A Wife for Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Mary Simonsen

Please join usA Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Simonsen (2011) today in welcoming Austenesque author Mary Simonsen for the official launch of her book blog tour of A Wife for Mr. Darcy, a new Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel that was released on July 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks.

I am so pleased to be back at Austenprose to kick off my blog tour for my latest novel. Thank you, Laurel Ann, for hosting me. It’s always a pleasure.

You asked that I write about my inspiration for my new novel, A Wife for Mr. Darcy. That’s easy: Elizabeth Bennet. Since I first read Pride and Prejudice when I was 17 (that’s a few decades ago), I have loved the character of Lizzy Bennet, probably because she was the antithesis of me. Lizzy had spunk; I admired spunk. Lizzy was willing to refuse an offer of marriage from a handsome, well-to-do man of rank and privilege because he exhibited a “selfish disdain for the feelings of others” and because he had injured her sister. In an era, when a woman faced a life of privation and pity if she did not find a husband, refusing such an offer took real courage. On the other hand, I usually played it safe, except for that time I went to Greenwich Village in New York City without telling my mother. (Long story short: I got caught.) If Mr. Darcy had asked me to marry him, I would have accepted him, keeping my fingers crossed that I could mold the man to my liking. However, if things didn’t go as planned, I could always mope about in one of Pemberley’s exquisitely decorated rooms or go sulk in the gardens.

When I write about Lizzy, I always portray her as someone who knows her own mind, but I also try to be true to the times in which Elizabeth Bennet lived. In A Wife for Mr. Darcy, Darcy realizes that he was rude to Elizabeth at the Netherfield ball and goes to Longbourn the next day for the purpose of apologizing, thus setting their relationship on a different trajectory. But there are difficulties. (Of course, there are difficulties.) During the season, Darcy paid sufficient attention to a Miss Letitia Montford to get the gossip mills going. Because there are expectations of an offer of marriage to Miss Montford, Darcy must tread carefully or risk injuring the lady. Both Lizzy and Darcy must navigate a minefield of societal norms in order to come together.

I think another reason that I have always been attracted to Lizzy Bennet is because she belongs to a family of five daughters. I was the fourth daughter in the family of six girls. Jane Austen did an excellent job in mixing up the personality traits of the five Bennet daughters. In my family, there was definitely an Elizabeth, Jane, and Lydia. When I was in my teens, I was most like Mary Bennet: quiet, bookish, and someone who frequently said stupid things. But as I gained confidence (especially after my marriage to a wonderful man), I became more like Elizabeth Bennet. I gained enough confidence to write and publish novels and to put them out there for other people to comment on just as Jane Austen did nearly 200 years ago. In doing so, I exhibited another of Elizabeth Bennet’s qualities: courage.

Do you find the character of Elizabeth Bennet to be inspirational? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading my post.

Author Mary Simonsen (2011)About the author:

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s novels, Searching for Pemberley and The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, were acclaimed by Publishers Weekly, RT Book Reviews, and Booklist. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fan fiction sites with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She has also self-published a parody of Persuasion, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning, two Austen novellas, Mr. Darcy’s Angel of Mercy and For All the Wrong Reasons, and a modern romance, The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style. Mary lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is currently working on her next Jane Austen novel. Visit Mary at her blog, on Facebook and as @bibliofilly on Twitter.

Giveaway of A Wife for Mr. Darcy

Enter a chance to win one of three copies of A Wife for Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Pride and Prejudice-inspired what-if novel or what characters you would like to see Mary write about next, by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 13, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, July 14, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!

A Wife for Mr. Darcy, by Mary Simonsen
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402246166

© 2007 – 2011 Mary Simonsen, Austenprose

72 thoughts on “A Wife for Mr. Darcy Blog Tour with Author Mary Simonsen

  1. Thank you for this interesting guest post. Next to Mr. Darcy, my favorite male character is Captain Wentworth. I would like to see a novel with him as the central character. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  2. One of my great pleasures is to indulge in what I call “projecting,” which is mentally extending the story out well beyond the final words of the author. It is apparent by the proliferation of sequels, prequels, and films that Miss Austen’s novels are pre-eminent in the art of “projection.” Mr. Darcy remains for me one of the most fascinating and enigmatic heroes in all of fiction and a magnet for sequels. Furthermore, having read a few myself, the quality of these sequels is astonishing, largely in part due to the quality of people who orbit in the sphere of the divine J.A. Ms. Simonson: I’m confident you are one of them! Best of luck on your latest endeavor.

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  3. I think Pride and Prejudice is such a timeless piece with such universal themes that it lends itself to many different interpretations. And I always play the what-if game myself, so it’s interesting to see what others come up with in theirs.

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    • Margay, Someone wrote a blog post about why Austen’s works lend themselves to re-imaginings while Charlotte Bronte’s work does not. It was suggested that Charlotte told us everything about Jane Eyre, while Austen left much to our imagination.

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  4. Mary, I love that you admire Lizzy because she was the antithesis of you. When reading books, I tend to search each of the characters and see where and how I might be similar and also what I can learn from the characters. I do find Lizzy to be inspirational. I too wish I had her spunk, ability to speak her mind and sharp wit! I am so excited to read A Wife for Mr. Darcy! The thought about having Miss Letitia Montford in the mix makes it sound so enticing! I am looking forward to reading how Darcy and Lizzy get around that obstacle. I am sure I will love it, just like all of your other books!
    (Laurel Ann, I am not entering the giveaway)!

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    • Jakki, One of the fascinating quirks of the Regency Era was that a woman could break an engagement, but a man could not. Even though Darcy never asked Letitia to marry him, there were “expectations,” thus his dilemma.

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      • Mary, that makes me think about balls. A woman cannot decline to dance with a man without forgoing all other sets. However, men can pick and choose which dances they want to dance and with whom. I can’t wait to read about these “expectations.”

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        • Jakki, Whenever I think it would be fun to live in the Regency Era, I think about the limitations on women, the lack of flush toilets, and no a/c, and reality descends.

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          • I hear you there, Mary. Although, since you are so smart and well-researched, I will ask you a question I have been wondering. (This might be a really easy question that I should know the answer to). Lots of readings I do talk about how hot London is and people leave for their country estates after the season. However, looking on a map, London is so far north. I have been to Maine and near York, England in the summer and do not remember it being hot. So, how is it that London was so unbearable during the summer months? I know they wore more clothes than we do (especially the men). That is the only thing I can think of. Thanks, Mary!

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            • I think it has to do with pollution as much as anything. All the coal fires left a real haze in the air – the thick pea soup London Fog was really smog. I think the summer (what do the meteorologists call them? Inversions?) would have left London feeling a lot like Los Angeles in the 70’s. So it may have been more “unpleasant” than hot. I’ve been to London in the summer – it’s not what people today would call hot, but if it was very humid and dirty, I can imagine you’d want to escape to the countryside where there was fresh, clean air and plenty of outdoor pursuits. Everything is relative, and you’re right – when you look at all those clothes! How could you survive?

              England also has the Gulf Stream, which warms it much beyond what Maine endures, so latitude is not the only consideration. Remember that there are palm trees in the south of England (albeit not native…)

              Julie

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              • Thank you so much Julie! I was wondering if the Gulf Stream affected it much. I guess I never gave the smog consideration. That does make sense. I can tell you from living in Atlanta, humidity is the worst! Thanks again for your response, Julie. I do appreciate it!

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                • Oh, and you know – another thing has just occurred to me. London houses would have been built to keep heat in – small rooms, doors on every room to shut out the drafts, and fireplaces in every room – it would be impossible to get any kind of breeze going through. Perhaps this is why Robert Ferrars would prefer a cottage to anything, hahahaha.

                  julie

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            • This might also be a case of “relatively speaking.” When I was in Ireland, they had a “heat wave” when the thermometer hit 80. In addition to the coal-induced smog (with its pollutants, such as mercury) that Julie mentioned, there was an unbelievable amount of horse manure. The heat would work on that as well, and with more people in London for the season, privvies would be overtaxed, etc. Dates for the “season” vary, but most people would want to be out of London by the end of June at the very latest.

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              • So true about “relatively speaking”. I remember being in London and seeing a newspaper headline about 75 degree days and “no relief in sight!”. It’s all what you are used to.

                Julie

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  5. I find LIzzy and Darcy to be facinating characters. I love their strength, but also that they are able to recognize their weaknesses and improve themselves. I have always admired Lizzy for her wit, loyalty, strength and of course all her ‘spunk.’ Her positive qualities are part of the reason I named my own daughter Elizabeth. For others out there with the same love (or hate) of the P&P characters, all the JAFF out there allows the reader to visit them time and again in new situations and see them grow and fall in love again and again. The creativity of so many of these authors is amazing and I love where each story takes me, how the characters personalities are tweaked or to see how a twist in the base story/timeline can create new experiences.

    I have an idea for a story where (dare I say it) Mrs. Bennet dies when Lizzy is in her very early teens and Mr. Bennet remarries and how the family changes from there. Of course in my mind there is a lot more to it than that, but I have yet to find a piece of JAFF out there with a similar story line, but I am sure it is already out there and I have not found it yet. If anyone out there knows of one please let me know. And thanks for the giveaway! I’ve been looking forward to Mary’s next work.

