Friday, March 4, 2011
Title: Only Mr. Darcy Will Do
Author: Kara Louise
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Rating: 5 Crowns a Royal Read
In this fresh and original retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet’s greatest fear comes to pass—Longbourn is entailed to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth finds work as a governess in London, widening the social divide between her and Mr. Darcy and making it more difficult than ever for them to find their way to each other...
(From the publisher)
Each time I read a novel by Kara Louise I fall back in love with the characters Jane Austen created. In this variation of Pride and Prejudice, fate has changed the course of life for Elizabeth, and due to the death of her father, she is working as a governess in London. Now, she is even lower in station than she was before, so when she encounters Darcy again, the social divide is even greater than it was before. So, by changing these key elements, Kara Louise opens up a whole new world, that is amazing to explore. I also liked the sense of maturity in the characters of Elizabeth and Darcy, it seems that that have grown in this novel which adds for a deeper insight. I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
I would like to thank the always wonderfully insightful Kara Louise for this lovely guest post.
Why the Variations?
By Kara Louise
There are sequels, prequels, and those stories detailing scenes that are missing from the original novel. There are modern adaptations, which make an historical story updated to our contemporary times. Then there are the stories referred to as variations, what-ifs, alternate storylines, and another description I just found last week- a derivative spinoff. These are stories that have changed some major or minor plot in a story and have followed through what those changes affected in the plot. All of these have been written based on another existing piece of work.
Variations are very prevalent with Jane Austen’s novels because her works are so well loved. Of her novels, “Pride and Prejudice’ is the most popular book being written about. Many have been published, and even more have been written and can be read on a variety of websites.
I would like to preface this by saying I completely understand those who feel that Jane Austen’s works should not be tampered with and anything written, whether a prequel, sequel, modern or a variation, is completely unnecessary and perhaps, should not be done. Many feel that her novels are sacred and nothing more is needed than what she wrote.
While I agree that her novels are wonderful, I like to think that these additional stories are a tribute to her for giving us characters that we came to love when we first read her novels. She gave us stories that touched many of us in a way that no other stories (or author) have done before. We cannot be certain how she would feel about it, but I think she would be humbled and honored that 200 years after she penned them, people would still love them/
But I also think that variation are probably more a product of our culture and would never have been accepted, let alone understood, even a hundred years ago. Why do I think that? One word- Television. Think of your favorite television shows. Do you have a favorite television show that you tune into each week just to see how the characters develop, interact, and respond to situations in which they finds themselves? Sometimes you care more about the characters than the actual plot, although the plot does help
I’ll give you an example. My husband and I love “Castle’. We really enjoy it because we love the characters: Castle, Beckett, Castle’s mom, and daughter. But is the plot that important? Well, murder mystery keeps us entertained (and in this past week’s case, impels us to turn in the following week for the exciting conclusion!), but we are drawn more to the development and the relationship between the characters. The plot takes a second seat to those people we come to love. Once that week’s show’s is over, I tend to recall more of what happened with and between the people than with who was murdered and who did it.
Perhaps the reason a lot of Jane Austen fans can pick up one book after another is because they want to read about their favorite characters again and again and feel some of those same feeling they had when they read the original. They want to see how the relationships between their beloved characters develop and change in each story. They want to find out how they will overcome the obstacles presented in the variation and find true love at the end of the novel.
Something happens to me when I come up with an idea for a variation. I find myself looking closely at an aspect of the original novel and suddenly a new thought or insight comes to me. In ONLY MR. DARCY WILL DO, the big question about what would happen if Mr. Bennet died presented itself. I chose to answer that question. In my interpretation, the family would have moved out of Longbourn, when Mr. and Mrs. Collins moved in, and Elizabeth and Jane each take on positions of governesses in London.
Some times there are minor thoughts that I ponder as I write my story. For example, in P&P Darcy was concerned that Jane Bennet did not loved his good friend Bingley as much as he did her, and therefore discouraged him from perusing that relationship. One must conclude that Darcy believed one ought to marry for love, and that love should be reciprocated. As I pondered this, I realized that he has to believe that Elizabeth Bennet returned his love; otherwise he would have never asked her to marry him. It was just not his love that prompted the offer, but his belief that she loved him, as well. In OMDWD, I wanted to have Elizabeth come to that realization as she was getting to know who the real Mr. Darcy was.
It is this kind of thought and new revelations that make me ponder anew Jane Austen’s stories. As I write my story, I gain new insight into her story. This is why I love to write variations.
I have two copies to giveaway on March 23, 2011
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Royal Reviewer Angela Renee at 2:00 PM