Austenesque, Book Reviews, Regency Era

When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review

When they Fall in Love, by Mary Simonen (2013) From the desk of Kimberly Denny Ryder

When I found out that Mary Lydon Simonsen was writing a Pride and Prejudice inspired book that took place in Italy I was so excited! Ever since I was able to travel to Italy two years ago I’ve loved it more and more and I can’t wait to go back. Now, reading about the combination of my two favorite literary characters with Florence was enough to make me want to go out and buy the book ASAP, and that’s exactly what I did once it came out! So, without further ado, let’s travel to Italy.

We all remember Mr. Darcy’s failed proposal to Elizabeth Bennet at the Hunsford Parsonage. When They Fall in Love picks up several years later, with much occurring in the interim, including Darcy marrying another woman, fathering a child, and becoming a widower. Now, he plans to live in a villa in the hills above Florence, Italy with his daughter, who is now six. He invites his friend Charles Bingley and his wife Jane, who now have a daughter, as well as Elizabeth, who acts as the governess for her niece. Although much has happened in the intervening years after Darcy’s failed proposal to Elizabeth, she is unsure if his love for her has withstood this test of time. Her own feelings towards him have grown tremendously, but she is apprehensive as to whether or not he reciprocates these feelings. What will become of their meeting against the beautiful backdrop of Italy? Continue reading “When They Fall in Love: Darcy and Elizabeth in Italy, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review”

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Novella or Short Story, Persuasion Sequels

Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea: A Re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review

Captain Wentworth: Home from the Sea, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (2011)From the desk of Lucy Warriner: 

If your lost love returned with no recollection of the dispute that separated you, how would you react? If you had a second chance at happiness with him, would you divulge your tumultuous past? Anne Elliot faces these questions in Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea, Mary Lydon Simonsen’s new “what-if” retelling of Persuasion.

When the straitened Sir Walter Elliot lets Kellynch Hall to the Crofts, Frederick Wentworth joins his sister and brother-in-law at the estate. Sophia and Admiral Croft are helping Frederick recover from a head injury that destroyed his memory and compelled his retirement from the navy. In the absence of the housekeeper, Anne agrees to remain at Kellynch for a week after her family’s departure. Though certain that Frederick does not remember her ending their engagement Continue reading “Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea: A Re-imagining of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, by Mary Lydon Simonsen – A Review”

Austenesque, Blog Tours, Giveaways, Guest Blog, Historical Fantasy, Paranormal & Gothic Fiction, Regency Era

Mr. Darcy’s Bite Blog Tour with author Mary Simonsen, & Giveaway

Mr Darcy's Bite, by Mary Simonsen (2011)Halloween season is upon us, and that includes paranormal novels arriving to get us in the mood for the spooky holiday. Please join us today in welcoming author Mary Simonsen on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Mr. Darcy’s Bite a new paranormal Pride and Prejudice-inspired story published on October 1, 2011, by Sourcebooks. Mary has kindly shared her insights into her inspiration and research for our readers.

Hi Laurel Ann. It’s always good to be back on Austenprose, but today is especially significant. Not only do I have a new release, Mr. Darcy’s Bite, but today is my birthday. It’s one of those big ones that end in a zero. I won’t say how old I am, but I’m reading Social Security brochures.

I thought I might begin by sharing an excerpt from the prologue of Mr. Darcy’s Bite: The story opens with fourteen-year-old Darcy being bitten by a wolf in the Black Forest:

William retreated, but from a distance, the wolf followed him. With his heart pounding in his chest, he finally reached the road and could see the men working on the carriage. Before going in search of his father, he took one last look down the road and saw the wolf standing in plain view. Because of the full moon, the road was lit up as if it were daytime, leaving the female lupine completely exposed. Without thinking, William waved to her, and it was only then that she returned to the woods. The only conclusion he could draw was that she had wanted to make sure he was safe. But what kind of wolf did that?

You asked me to write about my inspiration for penning a werewolf novel. I had two motivations. The first was that I wanted to write a short story for Halloween for a fanfiction site where I posted most of my stories, and it was appropriately titled “Mr. Darcy on the Eve of All Saints Day.” But the response was so great that I just kept writing. Before I knew it, my short story had become a full-length novel. It shows what a little encouragement can do.

My second motivation was to respond to another Darcy werewolf story. Although I applauded the author for creating a dark atmosphere, her Darcy and Elizabeth were not mine. In the first place, Darcy did not tell Elizabeth he was a werewolf before marrying her, and because of the threat of exposure, he had separated his bride from her family by bringing Elizabeth to a castle far, far away from Longbourn. In my mind, Darcy would not have done either of those things. So with a sword (actually computer) in hand, I set about righting the wrong. Continue reading “Mr. Darcy’s Bite Blog Tour with author Mary Simonsen, & Giveaway”

Austenesque, Book Previews, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

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.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A GENTLEMAN should always render an APOLOGY

When Mr. Darcy realizes he insulted Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, he feels duty bound to seek her out and apologize…

When he has INSULTED a LADY

But instead of meekly accepting his apology, Elizabeth stands up to him, and Darcy realizes with a shock that she is a very different type of lady than he is used to…

Darcy is more intrigued than he’s ever been by any young lady, but he’s already entangled in a courtship. It’s a brutal predicament for a man of honor who only longs to follow his heart…

GUEST BLOG

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.

ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “Another superior Jane Austen homage…will entertain those who already know their Austen and Georgette Heyer by heart, as well as fans of old-fashioned romance.”– Publishers Weekly

AUTHOR BIO

Author Mary Simonsen (2011)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.

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

Cover image, book description, gest blog, & author bio courtesy of Sourcebooks © 2011; text Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Jane Austen Sequels

Pemberley Remembered, by Mary Simonsen – A Review

Pemberley Remembered, by Mary Lydon Simonsen (2007)When I read the advance publicity on Pemberley Remembered, author Mary Lydon Simonsen’s debut novel about love, war and Pride and Prejudice, I was intrigued by the concept of three different romantic storylines interconnected through one hundred and fifty years of English history. Add to that a mystery involving the inspiration of Austen’s famous characters Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, and you have my complete attention. This concept was definitely a new slant on the Pride and Prejudice sequel merry-go-round and I was motivated to find out if she could pull it off.

Simonsen gives us a likeable heroine in Maggie Joyce, a 22 year old American working for the Army Exchange Service in post World War II London. A devoted fan of Pride and Prejudice, Maggie is intrigued by her roommate’s teasing remarks that Austen’s characters of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet where based on real people who lived at an estate near her family’s village in Derbyshire. They set off for a week-end to explore Montclair, the palatial estate once occupied by William Lacey and Elizabeth Garrison, the reputed Darcy doppelgangers. The estate seems to fit the description of Pemberley, the Darcy manor in Pride and Prejudice, but curious Continue reading “Pemberley Remembered, by Mary Simonsen – A Review”