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  6. I think the thing that intrigues me most about reading Austen inspired works is that they usually get inside the head of the man. So much of Austen’s novels focus on the female’s perspective and thoughts, and I am always interested in reading a story from the man’s point of view. (That’s one of the reasons I wish Stephenie Meyer would hurry up already with that Midnight Sun novel she’s been teasing us about for years.)

    I’m always interested in P&P variations, but I really don’t feel there are enough variations of any of her other works. I’d really like to know if anyone is brave enough to write Mansfield Park with Fanny ending up with Henry instead of Edmund.

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    • Nicole, I tried to pitch a Persuasion story to my editor at Sourcebooks, and she told me that she could sell it to her buyers. But now with self-publishing, I think there is a better chance of that happening. I do have a novella coming out next month about Anne and Frederick. You are not the only one asking for variety.

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  7. Thank you ladies and gentleman for your comments. Nicole, I am working on a Persuasion variation as we speak. Thanks for participating and good luck to all. Mary

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  8. I love thinking and reading about the Lizzy/Darcy relationship after they are married. Also reading the adventures at sea of Capt. and Mrs Wentworth would be very exciting.

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  9. Darcy (to me) is one of most intriging characters I’ve ever found in literature. Austen only gives us a loose framework of information about Darcy… we know more about his flaws than his good qualities. The thing that sets Darcy apart is that he sees his defects and sets out to overcome and change them. He is not a perfect man, but he tries. That earnestness he possesses in wanting to change, to “please a woman worthy of being pleased” is what I think makes Darcy such a “hero”. He grows to a point where he’s selfless in his deeds, doing what’s right on principle- not because if what he stands to gain from his actions.

    What I love about reading Austen-inspired fiction are the details that authors can attribute to the characters (Darcy is a prime candidate) to help flesh them out further.

    Mary just happens to be especially clever at doing exactly that! ;)

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  10. I have read several of Ms. Simonsen’s other books and look forward to this one. What I enjoy about all the Austen “extra” books is that it is like a new adventure each time. You think you know what is going to happen but then there is a new twist or turn. Sometimes it leads back to the safe comfortable place or it takes you to a whole new place. It allows you to stay with the wonderful characters you loves and don’t want to leave.

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  11. Northanger Abbey has a special place in my Jane Austen obsession. I would love to read more about Catherine & Mr. Tilney and their life together.

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  12. thank you, Mary, for giving us another perspective! and this is what i luv about P+P inspired novels.. imagining along with another person. seeing thru their eyes, which is taking permission for further imagining “) much FuN! and i appreciate the time, effort and creativity that has gone into your work ~ thank you! i’d luv to read what you might do with Ann Elliot or Cptn Wentworth….
    would DEFINITELY LUV a copy of ‘A Wife for Mr Darcy’!!

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  13. I enjoy reading more about Lizzy and Mr. Darcy and what their life could be like together after marriage or alternate story lines leading up to a marriage together.
    I would like a book about Robert Ferrars and Lucy Steele. I imagined their lives as being quite miserable, at least, I always hoped it would be.

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  14. I would love to win a copy of “A Wife for Mr. Darcy”! I am most intrigued by the “what if” books. What if Darcy hadn’t hurt Lizzy’s feelings at their first meeting? Would their love have found time to grow? Or would he have been blandly pleasant, danced one dance with every girl at the ball and gone home a few days later without stirring up more than a few mothers’ hopes? What if they’d fallen in love at first sight? (pretty short book). Sometimes, I wonder, what if Lizzy’s family had been less obnoxious? Would Darcy have even noticed her then? These are questions I’d love to get to the bottom of! :D

    Julie

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  15. It seems most of us can’t help but tinker with possible change-ups to Austen’s novels. I love “what ifs” as well. To date, I have only written Persuasion and P&P re-imaginings. I think b/c Catherine Morland is so young that someone closer to her in age should right a “what-if.” I think a modern retelling would be fascinating.

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  16. I love reading the P&P variations! I love to have Darcy’s point of view, to know what he is thinking and feeling. I would love to read a “what if” about Emma. Emma is my favorite Austen novel and I would love to read more about her and Mr Knightley!!

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  17. I’m from Argentina so it’s a pity that the giveaway is only for the US and Canada. But anyway, I would like Mary to write about Catherine Morland and a real ghost haunting Northanger Abbey.

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    • Sorry Patricia. Sourcebooks limits entries to the US and Canada. However, on July 5, I am having my launch on Austen Authors, and that giveaway is open to everyone. Please stop by.

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  18. I love that humility is what Darcy embraces once he sees his errors through Elizabeth’s refusal of the 1st proposal. He begins to make changes without having any idea of how or when he might see her again. I love that Elizabeth embraces humility, too, when letting his letter percolate her consciousness over the ensuing months. She, too, has no idea that she’ll see him again. Humility gets a bad rap in general but I think it is the agent that brings our hero and heroine together. I have appreciated Jane Austen’s writing for over 15 years now and I read almost all of the fanfiction and just cannot get enough of Darcy and Lizzy!

    I ordered this book as soon as I heard of it so please exempt me from the give-away so that another can enjoy this book!

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  19. Mary, I love the fact that you relate to the Bennet sisters and Elizabeth is a favorite of yours. Elizabeth Bennet is definitely a favorite character of mine and next to her is Darcy…imagine that!
    I am such a P&P fan and love the period variations the most. Thank you for a fascinating post.

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  20. Oh my! What thought-provoking posts. Sandy, as always, my thanks. You are wonderful. Karen, I love your statement that Elizabeth allowed Darcy’s “letter to percolate through her consciousness.” Yes, and it did the trick and both were humbled by it. Emma and Knightley are a puzzling couple to me. I would love to have someone explore their marriage–someone who likes Emma a little bit more than I do. Julie, that’s an interesting question. If Mrs. Bennet was less obnoxious would Darcy have noticed our Lizzy. I think so, but it gets you thinking.

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  21. Catherine, I wrote a short story, Elinor & Edward’s Plans for Lucy Steele. It’s on Amazon for .99. It’s a parody, but Lucy’s true nature is even more on display. I always wondered about Robert and Lucy. Did they marry in haste and regret at leisure? Good question. Faith, I did write a parody of Persuasion, Anne Elliot, A New Beginning–the most fun I have had writing a novel. Anne’s a long-distance runner. Jennrenee, I read NA in my 20s and 50s. It was a whole different story for me the second time around. Sue Ann, Good to hear from you. I know of your love for D&E. MichChick, Thank you for the compliment. Early on, I wrote with Lizzy in my head b/c I wanted to be like her, but Darcy is the more intriguing character. I have tried to get in his head in my later books and novellas. Felicia, I think Susan Kaye wrote about Frederick and Anne after they married. Being someone who has motion sickness, I can’t imagine a life aboard ship.

    Thank you so much for your wonderful responses. This is fun!

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  22. I have always loved Elizabeth Bennet’s character, and find her very inspirational! :-) I am very much looking forward to reading A Wife for Mr. Darcy!

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  23. thank you so much for visiting & for the giveaway, Mary!!!
    congrats & good luck on A Wife for Mr Darcy!!!!

    i’m just amazed at how you & the other ‘P&P-authors’ come up w/your own ideas to continue or write your own variations……

    just keep on writing!!!!

    cyn209(AT)juno(DOT)com

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  24. The book looks great! I think like most Austen I just want MORE! If Mary Simonsen’s novel can put the characters in different situations and still have them remain true to their personalities then it will be a big hit!
    lynnaep(at)aol(dot)com

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  25. I knew about P&P sequels (in fact I’ve written one!), but the alternate track inspirations are pretty new to me, a fascinating fresh take on the story we know and love so well. The moment I always wonder about is when Elizabeth tries to warn her father about “the very great disadvantage to us all”…”that has already arisen” from Lydia’s wild behavior. “What if” instead of speaking of “general evils,” she had told him plainly that Jane lost Bingley because of the indecorous behavior of her family members. Would Mr. Bennet have then followed Elizabeth’s advice and kept Lydia from going to Brighton, thus preventing the disasterous elopment with Wickham?

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  26. I just wanted to say congratulations on the launch of your new book! It is on my TBR list, but I have won a few books lately and will leave my name out of the drawing so someone else can win. Best wishes for success with A Wife for Mr. Darcy!

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  27. I cannot read enough Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy stories — I love these characters. Stories about Mr. Darcy’s inner thoughts and feelings are particularly of interest to me. Elizabeth is intriguing because she is so unlike the females of her time who marry the first man who asks; she believes in love and happiness. She is so refreshing!

    Mary, thanks for writing a book about my all time favorite characters! Congratulations!

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  28. I like the what-if variations as much as, or more than the sequels, knowing the original story as well as we do, it’s so much fun to wonder what-if, and the variations that are being written are such a fun and intriguing way to let our imaginations come to fruition…please continue writing, and I for one will continue to read read read!

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  29. Patricia had difficulty posting a comment, and so she e-mailed it to me:

    I would llike you to write about Catherine Morland and a real ghost haunting Northanger Abbey. Well…. It’s just an idea.

    Patricia, That’s an excellent idea. I’m getting the distinct impression that people are ready for variations other than P&P.

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  30. I think this has been one of the most interesting discussions I’ve seen – and I read a LOT Austen blogs, hahaha.

    Julie

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  31. One of the most intriguing things for me about reading Pride & Prejudice sequels/fanfiction is that things can change. Don’t get me wrong at all, I love Austen’s work and wouldn’t change a thing about it, but one cannot help but ask “What Ifs” a few times and sequels allow those What Ifs to be answered.

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  32. I guess what intrigues me most about reading a Pride and Prejudice-inspired what-if novel is the potential for change, of new explorations of the characters we all know and love so well. I mean, there are some truly abysmal ones but what keeps me coming back is that chance of reading something truly creative and amazing.

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  33. What I enjoy so much about Austen what-ifs is the chance to further examine the characters’ personalities. I have my own ideas about what makes them tick and how they would react to altered events, but it’s interesting to see other people’s interpretations. I’m especially interested in how authors dissect Darcy and what motivations they assign for his actions early in the story.

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  34. I never tire of the Darcy/Elizabeth ‘what if’s’. There is something exciting about taking these two in other directions to the same outcome. However, there is another character that has a special place in my heart…Colonel Fitzwilliam! He has so much potential. I love to find the twists that develope his character.

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    • Becky, have your read Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge by J. Marie Croft? I am almost finished with it and love it. Croft gives Colonel Fitzwilliam a pretty big part and a different love match than I have ever read or would have expected. I have laughed out loud so many times while reading that book! My husband just looks at me, smiles, and rolls his eyes! ;)

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      • Jakki, I read it about a month ago! Definatley have to be in the mood for pun filled humor and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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  35. This is my first post/comment, though I’ve been a lurker for years. This is a wonderful site and I enjoy reading about all the JA books out there…and I can’t wait to read this one. I love the possibilities that JA sequels offer. While it’s impossible to pick a favorite, I love Capt. Wentworth, but also love Mr. Knightley and Col. Fitzwilliam.

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  36. I love Mary’s books. I would enjoy something with Henry Tilney. There are very few out there that surround Northanger Abbey. Let’s give her a challenge.

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  37. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite of her novels. In fact it is my favorite novel and so I guess I am always intrigued by the what if’s because I love all of the characters and their stories. thanks so much for the giveaway!

    Margaret

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  38. I cannot wait for this book!! It sounds so delightful…… lets see. I would love to read a what if story about Pride & Prejudice (since it is my fav Austen book <3) where maybe the Bennet's weren't as crazy like, what if the Bennet's were a normal family with good connections and possibly decent money?? Maybe Mr. Darcy wouldn't have been so against Lizzie and maybe Mr. Bingley would have gone after Jane much more quickly :) who knows??

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  39. I always liked the what-if scenarios because they give the chance to see a different author’s perspective of the story.

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  40. I’m still waiting for someone to write about Fanny Price with spunk, or Catherine (from Northanger Abbey)–both very interesting characters!!

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  41. Thank you and thank you again for your comments. I’ve been on vacation, but I’ve been checking in and reading all your suggestions for future Austen re-imaginings. :)

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  42. I love trying new twists on the same plot to try to understand their characters and motives behind their actions. I think getting into Capt. Wentworth and Anne’s relationship would be interesting–the after they come together part.

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  43. I’m another fan of Austen-inspired books. Although I’d really like to see something continuing for the characters in Persuasion (mainly because the book is so short since she didn’t live long enough to revise it), I think that I’d rather see something continuing for the characters in Sense and Sensibility. The characters are so diverse and are following such different paths that it would be hard to weave a new story with all of them, but I think that Mary is up to the challenge.

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  44. Bloggin BB, I’m afraid I don’t do sequels. All my books are about “the chase.” Once the couple is together, I get bored. I don’t like angst in the married lives of my couples, and happily ever after is dull. But there are authors out there who can pull it off, Susan Kaye for example.

    Jocelyn, Thank you for the compliment. I couldn’t do S&S. I find the pairings troubling. I would have Elinor with Col. Brandon–at least Brandon is a solid character. I think Edward messed her about.

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  45. I would love to read an Emma-inspired novel. Most novels involving Emma tend to focus on Jane Fairfax. I would like to read one that focuses on Emma and her relationship with Mr. Knightley.

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  46. There are so many P&P-inspired books to read, I am amazed by all the variations. This one sounds very intriguing as well. I also really like the character of Elizabeth Bennet. Would also like to see more books inspired by characters in Emma and Sense and Sensibility.

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