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Archive for the ‘Marianne Dashwood’ Category

I was very kindly invited to guest blog on Book Nerd Extraordinaire Blogspot. Here’s what Jaime Huff has to say about Willoughby’s Return followed by my guest post.

‘I have been enjoying the selection of Jane Austen sequels, and Willoughby’s Return by Jane Odiwe is right there leading the pack. Marianne, in my opinion, was spoiled, vivid and full of life and Jane Odiwe has maintained that spirit as she brings us to Marianne’s life and her marriage to Colonel Brandon…”Willoughby’s Return” has maintained the spirit and life of it’s predecessor, “Sense and Sensibility” and was such a strong, flowing read and I would definitely recommend this to any Sense and Sensibility fan who has wondered “well, what then?”‘ Jaime Huff

Jaime, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog to talk about my book, Willoughby’s Return. I thought I’d talk a little about Mr. Willoughby, that bad boy we find hard to resist!

Have you ever felt an irresistible attraction toward someone, and fallen so passionately in love with a guy that he made you throw all caution to the wind, so that your behaviour became reckless and even a little wild? In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne’s relationship with John Willoughby escalates quickly into a whirlwind romance, so rapidly that the gossips assume they are engaged. Willoughby, dashing and handsome, is the man of her dreams – he enjoys poetry, music, and loves to dance. Marianne thinks she has met her perfect match until he breaks her heart. Scandal surrounds him, not only does he leave her for a woman with a fortune, but she finds out he is not the man she thought. Later, she is able to forgive him, especially when he tells her sister that he is full of remorse and regret; Marianne will forever be his secret standard of perfection. He has realised, too late, just how much he loves her, but by then Marianne has moved on and fallen in love with Colonel Brandon, an older, but much wiser, and kinder gentleman, far more suited to our heroine.
When I wrote Willoughby’s Return, I was full of questions about the ending of Jane Austen’s book – I couldn’t help wondering what might happen if John Willoughby came back to the neighborhood, as it is likely that he will inherit his benefactor’s grand house, Allenham Court.

Has Marianne really buried all her former feelings for Willoughby who once claimed her heart, and who has publicly made no secret of the fact that he still admires her. If they are thrown together in circumstances neither of them can avoid, what will happen? Will Marianne’s love for Colonel Brandon be tested?
Here’s an extract from the book. Marianne has met Willoughby again, and memories she thought were gone will not go away!

Seeing Willoughby again had disturbed her mind, and now she was travelling through countryside she could only ever associate with him. Pulling down the window to breathe the cool air, she could not help being reminded of a time, five years ago, of a season just like this one. She tried to dismiss her thoughts but they crowded in on her until she was forced to remember a particularly golden, autumnal day, when she had first been taken to see Allenham Court, which John Willoughby would inherit one day. The dwelling he had hinted would also be her future home was the place where he had first stolen more than a lock of her hair.

It was at his suggestion that he show her over the house. They travelled alone in an open carriage, bowling at speed down the green lanes, so fast that Marianne was forced to cling to his arm for fear of being thrown abroad.

He was so pleased and proud to show it off. “Do you like the house?” he asked, taking her hand and helping her down from the carriage. “Would it suit Miss Dashwood to live in a house like this?”
Marianne’s excitement knew no bounds. “This house would suit anyone, Mr. Willoughby,” came her fervent response, gazing up at the charming edifice.

He took her into the garden first. They strolled away from the house and into a leafy walkway. The fragrance of damp earth and the musk scent of leaves like amber jewels above her head in the arbour were smells she would associate forevermore with those feelings of longing and love. He crooked her arm in his and they wandered through thorned archways, gleaming scarlet with rose hips, embroidered with the lace of jewelled spider’s webs. It seemed like a dream come true to Marianne, and the thought that this might be her retreat some day brought on such ecstasies of happiness that she was lost for words. They walked in silence. All she heard were the leaves rustling under her feet, the birds in the trees calling out to one another. Her only desire was to link his arm in hers, and to feel the nearness of his face, his breath so close as to stir her curls. She could not have imagined greater felicity.
After going all round the grounds he took her inside. They crept about for fear of disturbing Mrs. Smith, who slumbered in her chair in the drawing room, quite unaware of their presence. He took her hand as they crept up the stairs with stifled giggles. The ancient oak door opened with a creak into a darkened room, the heavy, old-fashioned drapes drawn against the morning sun to protect the furniture.
Marianne’s eyes were not able to adjust to the gloom after the brightness outside. “I cannot see,” she whispered.

