I often wonder, for young girls in Regency time,  how they learned about the way between a man and a woman. In my latest novel, The Spinster's Vow: A Spicy Retelling of Mrs. Darcy's Journey to Love, Elizabeth Bennet was forced to marry Mr. Darcy  and they did not consummate their marriage at first and she found herself wondering about this question. Below is an excerpt from the book:


“May I ask you something?” Elizabeth said.

“Of course.” Mr. Darcy replied.

“It is embarrassing…”

“You cannot see me in the dark, so I cannot see you, either. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“I… How do you know whether a woman is still virtuous?”

“Why do you want to know?”

“I overhead Miss… I overheard a maiden who was boasting about her conquest. I wondered how she could do such a thing. I know that it was wrong of her to do so with any man who was not her husband. And yet she did not seem worried about her future husband finding out about it.”

Instead of laughing at me, Mr. Darcy replied calmly and soberly. “According to our society’s standards, that was very wrong of her. But in other, less sophisticated societies, like the savages in some parts of the world, virtue is not so highly regarded.”

“Yes,” I said, “Aunt Magdalene and I were talking about the double standard in society regarding men and women – and masters and servants, as well. I suppose I should not condemn this woman, from a purely moral point of view, if she is truly in love with that man. But she also said that it was not the first time that she has done such a thing. How can a woman be in love with more than one man?”

“An excellent question. You think of the act of lying with someone as an act of love. But many people in society think of it only as a physical release, or purely as the means to producing an heir.”

“Indeed. I have heard it said that many marriages of convenience occur. Of course, they would need to produce an heir. But this unmarried lady… Is she only seeking physical release, do you suppose?”

“We cannot know the particulars. But a man usually can tell whether a woman is still a maiden. There will be pain, normally, the first time. But if that young woman can pretend, or get her husband drunk during the wedding night, then she will probably be able to avoid having to give any explanation.”

“I truly cannot understand her.”

“Why does she interest you so?”

“She does not. But I find the emotions evoked by your kisses and touches so intense that I wonder that she is willing to share it with just anyone.”

He leaned over and caressed my face. “You are a woman of deep emotion and thought.”

“Perhaps I read too many romances and poems. I have heard others speak about mistresses, adultery and infidelity. I think the act of lying with a woman or a man is a union of another kind. You are connected with another person on the most basic and intimate level. You need to shed not only your clothing but also the protective layer that shields your emotions and feelings. I do not think it is something to be taken lightly.”


What do you think of this pillow talk? Can a woman be in love with more than one man? Please comment below for a chance to win a paperback version of The Spinster's Vow. Competition is open to worldwide readers and will end on 14 February 2012.

Below is the book description. You can check out free reads from www.enidwilson.com

What if Mr. Bennet went missing and the Bennet women had to leave Longbourn? In this intriguing refashioning of Jane Austen’s classic, Mr. Darcy meets a melancholic but spirited Elizabeth Bennet who has vowed to remain a spinster until she finds her father.

A debauchery at a masquerade forces the couple to marry. Will Elizabeth resent Mr. Darcy’s arrogance, which forced her to break her vow? Will she find her father, with his help? This sexy and inventive Pride and Prejudice what-if story, set just after the Napoleonic Wars, takes the perennial favorite in a new direction with captivating plot twists and passionate romance.

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