The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy: Author Mary Lydon Simonsen’s Blog Tour

The Perfect Bride for Mr Darcy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (2011)Please welcome Austenesque author Mary Lydon Simonsen on the first stop on her official blog tour today for her new Pride and Prejudice variation, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy. This new novel released on New Year’s Day and my review was posted yesterday. After reading it, I was curious about Mary’s inspiration and choices that she made in expanding characters and changes to the original Austen storyline. She offers this blog in celebration of her book’s release, elaborating on her creative choices and insights that readers will find quite helpful.

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for inviting me to join you today to talk about my new book. As a long-time reader of your blog, I consider it to be an honor.

The first failed proposal – second thoughts and explanations…

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy begins shortly after Darcy’s awful proposal to Elizabeth at Hunsford Lodge.  After parsing Darcy’s letter, Lizzy begins to have second thoughts about rejecting so worthy a suitor. As for Darcy, he quickly realizes that such a self-righteous, unfeeling response to Lizzy’s refusal probably closes the door to any renewal of his attentions. Between the letter and Lizzy’s harsh words, both parties leave Kent feeling that they will never come together. So that’s that. Right?

Fortunately, for our favorite couple, there are those who disagree. First, Anne De Bourgh, after realizing that Elizabeth is perfect for her cousin, sets a plan in motion to bring the two together at Pemberley. Along the way, she enlists the aid of an eager Georgiana Darcy.

When I first read Pride and Prejudice many years ago, I was about the age of Georgiana, and although I would have preferred to be more like the spunky Elizabeth Bennet, I was quiet and shy like Darcy’s sixteen-year-old sister. Because of that, I wanted to know more about her. I also thought that Anne de Bourgh got the short end of Austen’s pen. After all, she had to live with Lady Catherine and had to accept the fact that her mother had decided that she was destined to marry Mr. Darcy without having any say in the matter. Wasn’t that punishment enough? Little did I know that more than three decades later I would have an opportunity to stage an intervention with these characters.

My first goal in writing the novel was to give Anne a personality. Other than being identified as “sickly and cross,” we know nothing about her. So I painted her as quiet and reserved, but a woman with steel in her spine, and because of her determination to see Darcy and Elizabeth together, it was necessary for her to step outside the comfortable world of Rosings Park in order to initiate a plan to bring the lovers together. As for Georgiana, I wanted this young lady to act like a teenager: curious, nosy, chatty, and someone who gets her romantic notions from reading Gothic and romance novels and even has aspirations to write her own.

In addition to fleshing out Anne and Georgiana, I also wanted to show a softer, more vulnerable Mr. Darcy, someone who, despite his best efforts to hide his feelings, wears his heart on his sleeve. This is the first time Darcy has ever been in love, and he doesn’t know how to handle it. As a result, he fumbles more than once. On the other hand, I think Austen nailed Lizzy’s character, and I was faithful to her wit, intelligence, and sense of self.

All Pride and Prejudice’s prized characters are present and accounted for: a conniving Caroline Bingley, Jane Bennet and her weak-willed suitor, Charles Bingley, the evil George Wickham and his prey, Lydia Bennet, and a handsome Colonel Fitzwilliam who joins with Anne and Georgiana in the plot to bring Darcy and Elizabeth together. But there are a few new characters who have been added for comedic effect: Antony, Lord Fitzwilliam, Darcy’s aristocratic cousin and brother to Colonel Fitzwilliam, who is a total rascal. Then there is Mr. Nesbitt. After accepting the finality of Mr. Bingley’s move to London, Jane allows the man to call on her, only to find that he is very much entwined in his mother’s apron strings.

After completing my first Austen tie-in, Searching for Pemberley, a complex historical novel that is set in post World War II England, I wanted to write something less serious, a book that would guarantee to put a smile on my readers’ faces. Although The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy is written with a light hand, I am hoping that when my readers reach the last page that they will have a better understanding of Mr. Darcy, his sister, and his cousins.

Thank you again Laurel Ann. It’s been a pleasure.

Author Mary Lydon SimonsenAuthor Bio: Mary Lydon Simonsen has been captivated by the novels of Jane Austen since she first read Pride and Prejudice in English class in high school many years ago. Following a career as a legal secretary and a second career as a special education assistant, she turned her attention to writing a novel that had been swirling around in her head for years. That story was Searching for Pemberley, published by Sourcebooks in 2010. Her second Austen re-imagining is her newly released, self-published novel, Anne Elliot: A New Beginning, a humorous retelling of Austen’s Persuasion, which is available exclusively on Amazon. Her next novel, A Wife for Mr. Darcy, is due out in July, 2011 from Sourcebooks. She currently lives in Peoria, Arizona.

Glorious Giveaway of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment on which of Austen’s novels or characters you would like Mary to write about in her next novel by midnight Pacific time, Monday, January 10, 2011. Winners announced on Tuesday, January 11, 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s blog tour

  • Jan 03 – Austenprose
  • Jan 05 – Savvy Verse & Wit
  • Jan 06 – My Jane Austen Book Club
  • Jan 07 – Romance Fiction on Suite 101
  • Jan 10 – Debbie’s Book Bag
  • Jan 12 – Jenny Loves to Read
  • Jan 14 – Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
  • Jan 17 – Jane Austen Sequel Examiner
  • Jan 18 – Diary of an Eccentric
  • Jan 19 – One Writer Skidding in Sideways
  • Jan 20 – Laura’s Reviews
  • Jan 24 – Historical Hussies
  • Jan 26 – Austenesque Reviews
  • Jan 27 – Love Romance Passion
  • Jan 31 – Psychotic State

Further reading

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

35 thoughts on “The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy: Author Mary Lydon Simonsen’s Blog Tour

  1. I’m sure this author could create a great story about Anne during the years she was alone in Persuasion, while our hero is off at sea.

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  2. I watched the most recent Mansfield Park on MD PBS last night, and think there must be a middle road between Jane Austen’s original view of Fanny Price (insipid) and the active, buxom heroine portrayed in that production. I would love to see a more appealing Fanny, and have a feeling that Mary Lydon Simon would do a fine job.

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  3. I would like to read more about Emma and Mr. Knightley. Did she really give up matchmaking after their wedding? What is their married life like?

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  4. I feel like Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park get the fuzzy end of the lollipop when it comes to Austen retellings, variations and sequels/prequels. I’d like to know what was going on in the mischief heads of Mary and Henry Crawford or the back story of General Tilney and his wife.

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  5. I think stories with Mr. Tilney and Catherine would be fun to read about.

    I can’t wait to read this novel. I’d love to be entered in the drawing.

    Felicia

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  6. I would love to read more about Anne’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Charles Musgrove, including the stories of the Misses Musgroves. They are so jovial and interesting.

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  7. I guess I am one of the few people who does not believe that Fanny Price is insipid. I think she has a very strong moral code and does quite well considering she has never been treated with kindness or respect by anyone except Edmund and her brother William. Consider that she absolutely refuses to participate in the play despite extreme pressure from everyone at home because she knows her uncle would not approve. Also, she does not agree to marry Henry Crawford because she knows he is of poor character even though she is displeasing her family and she has nowhere else to turn.

    I would like to see something about her that does not change her but does give insight into her strengths. And don’t make Mary Crawford a heroine! Eww!

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  8. I’d love a copy of this book! I’d also love to hear about Mrs. Jennings’ (Sense and Sensibility) life. Although meddlesome, she is such a loving person and always so cheerful. I can’t help but like her and wonder what her life was like before we met her.

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  9. My! My! That is a lot of good material for future books. Thank you for participating and thank you, Laurel Ann, for having me. :)

    Personally, I’d like to be a fly on the wall when Lydia gets to Newcastle with Mr. Wickham.

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  10. This sounds like a great read! I would love to see a book using Northanger Abbey. Thank you, Laurel Ann for yet another great giveaway :)

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  11. I’d love to have Mary do something also with Henry Tilney and Catherine Morland. I love what she’s already done with Anne Elliot in a humorous vein so I don’t know that I could see a serious one now. I’d love to win this book. schafsue at gmail dot com

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  12. Ooohh, these comments about Northanger Abbey got me to thinking…I believe a retelling of NA from Henry Tilney’s perspective would be a lot of fun. :) Thanks for another contest opportunity!

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  13. I never thought about doing something with Margaret Dashwood, but she would also be a blank slate–pretty much run with it. Now, you all have me thinking! Thanks again for reading my post. :) Mary

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  14. I would love too see more with Northanger Abbey…it so often gets overlooked and is truly one of my favorites.

    Courtney
    stilettostorytime at gmail dot com

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  15. Hmmm, pretty please enter me in the contest, but as to character continuation…..hmmm. Marianne and Colonel Brandon, thriving yet tested by a jealous and bitter Willoughby and somehow Beth settles her score…and it allows us to see how Margaret comes into her own and has learned from her sisters. Yes, please.

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  16. I really love anything that has to to with any of Austen’s novels…but I think I would especially be interested in a continuation of Mansfield Park…I just love Fanny Price-maybe we could find out more about her siblings…or I also like the idea of reading a book that follows Margaret Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility as she gets older.

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  17. I love Mary’s stories! I like what if situations. I would like to see a Pride and Prejudice Sequel where after Mrs. Bennet’s death Mr. Bennet and Lady Catherine marry! That could be hilarious! If they are open enough with each other they might benefit each other! It would not be good if this marriage was like their first marriages. I think events in the Bennet family and the de Bourg family helped frame the characters we see in the book. What if, with Mrs. Bennet gone, Anne gone – possibly happily married – these two characters could find happiness together and become like they were before they first married and had children!

    I would love to win The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy!

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  18. I would love to see something done with Margaret Dashwood, she’s actually one of my favorite Austen characters.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity! I have such a soft spot for anything Austen-esque, and am definitely putting this one on my to-read list. :)

    jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

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  19. Pingback: Winners Announced in The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy Giveaway « Austenprose – A Jane Austen Blog

  20. The link and the header above both say “prefect”–at first I thought it was supposed to be a pun! But I think it’s just a typo.
    Anyway, looking forward to checking this one out!

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    • OMG Dora. *hides face in shame* Thank you for calling this to my attention. It has been corrected. I am slightly dyslectic and I shudder to think of the things that my readers are subjected to between my imperfect grammar and spelling errors. So sorry everyone. Horrors!

      Like

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