Books

Not In Want of a Wife by Amanda Kai

Mr. Darcy is not in want of a wife. At least, not one that only loves him for his money. Ever since he came of age, Darcy’s been an object of prey to fortune hunters– greedy ladies and their scheming mamas who would do anything to get their hands on his ten-thousand a year and his luxurious estate.

Tired of being the most eligible man in any room he walks into, Darcy decides the only way to stave off the fortune hunters is to make himself unavailable to them. Elizabeth Bennet is convinced that only the deepest love could persuade her into matrimony, and since that has yet to appear, she would do anything rather than marry without affection. Unfortunately, all her mother’s thoughts are bent on finding rich husbands for her and her sisters.

With the arrival of Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy causing a stir among all the mothers of Meryton, Elizabeth knows it is only a matter of time before her own mother pushes her to try to capture one of these rich gentlemen for herself at all costs. Seeing themselves in virtually the same predicament, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth come up with a convenient arrangement: they will pretend to court while Mr. Darcy is staying at Netherfield.

Mr. Darcy will get a reprieve from the relentless husband hunters, and Elizabeth can satisfy her mother with the notion that she has landed a suitor. But when the time comes for their partnership to end, the feelings that were merely an act have started to become a reality. Will Darcy and Elizabeth find a way to express the feelings that are in their hearts, or will they part ways for good?

Not In Want of a Wife

Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth decided to fake a courtship?

What surprised you the most while writing this book?

How much a story can change with one little deviation from the Canon. One change sets of a chain reaction that then changes other aspects of the story. Yet at the end of the day, you can still recognize the key characters and themes from Pride and Prejudice at play.

Why did you pick the setting you used for your book?

My idea sprung from the thought “what Darcy and Elizabeth hadn’t gotten off on the wrong foot at the Meryton Assembly? What if they had teamed up and pretended to court instead?” I love reading and writing the “what if” scenarios for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and seeing how the Pride and Prejudice story might play out if something was changed from the original novel. This became the springboard for “Not In Want of a Wife”, which is the first book in my new series of standalone “what if” scenarios, the “Other Paths Series”.

What is the sexiest trait of your hero(s)?

We all know Mr. Darcy is super sexy– dark hair, broad shoulders, looks good in a white shirt 😀 But the sexiest trait of all is his kind heart. He will do anything for those he loves, whether it’s to help his best friend win a girl back, protect his sister from a fortune-hunter, or just move chairs and tables at a wedding so his friends can dance. 🙂

What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?

The part where Darcy and Elizabeth act out the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. It’s the part where they both really start to become attracted to one another, even though they’re far from admitting it. There’s also a little reprise their performance in the final proposal scene. 🙂

What did you have to cut out of your book but wish you could have included?

There was a whole kidnapping subplot that had to be cut from the book. In the end, it just didn’t fit right. Don’t worry, I’m saving all the scenes that were cut to be used in another Pride and Prejudice variation sometime, though!

Tropes get a bad name, but they’re often the biggest draw for readers. What tropes do you love to write and read?

I love to read fake dating/fake engagement trope, because you just KNOW that the couple who is pretending to like each other is going to fall in love for real! Darcy and Elizabeth’s fake courtship, which eventually turns into a fake engagement, was super fun to write because of the social conventions at the time. During the Regency period, a lady’s reputation was everything, and the loss of it would ruin her whole family. So a fake courtship was a risky thing, and a fake engagement even more so, as it puts Elizabeth’s honor at stake if they aren’t careful about it. There are some situations where a man and woman couldn’t be caught alone without the woman being considered “compromised”, which gets Darcy and Elizabeth into some trouble as the nature of their partnership requires some secret assignations.

What are your favorite genres/sub-genres to write in? Are there any you love to read but cannot write in?

Regency Romance is my favorite genre to write in, especially in the realm of Jane Austen variations. I also like to write clean contemporary romance and Christian historical romance. I enjoy reading sci-fi and fantasy, but I’m not sure I’d ever be skilled to write in it.

Which do you love to write best: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?

Setting is fun to write, especially when describing the beautiful English countryside and the grand mansions of the Regency era. Writing it makes me feel like I am being transported back in time to that era.

Which do you hate to write: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?

I hate writing dialogue. There’s nothing worse than setting up a scene with all the characters and going “great, now what am I gonna have them say?” It takes a lot of effort to come up with meaningful dialogue that pushes the story along in some way or exposes character traits and motives, drops some backstory info, and so on. Arguments are the most fun to write, as it’s easy to make them say all kinds of dumb, irrational stuff that cause a big rift, and leaves room for them to make up later. 🙂

Not In Want of a Wife
Excerpt

The bell rang, and Mrs. Bennet raced to the front window to see if it might be Mr. Bingley or Mr. Darcy, come to call.

But it was only Charlotte Lucas. She came bearing an invitation to Lucas Lodge for dinner that week.

“Mr. Bingley and his guests will be there.” Charlotte winked at Elizabeth, who turned a shade or two darker for it.

“What consequence is that to me?” Elizabeth said archly, settling herself on the morning room settee. Her guest sank down beside her. The others had wandered off in search of other pursuits, since the guest had turned out to be nobody more interesting than their longtime neighbor.

“Only that a certain tall, dark, and handsome fellow will be among them,” Charlotte pointed out.

“You don’t say! And here I was, thinking I might have to content myself with the presence of poor Mr. Buckland,” Elizabeth chuckled.

“Yes, ‘Bucky’ Buckland.” Charlotte stuck her upper teeth out in imitation of the buck-toothed fellow that had earned the nickname. “I saw Caroline Bingley dancing with him at the ball. It is a wonder she agreed to it.”

“I think she was rather hoping for a second dance with a certain gentleman and did not want to put herself out of power to dance the rest of the evening when Bucky asked her.”

“I observed she did not succeed in her quest,” Charlotte cast a glance at Lizzy. “But you did. Twice, you stood up with Mr. Darcy last night.”

Elizabeth’s mouth turned upwards mischievously. She took two teacups from the sideboard and poured a cup of tea for each of them.

Charlotte accepted the cup and leaned in closer on the settee as Elizabeth sat down again. “He danced with no one else besides his own party, and yet he asked you a second time. How did you manage it, when so many others were contending for the honor of being his partner?”

Elizabeth shrugged, the amused expression still on her face. “I suppose he rather took a shine to me.”
“Eliza, you sly fox!” Charlotte playfully swatted her bosom friend.

“Mama is– well, there are no words to describe Mama’s feelings on the matter,” Elizabeth laughed.

“I imagine she is already planning your wedding,” Charlotte joined in. “And Jane’s too! I saw her dancing with Mr. Bingley.”

Elizabeth nodded. “He is quite an amiable man. And he seems to like Jane very much. Both men will add greatly to the interest of Meryton society, I am sure.”

“So, do you hope to see more of him, then?”

“Who, Mr. Bingley?” Elizabeth asked.

“No, silly! Mr. Darcy!”

Elizabeth took a long sip of her tea. “Perhaps.”

Charlotte grinned. “Eliza Bennet! I have never seen you so interested in a man before.”

“True,” Elizabeth admitted. “But then, there has never been a man in our neighborhood like Mr. Darcy.”

Amanda Kai

Amanda Kai’s love of period dramas and classic literature inspires her historical romances and other romances. She is the author of several stories inspired by Jane Austen, including Not In Want of a Wife, Elizabeth’s Secret Admirer, and Marriage and Ministry. Prior to becoming an author, Amanda enjoyed a successful career as a professional harpist, and danced ballet for twenty years. When she’s not diving into the realm of her imagination, Amanda lives out her own happily ever after in Texas with her husband and three children.

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