A Preview of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen by Sally Smith O’Rourke

From the desk of Laurel Ann Nattress:

Please help me welcome Austenesque author Sally Smith O’Rourke during her blog tour for her new novel, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, a sequel to her popular The Man Who Loved Jane Austen (2009). A time-travel novel from present day Virginia to 1813 Chawton, England, Sally broaches the eternal question: was Mr. Darcy based on a real character in Jane Austen’s life or from her fertile imagination?

Welcome Sally.


An English friend told me after reading The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, that it was the first time he had ever thought of Austen as a real person. To him she was an icon who was not particularly interesting. I think Jane’s sister Cassandra’s attempts to create a perfect personification by editing and destroying her personal correspondence really did her sister a disservice when she was such a wonderful, inventive and interesting individual.

I’ve often wondered if Cassandra’s zeal in protecting Jane’s memory included the destruction of journals. Here was a woman who wrote regularly, thousands of letters (although only 160 remain), a history, poems, prayers; she even wrote sermons for James, her eldest brother. How was it possible that she kept no diary or journal of any kind? A question, I’m afraid, that will never be answered.

At one time I thought it would be fun to create a journal, ostensibly written by Austen. A chronicle of the five days Fitzwilliam Darcy spent in Hampshire the spring of 1810. After several false starts and an overwhelming feeling of pretention (who was I pretending to be Jane Austen?) I opted instead to write the sequel to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. Here is the backstory:

Researching a letter she found from Jane Austen to Fitzwilliam Darcy takes Manhattan artist Eliza Knight to a centuries old Virginia estate, Pemberley Farms. There she meets Fitz Darcy, his tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that he is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight?

Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen takes place for Jane during the summer of 1813 after the successful publication of Pride and Prejudice. For Darcy it is the week following his heritage Rose Ball in present day Virginia.

While Eliza and Fitz’s relationship starts to blossom things begin to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Eliza and Fitz or the tie that binds them?


Author Sally Smith O'Rourke (2012)“Where shall I begin?Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?” (J.A. June 15, 1808)

That I reside in a Victorian village; a mere two miles from my place of employment. A local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.

That I am a native Californian, and spent most of my life in and around Southern California with a relatively short span of years in Nevada where I attended school.

That I was widowed some time ago. That I have very domestic hobbies like sewing, cooking, baking, candy making and cake decorating. Oh, yeah I write, too. Mike, my late husband and teacher, taught me that writing has to be treated like a job so every day no matter how tired I am I edit, research one or more projects and write.

That I am working on a new book; a story of reincarnation that takes place in Pasadena, CA and am making notes for a ghost story set in San Francisco. Two stories running around in my head and often colliding but I untangle the debris and continue on.

There you have a few of my nothings.

Visit Sally at her blog Sally Smith O’Rourke Author; websites Austenticity and Austen Authors; on Facebook as Sally Smith O’Rourke; and on Twitter as @Chawton1810.


Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why! His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight? Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?


  • Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, by Sally Smith O’Rourke
  • Victorian Essence Press (November 6, 2012)
  • Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook (261) pages
  • ISBN: 978-1891437052
  • Genre: Austenesque, Historical Paranormal 


Cover image courtesy of Victorian Essence Press © 2012; text Laurel Ann Nattress & Sally Smith O’Rourke © 2012, austenprose.com. Austenprose is an Amazon affiliate. Updated 23 September 2022. 

29 thoughts on “A Preview of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen by Sally Smith O’Rourke

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  1. I believe Darcy was a creation her imagination. I can’t imagine she ever met a person of such stature in her rather sheltered life. Come to think of it, “I” have never met such a man in my rather unsheltered life . . . . ;) Melinda borrell


  2. I think that Mr. Darcy came mostly from Jane’s imagination and that she may have been inspired by men she knew. She was very observant of the world around her so she must’ve see something she liked in someone that she used for Darcy.


  3. I believe Darcy might have been a composite of different men she may have met, not one in particular. However, the intensity of emotion that surrounds Darcy in Jane’s novel, makes me wonder if one of them inspired serious romantic feelings in her. There can be no doubt, at least in my mind, that she experienced such love as she writes of it, with what seems to be, strong, personal experience.


  4. I actually believe Mr. Darcy is a figment of her imagination. I actually believe if it was based on someone she knew, she would have been with that person (I hope).

    I love your book cover too!


  5. I believe she created Mr Darcy from her imagination based on the personalities she encounter with people throughout her life. She took a bit of their characteristics and infused it into her Darcy.


  6. I think Darcy was mostly an original character with traits that she compiled from many men, however I would guess that she had a picture of a live person in her head while she was writing and acting out her story in her mind. Just as I always cast the characters in the books I read, from people I know or actors I like.


  7. While I would love to believe that Jane had a secret love, I think it’s more likely that Mr. Darcy is from her creative and witty mind. I think he’s a composite of many people she met throughout her life, as well as her personification of the ideal man (along with Captain Wentworth, Mr. Knightley, etc.)

    Wonderful post, Sally. Thanks so much!


  8. I think he was based partially on a real person but probably also what on what type of man would have suited her.

    I can’t wait to read this. I recently read The Man Who Loved Jane Austen and LOVED it. Sally is a great writer, the story just flows seamlessly.


  9. I believe that after some disappointments (Bigg-Wither didn’t seem like that amazing a hero) she decided to write about what a true hero should be–the kind of man she, in fact, would like to marry but never met.


  10. Perhaps Mr. Darcy is an amalgamation of male characters she may have known, known about, or acquired through hear-say. Add to that her extraordinary imagination, talent for observing and interpreting human behavior, and you get a Fitwilliam Darcy: gentleman. Thank you for the kind offer and the book cover is simply DIVINE.


  11. I think Mr. Darcy is from Jane’s imagination, or perhaps a mix of many men she knew. He is too perfect (ultimately) to be true!


  12. Loved her first book! Can’t wait to read this latest offering. I do believe that Darcy was from a real person or maybe even a mash up of a couple gentleman. I am confident often authors might find their characters or parts of their personalities from real life.


  13. He may not be 100% based on someone Miss Austen knew but parts was due to imagination. I always belueve writer incorporate a little bit of who they knew in their characters.

    Thank you for giveaway oportunity!


  14. I believe he was real in the sense that he was an amalgamation of more than one man. Let’s face it, a man that perfect can’t really exist can he? :0)


  15. I think Darcy was based on someone she knew. I also loved the first book. Great read. I’m so glad you featured this.


  16. I think she created the character from her imagination. She may have drawn traits from various people she knew, but I don’t think he was a real person.


  17. I believe, like most of the above, that Mr. Darcy, was mostly a compilation of the men she admired the most, but added details such as money and a lovely estate that gained public interest as well as shyness/pride that many people misinterpreted, rightly or wrongly, as his “being above his company”. He really didn’t want to attend that ball at Meryton as we understand in the book, but he didn’t seem to know how to behave in such company. I like the comment he makes later in the book, about how he was raised with good principles but was left to, uhm, was it his leisure to figure out how to apply them? I believe he mentions conceit here. I’ve struggled for years to figure out what exactly this meant as he had such a high regard of his father and sought to imitate him in his management of Pemberely. I can imagine Jane Austen trying to figure out a man that she would so disdain and yet who would persist in finding her humor and intelligence intoxicating. He was used to the most “educated” and “accomplished” girls being pushed at him by Society’s Mamas and I’ll be that bored him to tears. Then, in the country, while spending time with friends, which then obligated him to spend time at a local assembly, he felt disinterested and set himself up for a boring evening. Upon seeing Elizabeth for the first time I think that he was still in that mindset that this’ll soon be over and I can then move on and pretend this never happened. But, then he kept encountering her at other gatherings in the neighborhood and found himself attracted to the woman who was not paying any mind to him. He seemed to find himself in places where he could listen to her and observe her and I think he just found that he couldn’t stop admiring her. I believe it was against his character, his principles, and etc. that he just couldn’t stop himself. Ah, to have such a love come into one’s life. Ecstasy! How could one resist that?

    Also, I read the first book and will totally read this one. I’ve had a financial reversal and would especially love to receive this as a prize. The cover is marvelous!


  18. I believe that Darcy came mostly from Jane Austen’s imagination, maybe with some bits and pieces of characteristics from people she knew or knew of.

    I really enjoyed The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, so I;m looking forward to reading this new book.



  19. Mr Darcy is based on real men that Jane Austen met as Jane Austen wrote of what she knew and then she added details from her own imagination. The result is fantastic. I think that Mr Darcy is protrayed as a wonderful man with good and not so good points and so like a real man that he is somone I can believe in as a character
    Thank you for this give away opportunity


  20. I LOVED The Man Who Loved Jane Austen & am really looking forward to reading the sequel so thanks for the giveaway. I think the character of Darcy was probably originally based on a real person but then was tweaked a bit.


  21. I feel that Darcy was a creation of Jane’s imagination plus gentlemen she encountered in her daily life. I’ve long had a fondness for Pride and Prejudice with Darcy being the one character of Jane Austen’s that has lead me to read just about every variation and continuation written. I enjoyed your book the Man Who Loved Jane Austen and look forward to reading Yours Affectionately. Thank you for this chance to win a book in your giveaway.


  22. I believe that Mr. Darcy came from Jane Austen’s imagination. There may have been someone who inspired him but most of his qualities, in my opinion were her creation. But it is fun to think that he was a real person! Thank you for this lovely giveaway!!=))


  23. Ah, Mr. Darcy…if only he could be real! I think Jane Austen imagined him, but picked a few traits from gentlemen of her acquaintance to mix together in her hero. But my opinion is he’s a well-imagined gentleman and a perfect foil for Elizabeth.


  24. I was doing research on my tree and was having trouble going through a cousin’s notes on the Gage line. Even if I’m not sure about the direction him and I went after Aaron Gage is correct, it was still interesting because I saw a Thomas Darcy that married an Elizabeth or Mary (maybe both) and he moved into Hornby castle. They had a daughter named Penelope who married a John Gage. living in the palace in Yorkshire England in the mid 1500s. The palace stayed in the Darcy family for two centuries. The last male heir was Robert Darcy who died in 1778. He was a diplomat and secretary of state and had one daughter, but no son and the Darcy line ended. I heard she based the personality on a friend, but wander if she borrowed the name (being out of use) and the description of the estate, but made the name up? Related or not, and right or not, it’s still fun to think about, but I can’t look at Colin Firth the same anymore.



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