Today I’m very happy to receive for the first time in From Pemberley to Milton author Pamela Lynne. I’ve heard so much about her and her books, but unfortunately haven’t read any of them yet. I have heard wonders about Sketching Character and I have it on my TBR pile for months! Now she has released Family Portraits which is a continuation of Dearest Friends and I found myself with another book on the must read list.
I hope you enjoy Pamela Lynne’s post today, and I promise to read one of her books very, very soon to review it and share my thoughts with you 🙂
Until then, I would like to thank Mrs. Lynne’s for her visit to From Pemberley to Milton, it is a huge pleasure to receive you here 🙂
The Strength of Supporting Characters
Thank you so much, Rita, for hosting me here at From Pemberley to Milton. This is my first visit to your lovely blog, and I am so excited to share a couple of my favorite people with you today.
I first found JAFF and the world of Austenesque literature a little more than four years ago. For months, I devoured every book I could find before I started jotting down ideas for what would become Dearest Friends on a notepad I kept by the bed. I still have those pages. I came across them recently when I was cleaning out my abandoned crafts cabinet. As I read over them, I noticed that, other than Darcy and Elizabeth’s initial meeting, all my early notes were about the side characters—those who would support D&E on their journey to happily ever after.
One of the reasons we all love JAFF, I believe, is that we have an instant emotional connection to the main characters. We love Darcy and Elizabeth, and we cannot get enough. For an author, that is both a blessing and a curse. Having that connection is vital to the success of any novel, but it also means we have a lot to live up to. We all have our own preconceived notions about Canon and who Darcy and Elizabeth are and how they should behave. Changes to the personalities or behaviors of ODC can be a hard sell and doing too much can be detrimental to the book’s success.
I believe a strong creative power we JAFF authors have at our disposal is the freedom to tweak Austen’s supporting characters. As many of you already know, I took a great deal of liberty with some characters in Dearest Friends, namely Mr. Bennet and Jane. We see enough of them in Canon, I believe, to justify any prejudices we have against them or any love we have for them. The same cannot be said for Anne de Bourg and Mary Bennet. We see so little of them, and what we do see is not always positive. But, surely, there’s more to explore there. In both Dearest Friends and Family Portraits these two women, who were relegated to the background in Pride and Prejudice, had a chance to shine.
“Are you well, Anne?”
Mary sat next to her friend, who had removed herself from the party to rest in the shade of a tree, watching the men and children race on the lawn.
“Of course I am. I am always well.”
Mary said nothing, only placed her hands in her lap and waited. Eventually, she heard her companion sigh.
“I am tired. I should not have stayed out as long as I did yesterday morning.”
“Why did you?”
“Because it was a lovely day, and I was with my favorite people. The journey here was difficult, and I did not give myself time to recover. I was too excited to see everyone.”
“I will not admonish you, though I am not sure your husband will do the same. Was your fatigue the reason you kept provoking him yesterday?”
Anne smiled. “That was mostly for fun. I did not want him to see my fatigue. Of course, there was no keeping it from him last night, and he forbade me from coming today.”
Anne rolled her eyes and Mary laughed. “You will rest more, though?”
“I will. When we return to Darcy’s today, I will keep to my rooms.” She paused for a moment, watching Richard swing their daughter around by her arms. “Look at them. Thank God Richard is able to help her expel some of her vigor. She has so much of it. I worry, Mary, as she comes up around such strength and vivacity, she will see me as weak, different. I would not want her to resent me for the things I cannot do.”
“You cannot think that way, Anne. You will make yourself miserable dwelling on the things you cannot change. Marianne will see you thriving in the ways you can and will love you because you love her.”
Anne smiled. “I know this. It is just hard to see it when I have days similar to this. Shall we speak of more pleasant things?”
“What do you wish to talk about?”
“Hmm. How about how very pretty you look.”
Mary rolled her eyes.
“I am serious. At Christmas, it felt as if I hardly knew you. You were so altered. Now, you seem like Mary again.”
“I do admit that for a brief moment yesterday, I felt more like myself than I have in quite some time.”
“What is the difference from then to now?”
Mary did not answer, not wanting the conversation to turn too serious. Anne would not let it be, however.
“You should allow him to kiss you.”
“Mary, you will not give voice to it, so I will. You are more like yourself because the man who loves you is here. Why do you wish to fight that?”
“I do not do it on purpose, Anne. I wish I could just brush aside everything I am feeling, but I cannot.”
“I am sorry, Mary. I do not wish to upset you. You said you felt like yourself yesterday. What was happening?”
“He was holding my hand.”
Anne sighed. “Imagine how much better you would feel if you kissed him!”
“You are impossible!”
Mary’s composure cracked as Anne made kissing noises, and they both collapsed into a fit of giggles.
It makes perfect sense to me that these two should be friends. In Canon, they are miles apart and never meet. In the what-if, however, they become strong characters who are far more than their wallflower status. I hope you agree with me. Who are your favorite supporting characters? Are there any you feel and underutilized in JAFF. I’d love to hear what you think!
***It’s giveaway time***
Follow Pamela Lynne’s advice and tell us who your favorite supporting characters are. Tell us why you like one character, or why you dislike another. You can also share your thoughts on this post because all comments will entitle you for the giveaway of one e-book that Mrs. Lynne would like to offer to one lucky reader.
The giveaway is international and is open until the 3rd of October.
Good luck everyone!
And don’t forget to follow the blog tour for more information on this book: