Oops, I’m at it again.
I’m Christina Boyd, the editor of The Darcy Monologues, and I am thrilled to finally announce that my next anthology project, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues, is well underway. My team and I thank you for helping us launch the news to the Jane Austen community.
Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with any number of unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched out to the reader. Have you never wondered about the back story of her rakes and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there’s more than one side to their stories.
I have always been drawn to characters that are not simply one dimensional. Through first person point-of-view, Philippa Gregory masterfully created empathy in her Plantagenet and Tudor novels: one novel I would find myself championing a queen and in the very next, she had become the villain! Author Laura Hile skillfully penned nobody’s favorite, Elizabeth Elliot from Persuasion in her Mercy’s Embrace series, and turned her into a true heroine we all might sympathize, all the while remaining faithful to the seemingly superficial and vain snob Jane Austen created. Even my own anthology The Darcy Monologues gave voice to the previously concealed wit and charm of the proud, brooding, and officious Mr. Darcy, allowing us some quality time in his handsome head.
After publishing The Darcy Monologues in May 2017, murmurings began about another project. Maybe from Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s point-of-view? With a surfeit of quality Jane Austen fanfiction recounting Lizzy’s story, I thought it might be a more titillating challenge to expose the histories of Jane Austen’s anti-heroes. It is a universal truth, despite our wisdom, we are captivated by smoldering looks, dangerous charms … a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. Alas, some of us fall for the one that needs to be mended. All the while, our BFFs are shouting to deaf ears, “He is a cad! He is a brute! He is all wrong!” But isn’t that how tender hearts are broken…by giving credit to the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen wrote? The challenge was just too delicious to not undertake.
Once again, a Dream Team of authors were approached to join this project. Titles were bandied about: everything from “Consequently a Rogue” taken from the Jonathon Swift quote “He was a fiddler and consequently a rogue” to “Rakes and Rogues” to “Jane Austen’s Gentlemen Rogues”. “Mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” the very phrase used by Lady Caroline Lamb to describe Lord Byron, married the previous suggestions and—voila! A title was born.
As an editor, I have been extremely fortunate to work with some incomparable authors in the past. This project is a testament to my providence. It has been a pleasure to have several authors from The Darcy Monologues anthology including Karen M Cox, J. Marie Croft, Jenetta James, Beau North, Sophia Rose, and Joana Starnes join Amy D’Orazio, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Katie Oliver, and Brooke West on creating this current collection of stories. The intent: create short stories, each told from one of Austen’s male antagonists’ eyes—a backstory and, or parallel story from off-stage of canon—all the while remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s masterpieces. As in The Darcy Monologues, these authors certainly can turn up the heat with but the turn of a phrase!
Here are a few quick lines from a sampling of the authors to whet your appetite:
We arranged to fight our duel at that place where all the most elegant duels were fought: the secluded gardens near the Circus, accessed by the Gravel Walk; naturally, the occasion was to be held at dawn. I had been in my chair, subject to the shavings and combings and clippings of old Morley until at last, I cried out, “’Tis enough man! I am not gone to my wedding day!”
Morley frowned at me, his dark eyes sharp with disapproval. “Your wedding day? That is not a day I shall likely live to see so I must keep at my art on these, more common, events.”—Captain Frederick Tilney, For Mischief’s Sake, Amy D’Orazio
I smiled drowsily as she caressed my chest. “I love you, Clémence.”
Her fingers stilled as I closed my eyes in pleasurable exhaustion and drifted towards sleep.
She did not reply. —Mr. George Wickham, A Wicked Game, Katie Oliver
Yes, fellows, since you press me so hard, yes, I confess it: Cupid’s darts have winged me. If you must have the story, pass me that bottle first. I can lift it with my left hand without paining my collarbone excessively. Now, you may not like what you are about to hear. You think lightning will never strike you. But let me tell you, last year on Basingstoke Down, I was neither looking to fall in love, nor looking for someone to fall in love with me, when all unawares—but stay, I must go further back… —Mr. Tom Bertram, The Address of Frenchwoman, Lona Manning
What say you? Are you in? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy…even temporarily…but heaven help us if we marry one. Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes and Gentlemen Rogues will be released mid-November and is listed at Goodreads so you might add to your “Want to Read” list.
To help us celebrate this project, we have prizes! One international Grand Prize via rafflecopter link.
One print copy or ebook of Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues (when published), a print or ebook of The Darcy Monologues, one set of Jane Austen Playing Cards, one 16 oz. PEMBERLEY drinking glass, and Accoutrements Jane Austen novelty tattoos. Got to play to win! If you “lose the game, it shall not be for not striving for it.”
—Christina Boyd, @xtnaboyd of The Quill Ink