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Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe (2012)We can only imagine what life would have been like in the great Georgian resort town of Bath, England circa 1800. There are vintage illustrations of buildings, maps of the winding streets, and descriptions from travelers and writers of the time to help us visualize. And then there is the Bath that we know of from Jane Austen’s two novels: Persuasion andNorthanger Abbey. Her characters visit the famous pump-room, dance at the Lower Assembly Rooms, climb that noble hill Beechen Cliff, and propose on the gravel walk. We can visit this enchanting town today and still see much of what Austen experienced, but what if there was a way to be magically transported back in time to discover that Jane Austen is your next door neighbor and her dashing younger brother, Lieutenant Charles Austen, is home on leave from his duties with the Royal Naval? Would you take that journey through time no matter what the unknown risk?
Sophie Elliot, the heroine of Jane Odiwe’s new Austen-inspired novel Searching for Captain Wentworth, unknowingly faces this dilemma the first time she is transported two hundred years into the past through a magical glove once owned by Lt. Austen. Sound fantastical? Well, yes it would to any skeptic, including myself. Recent movies such as Lost in Austen and the Austen Addict book series: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict have softened my resolve. I enjoyed both the mini-series and the novels so much that “suspending my disbelief” and considering that anything is possible (in fiction and in life) opened up a whole new genre to me. Odiwe has created a clever combination of the past and present that took me on a journey through Jane Austen’s world, both familiar and fantastical.
Inspired by Austen’s Persuasion, we encounter many thematic elements inSearching for Captain Wentworth that Austen wanted us to experience in her own novel: love, heartbreak, friendship, snobbery and renewal; all through the eyes of young Sophie who is staying in the upper floor of a Bath townhouse owned by her family since the early 1800’s. She has aspirations to be a writer and hopes that by walking in Austen’s footsteps she will discover her talent and get over the painful loss of her boyfriend. Downstairs is occupied by the mysterious and handsome Josh Strafford who is working at the Holburne Museum on their next Regency exhibit. When Sophie sees him drop a white glove on the pavement outside their townhouse, she picks it up and follows him attempting to return it. When she passes through a white gate in Sydney Gardens she is transported back in time; a timeslip into another era, and her ancestor Sophia’s life.
I have long enjoyed Jane Odiwe’s Austen-inspired novels: Lydia Bennet’s Story,Willoughby’s Return and Mr. Darcy’s Secret. Her in-depth knowledge of Regency history and culture combined with her understanding of Jane Austen’s plots and characters results in a sensitive, engaging and romantic narrative that never disappoints. This time I was especially impressed with her character descriptions:
“All my feelings of self-doubt and of being an absolute failure at everything were returning. I just kept thinking how he’d probably tell the lovely Alison at the museum all about his narrow escape from the lecherous clutches of his neighbor who had delusions of becoming a writer.” – Sophie Elliot (p. 71)
“Every detail of his appearance sharpened into focus. Dark curls fell on the high collar of his black coat, cut to display a flash of white silk waistcoat with buttons faced in pearl, that led the eye to the swell of satin where breeches began…He looked beautiful if I can use that word to describe a man, I only knew I was not the only woman in the room who glanced his way or sat up in their chair.” – Sophia Elliot’s reaction to Lt. Austen, p. 91
As Sophie/Sophia’s romance with Lt. Austen parallel’s the romance in Persuasion, we are even treated to a letter that rivals the famous “You pierce my soul” love letter that Captain Wentworth gives to Anne Elliot. *swoon*
“I read it again and again committing to memory the words that thrilled every sense and awakened every feeling. How would I ever recover from such a letter?” – Sophia Elliot (p. 237)
Indeed! Odiwe has created the perfect reason to never want to recover from such feelings. Searching for Captain Wentworth will send you on a magical journey through time, and your heart, that you will not soon forget.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars

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The Pump Room, Bath

Today I am the guest of Laura Hartness on the Calico Critic Blog. There’s an exclusive extract from Searching for Captain Wentworth and I’m talking about Time Travel and the books I loved as a child. I’d love to know which were your favourites – please leave a comment on her blog!

Yesterday, I was Maria Grazia’s guest and she interviewed me for My Jane Austen Book Club. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning a signed paperback copy of Searching for Captain Wentworth do leave a comment!

The day before I was Laurel Ann Nattress’ guest on Austenprose where I shared an exclusive ‘audio’ excerpt from my new novel.

I’ve also been to visit Vic Sanborn on Jane Austen’s World – she celebrated 500,000 hits on her blog with a giveaway-competition now closed.

Tomorrow, I shall be visiting Nancy Kelley – I hope you can join me!

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I’m having a lovely and very busy day!

The white gate in Sydney Gardens

Laurel Ann Nattress invited me to guestblog on her wonderful Austenprose blog and I really wanted to do something a little different this time. I discovered Soundcloud the other day and it means you can record excerpts or readings – whole books for that matter – and then share them. The technology is simple – I even managed to record it on my phone – I’m not a great fan of listening to myself, I must admit, but I hope you enjoy my efforts! I’ve always enjoyed reading aloud. Having a younger sister and brother meant I did a lot of it in my youth and then I had three children who loved listening to endless books and stories. I was always volunteering for reading in Assembly at school – it’s something I love doing so I hope you get a chance to listen. I’m reading from my new book, Searching for Captain Wentworth!

The Jane Austen Centre

I’ve written a new article for the Jane Austen Centre websiteDiscovering Bath with Jane Odiwe.
This was a challenge because I could write a book about what I love about Bath and couldn’t talk about everything but do pop over there and have a look.

I went to the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms today – I hope you enjoy some of my photos!

Please join me tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Maria Grazia on her lovely blog My Jane Austen Book Club – hope to see you there!

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Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by the wonderful Laurel Ann Nattress is launched today. I’m thrilled to be a part of this book and have enjoyed reading all the amazing stories written by all the fabulous authors. The launch party is being kindly hosted over at Austen Authors with guest posts written by Laurel Ann Nattress, Monica Fairview, Diana Birchall, Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, and Me!


I also found this lovely review


Stories by: Lauren Willig • Adriana Trigiani • Jo Beverley • Alexandra Potter • Laurie Viera Rigler • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Syrie James • Stephanie Barron • Amanda Grange • Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Carrie Bebris • Diana Birchall • Monica Fairview • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Myretta Robens • Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret C. Sullivan • and Brenna Aubrey, the winner of a story contest hosted by the Republic of Pemberley 
“My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Here is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen—her novels, her life, her wit, her world. 

In Lauren Willig’s “A Night at Northanger,” a young woman who doesn’t believe in ghosts meets a familiar specter at the infamous abbey; Jane Odiwe’s “Waiting” captures the exquisite uncertainty of Persuasion’s Wentworth and Anne as they await her family’s approval of their betrothal; Adriana Trigiani’s “Love and Best Wishes, Aunt Jane” imagines a modern-day Austen giving her niece advice upon her engagement; in Diana Birchall’s “Jane Austen’s Cat,” our beloved Jane tells her nieces “cat tales” based on her novels; Laurie Viera Rigler’s “Intolerable Stupidity” finds Mr. Darcy bringing charges against all the writers of Pride and Prejudice sequels, spin-offs, and retellings; in Janet Mullany’s “Jane Austen, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” a teacher at an all-girls school invokes the Beatles to help her students understand Sense and Sensibility; and in Jo Beverley’s “Jane and the Mistletoe Kiss,” a widow doesn’t believe she’ll have a second chance at love . . . until a Miss Austen suggests otherwise.

Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.



Competition Winner announcement!


The winner of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos is Renee Reardon – Congratulations! Thank you to all who entered!

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As my blog tour for Mr. Darcy’s Secret comes to a close, I’d just like to thank everyone who has been so kind in welcoming me onto their blogs, and for the many wonderful reviews I’ve received. 
Last on the tour, but by no means least, is a review from the lovely Laurel Ann at Austenprose Look out too for a guest post on the blog here with a fantastic giveaway. Here’s the review.
Everyone has a secret or two in their past that they would rather forget. In Regency times, where a breach in propriety could ruin a reputation with a withering look, people had many secrets to hide. Are we surprised to learn that the residents of Pemberley, the palatial estate of the Darcy family in Jane Austen’sPride and Prejudice, have a few of their own tucked away in the library or residing at a local cottage? Author Jane Odiwe wants us to explore that possibility in her new novel Mr. Darcy’s Secret. Will the happily ever after really happen for the newly married Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, or will a family secret ruin the fairy tale?
At the conclusion of the original novel Austen left riffs running and a few positive connections for the couple. As Elizabeth arrives in Derbyshire and settles into to her new duties as mistress of the great estate of Pemberley, she attempts to reconcile her husband with his aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh and build up fragile Georgiana Darcy after the emotional upheaval of the failed elopement with Mr. Wickham. Elizabeth resists the innuendo of local gossip Mrs. Eaton to a Darcy connection of a secret affair and illegitimate children until she discovers a cache of love letters hidden in the library. Her doubts about the man she married deepens further when Darcy insists that Georgiana marry quickly, and for title and fortune, and not for love.
Elizabeth stared at Mr. Darcy in disbelief. Not for the first time in the last few days did she stare at the man she had married to consider how little she really knew him. She had been so sure of his character in Hertfordshire and now, for the moment, she could not reconcile any of her former beliefs. Looking at him, his countenance flushed from his passionate speech, his face solemn and sober, she realized it was useless to debate the matter. Without further ado, she excused herself…page 114
No, life at Pemberley is not all sunshine and syllabub. Georgiana is torn between her family duty to marry the man of her brother’s choice or the man she truly loves, Thomas Butler, a young and aspiring landscape gardener designing a new garden on the estate. They have everything in common that true lovers should possess, which Elizabeth recognizes, and her husband does not. How could he be so calculating with his sisters happiness and not with his own? These inconsistencies in his character, the love letters and the familiar resemblance of a young boy in the village threaten Elizabeth’s trust in her new husband and Georgiana’s happiness.
With two plots churning, Jane Odiwe has crafted an intriguing and unique continuation of Austen’s classic that will charm and delight Janeites and historical romance readers. As we travel from Hertfordshire to Derbyshire to the Lake District of Cumberland, we enjoy the awe inspiring picturesque scenery and equally jaw dropping characterizations. Be prepared to see romantic icon Mr. Darcy knocked off his pedestal and conceitedly independent Elizabeth Bennet passively submit to her doubts. Is that a bad thing? Only, if you are determined that these characters should not change, grow and evolve beyond the last page of Pride and Prejudice.

I laughed at the creativity of giving Caroline Bingley a crush on a bohemian artist who she so wishes to impress that she embraces the peasant lifestyle and rents a rustic cottage near him while he is on holiday in the Lake District. He happens to be a wealthy and titled bohemian artist so we know she has not strayed too far from her aspirations of social grandeur. Georgiana plays out to be a bit of the rebel that we always knew she was by falling in love with one man while engaged to another, and thoughtless Lydia Wickham makes a cameo appearance to discover a secret that could ruin a Darcy’s happiness. Oh yes. Mr. Darcy is not the only one harboring secrets in this tale. Hiding or disclosing them is the mettle of true character. Who fesses up? Only one with the true Darcy spirit will tell.

 Last week also concluded with a gorgeous interview with Jessica Hastings at Suite 101, a guest appearance on  Sia McKye’s thoughts over coffee, and A Moment with Mystee Interview
Thank you lovely ladies; I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

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Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you’ve all enjoyed a lovely holiday over the festive season!  Thank you to everyone for visiting my site during the last year, and for those who leave their kind comments on the blog, it really gladdens my heart. An especial thank you goes to all those lovely readers who take the time to write to me individually, and to the wonderful blogging community out there who are always so supportive. I’m very excited that the time for publication of Mr Darcy’s Secret is getting nearer – just a month away – thank you to everyone who have expressed such interest in my new book.
I hope 2011 brings you all health and happiness – I’ve not started too well myself, I’m battling with flu at the moment, but I had to tell you this exciting news from Laurel Ann at Austenprose. I am thrilled to be a part of her short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It! 

Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest 2011 graphicThe Jane Austen Made Me Do It
Short Story Contest Begins
January 1, 2011
In conjunction with the publication of the new anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, Ballantine BooksAustenprose.com, and The Republic of Pemberley are pleased to announce an online short story contest.  Please note that this competition is only open to U.S. residents.
Enter for a chance to win the Grand Prize: publication of your entry in the anthology – a collection of original short stories inspired by the life and works of popular English novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817).  Hosted by the Jane Austen web site The Republic of Pemberley, the contest begins on January 1, 2011. Publication of Jane Austen Made Me Do It is tentatively scheduled for publication by Ballantine in Fall 2011.
Contest Highlights
  • Eligibility: Previously unpublished U.S. residents over the age of 18
  • Entries must be approximately 5,000 words in length
  • Manuscript submission January 1 – February 13, 2011
  • Voting for the Top Ten finalists February 14 – 28, 2011
  • Top Ten finalists announced on March 1, 2011
  • One Grand Prize winner receives $500.00 and a contract for publication in the anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It
  • Grand Prize winner announced Fall 2011 in conjunction with the official release by Ballantine Books (Random House, Inc.) of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
Jane Austen Made Me Do It contains more than twenty best-selling and popular authors who have contributed short stories inspired by Jane Austen, her novels and her philosophies of life and love. From historical continuations of her plots and characters to contemporary spinoffs and comedies, the stories encapsulate what we love about our favorite author: romance, social satire and witty humor. Contributing to the line-up are best-selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation series), Laurie Viera Rigler (The Jane Austen Addict series), Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen), Stephanie Barron (Being A Jane Austen Mystery series), and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Many Austenesque authors and others from related genres have also contributed stories to the project. One spot in the anthology remains open for the lucky Grand Prize winner.
The anthology’s editor, Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose.com, is very excited at the prospect of discovering the next star in the burgeoning sub-genre of Jane Austen sequels and inspired books. “Jane Austen has been inspiring writers for close to two hundred years. It seems quite fitting that she should be the witty muse of our anthology and short story contest. Encouraging writing and discovering new talent is in spirit with her true legacy. I am ‘all anticipation’ of what will develop, and am honored to be part of the selection team.”
Visit the official Jane Austen Made Me Do It Short Story Contest web page for official contest rules and eligibility requirements.  Best of luck to all entrants.
“[S]uppose as much as you chuse; give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford.” Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 60

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Laurel Ann from the fabulous Austenprose blog has very kindly invited me to guest blog as part of her Pride and Prejudice without Zombies Group Read. If you’ve not been keeping up with all the fascinating posts do head on over there – there’s something of interest for all fans of Pride and Prejudice. I was thrilled when Laurel Ann asked me if I’d write about the main hero and heroine of the novel especially as I’ve just finished a continuation of Pride and Prejudice.

Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy are perhaps Jane Austen’s most beloved characters. Pride and Prejudice was written more than two hundred years ago, yet these characters remain as fresh and irresistibly fascinating to us as they were for the first generations that read their tale, and remain the standard by which all other characters in a love story are judged.
So, why do we love them so much? Jane Austen tells their story through Elizabeth’s eyes so it’s easy to identify with this heroine who is lively, witty, and loveable as much for her faults as for her charms. We identify with her because we feel she is like us. She is capable of making mistakes, but having realised her errors, she changes and grows as a result. We see her character develop as the story enfolds.
The first time we really meet Elizabeth it is at the Meryton Assembly where the proud Mr Darcy is also in attendance with his affable friend Mr Bingley. There is a lack of gentlemen at the ball, and Lizzy has to sit out for two dances. Mr Darcy is seen to be behaving in a particularly disagreeable manner. He only dances with Mr Bingley’s sisters and ignores everyone else in the room. Everyone has heard that he is a rich landowner, but his wealth and power coupled with his anti-social manners only serve to make him appear arrogant. He doesn’t seem to care that his words may be overheard or that his speech is insulting. In fact, he is almost goading Elizabeth whom he has heard described as a pretty girl. He actually makes sure that Lizzy is looking at him before he speaks. It’s almost as if he wants her to hear, and make her aware that he can attract, and have any woman in the room.
“She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”
It’s a real put down, and as an unsurprising consequence, she dislikes him instantly!
At this stage, we also think he’s horrid, and I doubt there are many people who stop and wonder at the psychology behind his behaviour. It’s only when their relationship starts to develop that we think about the undeniable ‘chemistry’ between them, and question their attraction to one another from what seems such an unpromising start.
To our utter delight, Mr Darcy finds himself attracted to her even though he is determined to find fault with her, and when she refuses to stand up with him for a dance we rejoice at her opportunity for revenge. The lively banter that ensues between them is what makes their relationship so satisfying. In every respect, Elizabeth proves herself equal in intelligence. She is no simpering female. When they are thrown together at the Netherfield Ball, Darcy begins to enjoy Lizzy’s lively conversation and pert manners. Although she is determined to continue her dislike of him, she agrees to dance with him before she can help herself. The conversation that flies between them is an exercise in brilliant dialogue as each of them tries to better the other with a witty retort. Elizabeth is beginning to realize that however fixed her first impressions of Darcy seemed initially, her opinion of him is changing. She recognizes that they have similarities in their characters; they both like to think that they can use their intellect coupled with a wry sense of humour to win an argument or to make a point all meted out in an economy of language.
“It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy – I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples.”
He smiled, and assured her that whatever she wished him to say should be said. Very well. That reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones. But now we may be silent.”
“Do you talk by rule, then, while you are dancing?”
“Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together; and yet for the advantage of some, conversation ought to be so arranged, as that they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible.”
“Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine?”
“Both,” replied Elizabeth archly; “for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the éclat of a proverb.”
“This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure,” said he. “How near it may be to mine, I cannot pretend to say. You think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly.

They behave for the most part as opposing forces that cannot help being attracted to the other. Elizabeth prides herself on reading the psychology of people – she likes to know what makes them tick. The infuriating thing is that she cannot make Darcy out, when she thinks she has the upper hand, he then seizes power to have the whip hand over Elizabeth.
Just as we imagine that the couple is warming toward one another, something happens to make Lizzy despise Mr Darcy even more. She witnesses his snubbing of Mr Wickham and when the latter claims that Darcy has mistreated him she dislikes him even more. Elizabeth is swayed by Mr Wickham’s charming manner and has no reason to doubt his word. Darcy’s general behaviour has prejudiced her view of him, and so she takes Wickham’s part.
One of the reasons we love Elizabeth is because she is fiercely independent and knows her own mind. When Mr Collins proposes, we know she should accept him, but she refuses to compromise on her principles being prepared to go against the wishes of her mother. Elizabeth knows her prospects to marry well are bleak due to her lack of a good dowry, and even though the likely outcome is that she will remain a spinster, she remains true to her beliefs unlike her friend Charlotte Lucas who ultimately marries Mr Collins. Elizabeth is determined to marry for love. We admire her because she is rebellious, but also because she recognizes her own faults.
Elizabeth is not impressed by Darcy’s wealth and position alone, his character is what interests her, and initially she thinks he is rather shallow when he judges women by their accomplishments alone. He obviously thinks no woman is worthy of his consideration unless she is ‘accomplished’ and when he says he knows of only a half dozen women like this Elizabeth retaliates.
“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”
It is the continual sparring between Elizabeth and Darcy that we especially enjoy. One of them says something designed to provoke the other, and we wait with bated breath to hear their reaction. Darcy responds to Miss Bingley playing a Scotch air on the pianoforte by suggesting that Elizabeth might feel the impulse to dance a reel. Lizzy knows this is a veiled insult – he’s already mentioned that ‘every savage can dance’, and reels are generally danced by the lower orders.
Elizabeth replies, “…You wanted me, I know, to say ‘Yes,’ that you might have the pleasure of despising my taste; but I always delight in overthrowing those kind of schemes, and cheating a person of their premeditated contempt. I have, therefore, made up my mind to tell you, that I do not want to dance a reel at all – and now despise me if you dare.”
Of course, Mr Darcy does not dare.
In order to fully understand Elizabeth’s character we must know something of the expected manners and customs of the time. Young women led sheltered lives amongst family members and had little freedom. Lizzy loves walking around Meryton and the surrounding area unchaperoned which at the time would have been seen as most inappropriate behaviour for a young lady. Walking through mud and jumping over stiles to visit her sister at Netherfield would not have been deemed as the correct way to conduct herself.
Darcy’s character is a composition in contrasts. On the one hand he exhibits reservations about the behaviour of certain Bennet family members, but Elizabeth’s own individual quirkiness and her efforts to go against convention only intrigue him. He likes what he sees as her athleticism, and when Miss Bingley tries to make Elizabeth appear less worthy in his eyes by pointing out her muddy petticoat, and the fact that he would not let his sister tramp about alone in the countryside, his increasing attraction to Elizabeth is observed when he remarks that ‘her eyes were brightened by the exercise.’
Mr Darcy famously refers to Elizabeth’s ‘fine eyes’, and indeed, Jane Austen uses eyes in many instances to show the growing attraction between the couple. Here are a few instances:
Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of each were overspread with the deepest blush.

Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy’s eyes were fixed on her.

They were confined for the evening at different tables, and she had nothing to hope, but that his eyes were so often turned towards her side of the room, as to make him play as unsuccessfully as herself.
When Darcy realizes he is so in love with Elizabeth that there’s no turning back, he asks her to marry him. His proposal is ungracious; he declares he is going against his own sense in asking her to be his wife. Lizzy, in true fashion throws his words and proposal back at him saying she cannot return his feelings, and declares her anger at the way he treated Wickham.
“…from the first moment, I may almost say – of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immoveable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
We know that Elizabeth would be set up for life if she marries him but her principles are admirable. She is not going to marry a man simply because he is rich. She is prejudiced against him for the characteristics she deplores – his haughtiness, his pride, and because he has assumed that she will jump at the chance to be his wife. At this point Darcy is outraged. As far as he is concerned he thinks he is offering what any woman could possibly want to make their dreams come true – his estate at Pemberley, and his fortune. He also wants to put the record straight about Wickham. Darcy writes Elizabeth a letter, and this is an interesting illustration of his character. Why doesn’t he go and see her, to explain in person? Perhaps his pride prevents it. After all, she has rejected him. He may be good at a quick comeback, but he seems more reserved when it comes to expressing his feelings and thoughts. I think we begin to question whether his haughtiness is simply masking a real insecurity; perhaps he is reserved and a little shy in company. It maybe that his discomfort in society and his inability to be at ease in social situations makes him appear to be arrogant when this is not the case. We learn from Mrs Reynolds, his housekeeper, who has known him since he was a small boy that he is far from being an intimidating tyrant. She describes him as being good-natured, sweet-tempered and generous-hearted. Praise indeed!
In her turn, when Lizzy reads the letter with the explanation that Wickham tried to elope with Georgiana Darcy, her first impressions are questioned.
We see another side of Darcy when he and Elizabeth meet again at Pemberley. Mrs Reynolds’s warm appraisal, his changed manner, plus his beautiful house and grounds make Lizzy see him through new eyes. She is beginning to fall in love with him. He is pulling out all the stops to impress her. It’s clear he’s been thinking about what she said to him, and he is trying to change for the better. He is kind to her uncle and aunt, and does not display his former snobbishness toward them. Darcy goes out of his way to be sociable inviting them all to an evening party and introducing his sister.
After learning the truth about Wickham, Elizabeth realizes that there is always more than one way of looking at things. She comes to know the real Mr Darcy as he lets his guard down and when she discovers the quiet way in which he saves her sister Lydia from ruin hence making it possible for their eventual alliance, Elizabeth knows she has been wrong to judge him. Darcy falls in love eventually for all the right reasons – Elizabeth’s intelligence and lively ways have captivated him, and he enjoys the fact that she is not afraid of him or sycophantic toward him. They both change to suit the other because they really love one another unreservedly. Mr Darcy and Elizabeth both make mistakes, but try to put them right and because they admit to their shortcomings, we love them all the more!

Laurel Ann contributed this wonderful passage which shows so perfectly how Mr Darcy has changed for the better by the end of the novel. “Such I was, from eight to eight-and-twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. By you I was properly humbled. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You shewed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.” Mr. Darcy, Chapter 58

My novel, Mr Darcy’s Secret will be published by Sourcebooks in February, 2011. My editor just sent me the cover today which is beautiful – I’m so excited, and can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

After capturing the heart of the richest man in England, Elizabeth Darcy believes her happiness is complete until mysterious affairs involving Mr Darcy’s past, and concerns over his sister Georgiana’s own troubled path to happiness present Elizabeth with fresh challenges to test her integrity, honour, and sweet nature as she fights her old fears and feelings of pride and prejudice. However, nothing can daunt our sparkling and witty heroine or dim her sense of fun as Elizabeth and the powerful, compelling figure of Mr Darcy take centre stage in this romantic tale set against the dramatic backdrops of Regency Derbyshire and the Lakes amongst the characters we love so well.

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