He caught both of her hands in his and whispered in reply, “Let me be your guide, Miss Marianne.”

© Jane Odiwe, Sourcebooks Landmark, 2009

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak at Willoughby’s Return! Now tell me—who’s your favorite Austen hero and why?

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I loved this film version of Sense and Sensibility and the music by Patrick Doyle is beautiful! In celebration of day 3 of the publication of Willoughby’s Return I am offering this brand new CD of the soundtrack.
Willoughby and Marianne share a love of music when they first meet in Sense and Sensibility. After he breaks her heart there is a very poignant passage where Marianne tries to overcome her feelings by playing again – but it will not do.

After dinner she would try her pianoforte. She went to it; but the music on which her eye first rested was an opera, procured for her by Willoughby, containing some of their favourite duets, and bearing on its outward leaf her own name in his hand writing. That would not do. She shook her head, put the music aside, and, after running over the keys for a minute complained of feebleness in her fingers, and closed the instrument again; declaring, however, with firmness as she did so, that she should in future practise much.

If you’d like a chance to win the CD I’d like to know if you have a special love song or a special piece of music that you associate with someone – it could be a first love, a boyfriend, your Mum or Dad, a special friend. You don’t have to name names, but I’d love to know about your piece of special music or song choice and why it’s so dear to your heart!

Just leave a comment below! The competition is open worldwide and closes on November 14th. The winner will be announced on November 16th.

Yesterday I had the chance to chat with Jaime on her blog Book Nerd Extraordinaire – Click here to read – US and Canada have a chance to win a copy of Willoughby’s Return!

Finally, I wanted to post one of my favourite pieces of music – Minor Swing by Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grapelli. My lovely Uncle Gerry passed away recently and whenever I hear this music I associate it with him and the lovely parties we used to have. He was a picture book uncle with a curly moustache – he could do magic tricks and play the ukelele and when I was a little girl he always had time to twirl you up into the air. The smell of oil paint was always in the house – he was a wonderful artist and he inspired me very much!

Minor Swing

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In a romantic frame of mind today – here’s a description of young love at its most besotted! The photo is from the film Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet (a perfect Marianne) and Greg Wise (Emma Thompson, you are such a lucky girl!) as Willoughby.

When he was present, she had no eyes for any one else. Everything he did was right. Everything he said was clever. If their evenings at the park were concluded with cards, he cheated himself and all the rest of the party to get her a good hand. If dancing formed the amusement of the night, they were partners for half the time; and when obliged to separate for a couple of dances, were careful to stand together and scarcely spoke a word to anybody else. Such conduct made them of course most exceedingly laughed at; but ridicule could not shame, and seemed hardly to provoke them.

Mrs. Dashwood entered into all their feelings with a warmth which left no inclination for checking this excessive display of them. To her it was but the natural consequence of a strong affection in a young and ardent mind.

This was the season of happiness to Marianne. Her heart was devoted to Willoughby, and the fond attachment to Norland which she brought with her from Sussex, was more likely to be softened than she had thought it possible before, by the charms which his society bestowed on her present home.

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Here are a couple of photos taken on the Flete estate of the house that was used in Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility and the surrounding area. This part of the country in South Devon close to the Erme estuary is very beautiful and there are some wonderful walks. The following extract from Sense and Sensibility involves a walk, leading us to a turning point in the book for Marianne – one, which will change her life forever!
The Dashwoods were now settled at Barton with tolerable comfort to themselves. The house and the garden, with all the objects surrounding them, were now become familiar; and the ordinary pursuits which had given to Norland half its charms, were engaged in again with far greater enjoyments than Norland had been able to afford since the loss of their father. Sir John Middleton, who called on them every day for the first fortnight, and who was not in the habit of seeing much occupation at home, could not conceal his amazement on finding them always employed.
Their visitors, except those from Barton Park, were not many; for, in spite of Sir John’s urgent entreaties that they would mix more in the neighbourhood, and repeated assurances of his carriage being always at their service, the independence of Mrs. Dashwood’s spirit overcame the wish of society for her children; and she was resolute in declining to visit any family beyond the distance of a walk. There were but few who could be so classed; and it was not all of them that were attainable. About a mile and a half from the cottage, along the narrow winding valley of Allenham, which issued from that of Barton, as formerly described, the girls had, in one of their earliest walks, discovered an ancient respectable-looking mansion, which, by reminding them a little of Norland, interested their imagination, and made them wish to be better acquainted with it. But they learnt, on inquiry, that its possessor, an elderly lady of very good character, was unfortunately too infirm to mix with the world, and never stirred from home.

