Please welcome today's guest blogger, Mary Lydon Simonsen. She is the author of The Prefect Bride for Mr. Darcy, which was published this month by Sourcebooks.
Welcome Mary and glad to have you :)
Hi Jenny, It’s good to be back at Jenny Loves to Read, one of my favorite blogs. You have asked me to discuss a few topics regarding Jane Austen and her work, and I am happy to do so.
First, why do I think Jane Austen is still relevant in today’s society? Probably because the characters and situations she created are as familiar today as they would have been in 1811 when Sense and Sensibility was first published. For example, Marianne and Elinor Dashwood and Jane and Elizabeth Bennet all wanted to marry for love, and in order to do that, they had to meet that special someone who could provide for them. That is no different than what I want for my two daughters and what Mrs. Dashwood and Mrs. Bennet wanted for their children. Additionally, we know these people. The cast of characters in Austen’s novels are our friends, classmates, co-workers, fellow congregants, and people we wish to avoid, such as Mr. Collins. Most of us went to school with a Caroline Bingley or Fanny Dashwood, and I had a boss who could give Lady Catherine a run for her money. And thirty-five years ago, I was fortunate enough to find my own Mr. Darcy.
What makes Austen so timeless? Excellent writing, such as Austen’s, will survive the ages. But I think one of the reasons so many of us are still reading Austen nearly 200 years after her death, instead of, say, Fanny Burney, is because she had great wit. Look at the first line in P&P: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” It’s brilliant and someone is probably paraphrasing that line as I write. Another reason is that I think her characters are approachable. I can easily imagine having a conversation with Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Elliot, and although Darcy is from an elevated rank, I think he is “gettable,” and that is why women all want a Mr. Darcy in their lives.
What makes her a favorite of mine? That’s easy. I love Austen mainly because I love Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. Those are the characters that I write about when I write Austen re-imaginings. And Austen made it possible for me to write my stories because she leaves a lot to the reader’s imagination. There are no excessive details about ball gowns or drawing rooms. She provides us with a stage on which to build our own set. Because of this, I was able to take two minor characters from Pride and Prejudice, Anne De Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy, and use them to move the plot forward in my latest novel. In The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, it is Darcy’s female relations who understand that Darcy and Elizabeth are perfect for each other, and so they plot and plan ways in which to bring the two together at Pemberley. If either female character had been more developed in Austen’s novel, it would have been much harder for me to do that. I think Austen trusted her readers to fill in the details.
Finally, part of Austen’s appeal is that most of us think that we could be these characters and star in a film or television adaptation of her novels. I most certainly could play the retiring Anne Elliot or Elinor Dashwood. I know that there are times when I am as self-absorbed as Emma, and I would like to think that I have Elizabeth’s spunk and Catherine Morland’s sense of wonder. And then there are the rewards of playing these likable female characters. I get to capture the heart of Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Captain Wentworth, or Mr. Tilney. What’s not to like about that?
Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
If the two of them weren’t so stubborn…
Georgiana can’t let that happen, so she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother’s happiness.
But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly…
Thank you very much for stopping by today Mary.
Courtesy of the fabulous Danielle from Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of Mary's book for giveaway.
I am an Amazon Associate.