had a little chuckle, Abigail, at your description of the process of coming up with the idea behind the book. The e-mails were certainly fast and furious!
    Colette -- thank you so much for hosting us and, as usual, for the lovely introduction.

  6. I love reading about the behind the scenes coming up with charming Theo. I remember voting on his name at the beginning of the project (Theopholis was my first choice). It's hard to imagine him now as anything else. I wonder how much, if at all, his name influenced his characteristics. Do you think he'd be the same guy if he was named Peregrine? Does a rose by any other name smell just as sweet?

    Tobinlf (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. It's funny, but I can't imagine using any of the other names for him now!

  7. "It is a truth universally acknowledged that no fictional character could possibly knock Mr. Darcy off his throne of perfection." - just love that twist on the original!

    Colette, thanks for grabbing hold of Abigail and getting some "behind-the-scenes" info out of her. Abigail - I'm sure there are many of us who'd be willing to help hold the gun to your head. I think we're "all anticipation" for Alone With Mr. Darcy, from the snippets you've let out, even though his gorgeous brother doesn't feature.

    I missed the beginning of The Darcy Brothers so had to catch up on it all when I discovered Austen Variations just after it launched. I'd loved to have been in on the votes right from the beginning.

    I can't remember seeing what the options had been for Theo's name and would love to know what they were and what Theo himself would think of the alternatives.


    1. We started with a huge list of Regency names, and narrowed it down to 5 for the vote - Benedict, Theophilus, Montgomery, Tristan and Peregrine. Montgomery came in second, so we used that for Theo's friend. We also considered Ambrose, Roderick and Horatio. But now it's hard to imagine Theo by any other name!

  8. Really enjoying all the interviews and excerpts, ladies! Thank you so much for sharing your thought processes and for the giveaways. :-)

  9. After reading this excerpt, I believe Theo is my new friend!! I like the bit where he immediately catches that something is not right with Mr Darcy :D
    I would definetely love to enter on the giveaway, thank you.

  10. This is enjoyable, Abigail. Thanks for letting us know the genesis of creating Theo Darcy. I really loved the excerpt.


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