Laura has written a trilogy to Jane Austen’s last novel Persuasion which continues the story of Elizabeth, Sir Walter Elliot’s eldest, unmarried daughter. Those of you who have read Persuasion or seen the great movie adaptations of it will remember that Elizabeth is quite condescending and spiteful to her younger sister Anne, and one wonders out loud why would we would want to read three novels inspired by such a unappealing character? Her faults are truly onerous, which, makes her story all the more intriguing. How will she be transformed, or will she?
Every Saturday this month we will offer a guest blog, book reviews & giveaways, elaborating on why this series is so popular with Jane Austen fan fiction lovers. Here is the schedule:
- May 05 – Introduction and Guest blog by Laura Hile
- May 12 – Review of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 1 – So Rough a Course
- May 19 – Review of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 2 – So Lively a Chase
- May 26 – Review of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 3 – The Lady Must Decide
Without further ado, welcome Laura:
Meet Jane Austen’s “Other Elizabeth”
Such a heroine I’ve chosen for my Austen novels! What can I say? I simply could not resist her.
Her name is Elizabeth, but she’s not from Pride and Prejudice. I’ve taken on none other than Anne Elliot’s awful elder sister from Persuasion. Yes, that Elizabeth. The woman most Austen readers frankly love to hate.
Now don’t go by what you’ve seen in the movie adaptations. Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Elliot is poised and graceful, and at twenty-nine is more beautiful than ever. She has exquisite taste, is sure of herself, and is fond of having her own way. She is also the eldest daughter of a very fine woman, which means she behaves badly but knows better.
In other words, she is me.
Well, except for the beautiful part. And the graceful part. And the always being able to get her way part. Thank the Lord I have never been pretty enough to get away with airing all of my fine opinions!
At the end of Persuasion Elizabeth Elliot is left in dismal straits, though she is too proud—and too stubborn! —to admit that. One way or another she must marry well, and so she begins to scheme. However, Miss Elliot is not as smart as she thinks, and that’s where the fun begins. She’s a scornful damsel in distress. What a delicious premise for a story!
And now I’ll share another sorry truth about myself. As a book-lover, I am a hopeless snoop. Oh, I’m too polite to listen at keyholes or peer through windows. But with a novel I don’t need to do those things! Everything’s laid out for my inquiring mind to devour: private conversations, innermost thoughts, and daring undertakings! All of the excitement of real life with none of the risks!
So perhaps the best way to introduce the “Other Elizabeth” is to allow you, my fellow book-lover, to snoop a bit. I present for your inspection a letter of Elizabeth’s. Can you discover what she’s about?
* * *
My Dear Mrs Darcy,
I wonder if I might solicit your advice regarding a mutual acquaintance, Miss Caroline Bingley. Having suffered disappointment in your novel, she must wander into mine!
And let me tell you, in Mercy’s Embrace Miss Bingley is making a thorough nuisance of herself. You viewed her as a rival (and I am heartily glad she was bested!) but I am seen as a social asset. Honestly, I do not know which is worse! What some people will do to advertise a connection with my family! Simply because my father is a baronet of ancient lineage, she must twitter and simper and hover round!
And when my odious cousin, William Elliot, returned to Bath, what must she do but set her sights on him! I know what she’s after—my late mother’s title as Lady Elliot! And she mistakenly assumes that intimacy with me will further her cause. Not only does she cling like a leech at public functions, but she insists on mauling my name, calling me Eliza, or worse, Lizzy. As if anyone but a fishwife would wish for that!
Miss Bingley must have rocks for brains, for she will not listen! I have told her, for example, that William Elliot has not yet inherited. It is most unwise to gamble on that, for so often the proper person does not die! And may I congratulate you, Mrs Darcy, for so wisely refusing Rev. Collins’ offer of marriage? I know all about marital desperation, but Longbourn was not his! It would have been madness to accept him!
As to my own affairs, you may have heard various tales. I would like to point out that though newly divorced, Mr Rushworth is in full possession of both the Sotherton Estate and its princely income. As to remarks about his person, why, I have confidence that he will improve. Besides, I am accustomed to managing a foolish gentleman. Have I not put up with my father for years? As to rumors that I have been meeting a clerk in a Bath tea shop, kindly disregard them. My father’s business affairs are again in a sad tangle, and this time I am handling things. I refuse to discuss business in a counting house! I suppose there are women who find Mr Gill attractive. I am not one of them.
But enough about me. If you would kindly reply, Mrs Darcy, listing any little thing that will irk Miss Bingley, I would be most grateful.
As a girl Laura Hile pored over Victorian novels on her grandmother’s shelves, smitten with stories from a bygone era. The wonder of Gothic Romance and Jane Austen’s Regency came next. But it was not until serialized Austen fiction became popular that Laura summoned her courage and began to post stories of her own. To keep readers interested, she developed what has become her signature style: intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor. The comedy she comes by naturally in her job as a middle school teacher—there’s never a dull moment at school! Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, the eldest and youngest of her three college-age sons, and a collection of antique clocks. Visit Laura at her website Mercy’s Embrace; at her blog Jane Started It; on Facebook as Laura Hile Author and Mercy’s Embrace; and follow her on Twitter as @LauraHile.
Grand Giveaway of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story
Enter a chance to win one of three (3) copies of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 1 – So Rough a Course, by Laura Hile, or one (1) full set of the trilogy which also includes Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 2 – So Lively a Chase and Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story Book 3 – The Lady Must Decide, by asking Laura a question about her series or by sharing your reaction to any of the three reviews posted during our month-long author event each Saturday in May. Entrants will qualify for a chance at the drawing of one (1) copy of book one, or one (1) each of the entire set. Both print editions and ebooks are available. Contest ends at 11:59 Wednesday May 30th, 2012. Winners announced on Thursday, May 31st, 2012. Shipment internationally. Good luck!
Just in time for Mother’s Day, Wytherngate Press is offering the full series of Mercy’s Embrace: Elizabeth Elliot’s Story at a discount through May. You can receive a 25% off the print edition at their online shop, or $2.00 off the ebook editions on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other etailers.
Many thanks to author Laura Hile for her wonderful guest blog introducing us to her heroine Elizabeth Elliot and for generous giveaways! Enjoy!
© 2007 – 2012 Laura Hile, Austenprose