Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe – A Review

Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (2013)From the desk of Lisa Galek:

There’s one thing that’s true about Janeites – we love a good romance. Whether it’s a couple exchanging glances nearly two hundred years ago or a modern guy and gal sharing their first kiss on the streets of London, there’s something so magical about experiencing the feeling of falling in love… even if we’re only reading about it. In her new novel, Project Darcy, Jane Odiwe combines love stories from the past and present to give us an interesting spin on the life of Jane Austen.

When Ellie Bentley agrees to volunteer for an archeological dig at the site of Jane Austen’s childhood home in Steventon Rectory, she’s looking forward to spending a nice summer with her four closest friends – Jess, Martha, Cara, and Liberty. But almost as soon as she arrives, Ellie starts to see strange things: a man who looks just like he could be the ghost of Mr. Darcy and visions of a romance that happened 200 years ago. As the days pass and Ellie learns more about the secrets of Steventon, she gets drawn deeper and deeper into the life and loves of Jane Austen.

Meanwhile, the five friends are finding that their lives are playing out just like one of Austen’s romances. A handsome Oxford student named Charlie Harden has his eye on Jess, while Ellie is convinced that his friend, Henry Dorsey, is the most arrogant man who ever lived. Cara and Liberty are busy flirting with anyone and everyone in their path – even Greg Whitely, a gorgeous TV star who might not be as charming as he seems. Could the visions that Ellie keeps seeing hold the key to figuring out all their modern-day romantic entanglements?

Project Darcy is a bit of a literary mash-up. It’s a part modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and part Austen-inspired magical realism. Not only is Ellie on a journey to find her own Mr. Darcy, but she also has the ability to see into important moments from Jane Austen’s past. While this idea is really interesting and has a lot of potential, in the end, the book sometimes struggled to bring the two stories together. Continue reading

Project Darcy Book Launch & Blog Tour with Author Jane Odiwe & Giveaways!

Project Darcy, by Jane Odiwe (2013)Fall is always a peak season for great novels in publishing so I am happy to host the virtual book launch party of Project Darcy, by popular Austenesque novelist Jane Odiwe. In celebration Jane has kindly shared an exclusive excerpt of her new novel with our readers.

Please enter a chance to win one of two gift packs available, including a copy of the book, prints of Jane’s wonderfully enchanting artwork and note cards, by leaving a comment below this post. Details for the giveaway are listed at the bottom. Good luck to all! 

Welcome Jane…

Laurel Ann, I am so excited to be here as a guest to launch my new book, Project Darcy – thank you so much for inviting me to celebrate today and share an exclusive excerpt!

The 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice has been a special year for Jane Austen’s wonderful book, and I couldn’t let it go by without celebrating it myself with a new novel!

Five friends who have recently finished university, volunteer for an archaeological dig at Jane Austen’s childhood home in Steventon, Hampshire. Ellie, Jess, Martha, Cara and Liberty, are all excited to go on the trip for very individual reasons – Ellie is an illustrator and loves painting landscapes, Jess is obsessed with Jane Austen’s books, Martha is keen to indulge her interest in archaeology, and Cara and Liberty can think of nothing but the guys they might meet and the possibility of starring in the documentary that’s going to be made. Continue reading

Breaking News: Tornado Tom Lefroy Hits Austenland

Image of miniature portrait of Tom Lefroy, (1798)“At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy … My tears flow as I write at the melancholy idea” Jane Austen Letter to Cassandra Austen, 16 January 1796, The Letters of Jane Austen

My Dear Miss Austen,  

Our tears flow too dear Jane. A tornado has hit the gentle shores of your Austenland, and it’s not a pretty sight. We would be remiss if we did not mention that they are at it again; – the ladies and gentleman of the press; – yes – they are claiming that your youthful flirtation with Tom Lefroy inspired you to create your character Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice! Sigh. 

It appears that the day has not yet come on which the press is to flirt thier last with Tom Lefroy. Just when we thought that the brouhaha created by last year’s wobbly bio-pic of your youth, Becoming Jane, had settled down a bit, the present owners of a miniature portrait of your ‘puppy love’ Mr. Lefroy have offered it for sale at the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair, June 12th to 18th, in London. The online news agencies have been aflutter with the news my dear Jane, and I fear the gossip is less than kind. 

  • THE real-life inspiration for TV sexbomb Mr Darcy has been revealed – as a skinny GEEK, The Sun
  • Austen’s Real-life Mr. Darcy a Frail Wimp, NineMSN
  • Jane Austen’s real Mr. Darcy had Girlish Looks, The Telegraph 
  • The Real Mr. Darcy is no Colin Firth, UPI Entertainment News

Some poor misguide souls have even gone so far as to claim that Mr. Lefroy looks like a “skinny geek“, “a pale wimp“, “limp lettuce“, “and a wispy-haired girlie, who looks so delicate that he might even weigh less than Elizabeth Bennet.”

Continue reading

Melancholy idea

Portrait of Tom Lefroy, circa 1800MELANCHOLY

At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow as I write at the melancholy idea. Wm. Chute called here yesterday. I wonder what he means by being so civil. There is a report that Tom is going to be married to a Lichfield lass. Letter to Cassandra Austen, 16 January 1796, The Letters of Jane Austen

With this year’s release of the major motion picture Becoming Jane, Jane Austen’s love life, or more specifically the love life that others might wish that she had, has brought her relationship with her suitor Tom Lefroy under very close scrutiny. And so, I am touched by this passage in a letter to her sister Cassandra during Austen and Lefroy’s brief time together in Hampshire. She has received a rumor of his impending marriage, and with suspicious brevity, states that she will flirt with him no more. Is she protecting herself, letting go or being sarcastic?

The movie screenplay was based on the biography by Jon Spence, Becoming Jane Austen, and even though Mr. Spence presented new evidence to support his claim of a deeper involvement between Jane Austen and Tom Lefroy, the movie producers chose to push the story from what had been historically believed as a serious flirtation into a romantic dalliance. Lately, much has been discussed of the truth behind the romance, and this passage in the letter eludes to her deep regret at the loss of the possibility. Unfortunately, from the details in surviving letters and family stories, we may never know the complete truth.

If you are curious about the possible romance between Tom Lefroy and Jane Austen, you can purchase the DVD of Becoming Jane which will be available in the US on 12 February 2008. The screenplay is a hopeful and fanciful notion, and one which I view as a melancholy idea.

*Portrait of Thomas (Tom) Langlois Lefroy (1776-1869) circa 1800