The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. The high downs, which invited them from almost every window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air on their summits, were an happy alternative when the dirt of the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties; and towards on of these hills did Marianne and Margaret one memorable morning direct their steps, attracted by the partial sunshine of a showery sky, and unable longer to bear the confinement which the settled rain of the two preceding days had occasioned. The weather was not tempting enough to draw the two others from their pencil and their book, in spite of Marianne’s declaration that the day would be lastingly fair, and that every threatening cloud would be drawn off from their hills; and the two girls set off together.

They gaily ascended the downs, rejoicing in their own penetration at every glimpse of blue sky: and when they caught in their faces the animating gales of an high south-westerly wind, they pitied the fears which had prevented their mother and Elinor from sharing such delightful sensations.

“Is there a felicity in the world,” said Marianne, “superior to this? Margaret, we will walk here at least two hours.”

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I thought I’d give Twitter a whirl! I’m enjoying it very much so far, but am spending far too much time reading everyone’s tweets and not getting much work done. I think it’s partly due to feeling the effects of going away at the weekend – whilst lovely, I cannot stop thinking about the beautiful Dorset countryside and wishing I was still there. Decided to tweet away my melancholy by tweeting as Marianne from Sense and Sensibility – but of course, I’m now feeling sadder than ever having thought my way into her feelings. I may have to switch characters – jolly myself up by being Mrs Jennings!
I’ve found far too many interesting pages to follow, and am trying to ration myself, but it’s hard. I don’t think I’ve completely got the hang of it though – something’s not quite right – I don’t know how to make the pretty pics of everyone I’m following appear on my page. If anyone knows what to do, I’d love to hear from you!

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This scene from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility shows Devonshire through Marianne Dashwood’s eyes. Marianne sees romance in every twirling leaf and believes that every day is fair. The fact that every one else can see that the day is less than fine shows how easily ‘blinded’ Marianne can be by her sense of reality. Practical Elinor, her elder sister, has no wish to get wet and sensibly stays inside. Margaret is of a similar disposition to Marianne and they delight in the day. Of course this scene is set for her meeting of Willoughby. For Marianne, could there be a more romantic encounter?

The whole country about them abounded in beautiful walks. The high downs, which invited them from almost every window of the cottage to seek the exquisite enjoyment of air on their summits, were an happy alternative when the dirt of the valleys beneath shut up their superior beauties; and towards on of these hills did Marianne and Margaret one memorable morning direct their steps, attracted by the partial sunshine of a showery sky, and unable longer to bear the confinement which the settled rain of the two preceding days had occasioned. The weather was not tempting enough to draw the two others from their pencil and their book, in spite of Marianne’s declaration that the day would be lastingly fair, and that every threatening cloud would be drawn off from their hills; and the two girls set off together.

They gaily ascended the downs, rejoicing in their own penetration at every glimpse of blue sky: and when they caught in their faces the animating gales of an high south-westerly wind, they pitied the fears which had prevented their mother and Elinor from sharing such delightful sensations.

“Is there a felicity in the world,” said Marianne, “superior to this? Margaret, we will walk here at least two hours.”


Margaret agreed, and they pursued their way against the wind, resisting it with laughing delight for about twenty minutes longer, when suddenly the clouds united over their heads, and a driving rain set full in their face. Chagrined and surprised, they were obliged, though unwillingly, to turn back, for no shelter was nearer than their own house. One consolation however remained for them, to which the exigence of the moment gave more than usual propriety; it was that of running with all possible speed down the steep side of the hill which led immediately to their garden gate.

They set off. Marianne had at first the advantage, but a false step brought her suddenly to the ground, and Margaret, unable to stop herself to assist her, was involuntarily hurried along, and reached the bottom in safety.

A gentleman carrying a gun, with two pointers playing round him, was passing up the hill and within a few yards of Marianne, when her accident happened. He put down his gun and ran to her assistance. She had raised herself from the ground, but her foot had been twisted in the fall, and she was scarcely able to stand.
The gentleman offered his services, and perceiving that her modesty declined what her situation rendered necessary, took her up in his arms without farther delay, and carried her down the hill. Then passing through the garden, the gate of which had been left open by Margaret, he bore her directly into the house, whither Margaret was just arrived, and quitted not his hold till he had seated her in a chair in the parlour.

The first three photos are from my own collection taken when I stayed at Efford House on the Flete Estate. The last shows Willoughby (Dominic Cooper) offering his services to Marianne (Charity Wakefield) from the latest adaptation of Sense and Sensibility

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