Good Afternoon everyone,
I hope this week is starting well for all of you. Mine has been terrific, I know it’s only been one day and I probably should not jinx it but I’m finally back in the office, and it feels really good to be back to a routine and to see all my colleagues, well…some of them anyway 🙂
I am also very happy to start the week with Shannon Winslow visiting From Pemberley to Milton as she is an author I truly admire. In case you haven’t noticed, she has released a new book called Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words, and this retelling is not only a different POV story, but it also brings new characters and plot twists always under Mr. Darcy’s perspective, so I believe this is something you will all enjoy.
Now, I cannot ask you to read the excerpt we are sharing today without mentioning the cover. OMG, isn’t it beautiful!!! You know I am a sucker for covers, and this one is just terrific! I absolutely love it! Congratulations on such a beautiful cover and on this new release Shannon, and thank you so much for visiting us today 🙂
Thanks so much, Rita, for welcoming me to From Pemberley to Milton again to share a bit about my new novel: Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words!
This is the first time I’ve written a Pride and Prejudice book that completely overlaps the original, and so it presented an entirely new set of pleasures and challenges. The greatest pleasure was to experience my favorite story all over again, almost like for the first time, because it was through fresh eyes: Darcy’s. The new challenge was deciding how much and which bits of the original dialogue to include, and how precisely to quote it.
The excerpt I’ve chosen for you today is a good example. Although there’s no point in repeating everything in P&P word-for-word, we certainly can’t have Darcy’s first meeting with Elizabeth at the Meryton Assembly without the infamous “She is tolerable, I suppose” statement. So the question is, how much of the rest is essential?
Since Darcy is relating the story in His Own Words, it’s ultimately his decision! He shares the actions and snatches of dialogue he believes are important and necessary, along with his perceptions and thoughts at the time. Of course his perceptions of what’s going on are rather different from Elizabeth’s, which is kind of the point!
You can’t fully understand a complex love story if you only hear one side of it, can you? So that was my focus – not reiterating what we already knew (Elizabeth’s perspective) but filling in what was missing: the other side of the story. In Fitzwilliam Darcy in His Own Words, therefore, you’ll find some but not every bit of delightful dialogue Jane Austen wrote in her original novel, some but not every one of her perfectly turned phrases. Instead, you’ll find a rich mixture of the original and the supplement to it.
I hope you will enjoy reading the book as much as I did writing it! To whet your appetite, here’s a bit of the Meryton assembly – Darcy’s version:
Now, however, I come to the most infamous portion of the evening, notorious both for my ill-considered behavior and for its unanticipated and lasting effects. In Bingley’s determination to engage my interest in what the assembly had to offer, he drew my attention to another young lady.
“There is one of Miss Bennet’s sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say, very agreeable.”
“Which do you mean?” I asked, turning round to see for myself. The dark-haired young woman to whom Bingley had referred was indeed reasonably pretty, I decided, at least to a certain taste. She had a cherubic face set with chestnut eyes that sparkled like jewels. I had in fact noticed her before, her light figure and gracefulness of movement as she danced earning my mild approbation at the time. Still, I observed little of fashion or manner to admire in her.
Meanwhile, Bingley had continued. “Is it not a shame – a clear injustice, even – to see so fair a lady sitting down in want of a partner? Now, be reasonable, Darcy. Do let me ask Miss Bennet to introduce you, so that you may invite her to dance.”
I was unlikely to allow myself to be goaded into doing something I had already decided against for good reason. And when I momentarily caught the lady’s eye, it hardened my resolve, for she seemed to be laughing at me, or perhaps it was a look of challenge. Neither sat well with me. In that instant, I realized that she must have been over listening our conversation as well. She had heard Bingley’s compliments to herself and his offer to me of an introduction. Just as her friends and neighbors about us had already judged me that night, this Miss Bennet was now waiting to hear and to criticize whatever I might say.
So, allowing my distain to show, I withdrew my eye and gave her something to hear that she would not like. “She is tolerable,” I began in a tone of hauteur, “but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”
It was entirely true. It was also unforgivably rude, of course, and no matter what the circumstances, a gentleman should never be that. My conscience smote me at once and repeatedly thereafter, both for my questionable assumptions about the young lady and for my childish response. However, I was hardly so repentant as to not resent Bingley’s provoking me to act in such a way, to act against my own principles.
As for the lady I had supposedly injured, however, I could not detect that she suffered one jot for what I had said. In fact, she could not seem to suppress her merriment at being so well entertained. When she presently left her seat and walked by, she gave me a look – such a look! – and a saucy smile to be sure I knew she had heard me and did not care. Next, she went to her friends, who all then seemed to be laughing with her, looking at me and enjoying a good joke at my expense. I could have been wrong about this assumption as well, but I did not think so.
Consequently, my discomfort grew still more pronounced. I endured the balance of our time at the assembly in a heightened state of mortification, nurturing an overpowering wish that I should never be forced into company with the laughing lady or her friends again.
What was Mr. Darcy’s life like before he met Elizabeth Bennet? – before he stepped onto the Pride and Prejudice stage at the Meryton assembly? More importantly, where is he and what is he doing all the time he’s absent from the page thereafter? And what is his relationship to a woman named Amelia?
With “Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words,” the iconic literary hero finally tells his own story, from the traumas of his early life to the consummation of his love for Elizabeth and everything in between.
This is not a variation but a supplement to the original story, chronicled in Darcy’s point of view – a behind-the-scenes look at the things Jane Austen didn’t tell us. As it happens, Darcy’s journey was more tortuous than she let on, his happy ending with Elizabeth in jeopardy at every turn in his struggle between duty and his heart’s desire, between the suitable lady he has promised to marry and the woman he can’t stop thinking about.
You can find Fitzwilliam Darcy, in His Own Words at: