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 story line. 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 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
© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose