Please welcome Marsha Altman author of the interesting, funny, and witty series Pride and Predjudice Continues. There are three books in the series, The Darcys & the Bingleys, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers and Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape. The Series starts shortly after the end of Austen's original and takes off from there.
I asked Marsha for her thoughts on Elizabeth Bennet. What is it about Lizzy Bennett (Darcy) that draws readers in? Her conversational wit and dislike of society's conventions? Her self-confidence and ability to weather any storm? Why do you think everyone loves Lizzy so much? It's not all just about Darcy :)
Here are Marsha's thoughts. Enjoy!
I’m sure a good deal of ink has been spent on what Jane Austen saw, or wanted to see, of herself in Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth is someone any woman either feels that she is, or wants to be. She’s smart (everyone likes to feel that they’re smart), but not too pretty (everyone has body issues) and overshadowed by wealthier or more beautiful people (everyone has self-esteem issues). Despite her handicaps of being a witty, unappreciated woman in a difficult time for women’s rights, she manages to land the guy who both respects her and can provide for her so she doesn’t have to compromise on much of anything in her life. Her main transformation in the book is not to a different person but to a person who sees Darcy for who he is, the result of bad first impressions (no pun intended) early in the book.
Elizabeth comes off to some readers as nothing short than the ideal woman, or the ideal woman that women reading about her would like to be, though most women would just settle for “married to Colin Firth/Matthew McFayden.” I know this is viewing it through the lens of Darcy again, but that’s the point of the book. She gets the awesome guy. That may seem a crass interpretation, but I doubt Pride and Prejudice would have had the commercial success and gone on to become regarded as a literary masterpiece if she died an old maid, as she predicts in the beginning of the book.
For many readers this is wish fulfillment, but it’s wish fulfillment in its highest art form, which is of itself an impressive writing feat on Austen’s part. It’s also made Pride and Prejudice the most popular of her novels. It’s certainly among the best in literary quality, but whether it is the best is another thing for literary critics to squabble about. It’s the most popular and the most adapted by far, and it’s her only book that was required reading in my high school. Literary masterpiece that it may be, its appeal is broader than the relatively small crowd of people in the world who read literary masterpieces outside of high school and college, and at least part of the reason for that is the raw appeal of imagining ourselves as Elizabeth Bennet.
MR. DARCY’S GREAT ESCAPE—IN STORES FEBRUARY 2010
Hilarious and action-packed, this installment brings the Darcy and Bingley families to the year 1812 and the intrigues of the Napoleonic Wars. Darcy and Dr. Maddox go in search of Darcy's missing half-brother and land in a medieval prison cell.
Much to his dismay, Charles Bingley is left to hold the fort at Pemberley while his sister Caroline, Elizabeth, and Col. Fitzwilliam traverse Europe on a daring rescue. Meanwhile, Lady Catherine de Bourgh kicks up a truly shocking scandal.
One never knows what might happen next between the estates of Rosings and Pemberley.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marsha Altman is a historian specializing in Rabbinic literature in late antiquity, and an author. She is also an expert on Jane Austen sequels, having read nearly every single one that's been written, whether published or unpublished. She has worked in the publishing industry with a literary agency and is writing a series continuing the story of the Darcys and the Bingleys. She lives in New York.
What a thought provoking post. Thanks Marsha. I always enjoy reading other people's thoughts on one of my favorite characters.
So here is the scoop on how you could win 1 set of all three books in the series, The Darcys & the Bingleys, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers and Mr. Darcy’s Great Escape.
Here are the rules:
*Open to U.S. and Canada only. No P.O. Boxes please.
*To enter leave a comment with your email address.
*For an extra entry, post about this on your sidebar and leave me a link.
*Deadline for entries is midnight Sunday, February 28th.
Good luck everyone!
Thanks again to Danielle from Sourcebooks for my review and the giveaway copies.