Be Warned: These are the scribblings of a writer unruly, unsupervised, and largely unrepentant

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Character Showcase - Darius Wainwright

In my new series, The Book Club Belles, five young ladies have formed a book society in their small Buckinghamshire village. It is the year 1815 and they've just started reading  Pride and Prejudice. Imagine their surprise when a handsome, mysterious stranger arrives to take possession of the biggest house in the village. He's haughty, reserved, and just like "Mr. Darcy". The gossips are soon in a spin and the Book Club Belles can't help thinking he might have walked directly off the pages of the book they're reading. Whether that's a good, or a bad thing, only time will tell.

Darius Wainwright makes his first appearance in my free introductory story BEFORE THE KISS and you will get to know him more in ONCE UPON A KISS. He's a young man with many responsibilities in his life. He runs a successful shipping business - importing wonderful things like chocolate! - and he is also guardian of his fifteen-year old niece, Sarah. He takes both these things very seriously and it gives him a stiff and haughty appearance. The light relief in his life mostly comes from his best friend Miles Forester, who is always having some romantic misadventure from which he needs to be rescued. As for Sarah, (the niece Darius has raised since she was four and he only nineteen) he believes he's doing a pretty good job, and often thinks to himself...

At least she had the capacity to entertain herself and was not all noise and giggling like most females of her age.

            His stepmother, however, complained the girl was withdrawn and peevish. “You’re raising her to be as unsociable as yourself,” she snapped.

            “Sarah is fifteen. She is not ‘out’ and therefore not meant to be sociable.”

        “Whatever your future plans for the girl, she must learn how to hold a conversation and be gracious. She is too turned in on herself. Of course, she leads a solitary life in this house with no one her own age and no cous­ins, since you flatly refuse to marry and produce any.”

            But Darius saw nothing amiss in his raising of Sarah or in the way she turned out. He measured his success in the fact that he could sit quietly in her company for half an hour and feel neither the stressful need to fill an awk­ward silence nor the beginnings of a tense headache. She seldom made any sign of disagreeing with his opinions and, in fact, had said very recently, “I look at you, Uncle Darius, and know exactly what I want, and don’t want, in a husband.” He was pleased to think he had set her a fine example upon which to base future judgments.

But when he arrives in the village of Hawcombe Prior he soon finds a number of new and unexpected things requiring his attention. One is a very large, complacent, aristocratic pig called Sir Mortimer Grubbins, who by strange accident falls under his care. And another item, even more urgently requiring his attention in this wild, unruly countryside, is Miss Justina Penny - one of those troublesome young ladies of the local book society. He's been warned about those women already, but nothing could have prepared him for what he finds.

Of course, he hasn't read Pride and Prejudice so he has no idea who Mr. Darcy is. From the way Miss Justina Penny keeps mentioning that man with disdain, however, he can only guess Mr. Darcy is the most awful villain ever created. It's clear to Darius that he's off to a bad start since she keeps comparing him to this fictional gentleman. Maybe his housekeeper is right and young women should never be allowed to read romance novels. Surely nothing good can come of it!

Thank you for reading!

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