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Monday, September 5, 2011

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud review, guest post and giveaway

Title: Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star
Author: Heather Lynn Rigaud
ISBN: 978-1-4022-5781-0
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: September 2011
Format: Trade Paperback
$14.99 US/ £9.99 UK
Pages: 576
How I read it: Trade Paperback Arc from the Publishers
Rating: 4.5 Crowns


Fast music, powerful beats, and wild reputations--on and off stage--have made virtuoso guitarist Fitzwilliam Darcy’s band into rock’s newest bad boys. But they’ve lost their latest opening act, and their red-hot summer tour is on the fast track to disaster. Now Darcy and bandmates Charles Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam are about to meet their match…


Enter Elizabeth Bennet, fiercely independent star of girl-band Long Borne Suffering. Elizabeth, her sister Jane, and friend Charlotte Lucas have talent to spare and jump at the opening band slot. Elizabeth is sure she’s seen the worst the music industry has to offer. But as the days and nights heat up, it becomes clear that everyone is in for a summer to remember.
(from the back of the arc)

First Thoughts:

Do I want read about Fitzwilliam Darcy being a guitar god clad in skin-tight black leather pants? YES, PLEASE!!!!!!

The Characters:

In this modern retelling, we see Fitzwilliam Darcy as a rock god that knows just the right cords to strike--both on stage and off. As the founder of the rock band Slurry, we see Darcy in a new light as well as a new wardrobe that consists mainly of black leather pants and dark sunglasses. Yet while he is this amazing guitar god, he still has the problems of the original Darcy, meaning that he still comes off as arrogant and he still has guardianship of his younger sister, Georgiana. Oh, and of course Wickham is still around.

At the beginning Darcy and Elizabeth are like chalk and cheese, they would not even be able to agree on the correct time if a clock was placed in front of them. As the novel progresses their relationship waxes and wanes and it seems that everyone but the two of them can see their attraction to each other.

Charles Bingley plays bass as well as delivers smashing vocals. In this version, he doesn’t come off as quite so daft, although she still is quick to love. We still see him form an emotional attachment to Jane rather early on and their romance heats up throughout the novel with the expected interlude.

Jane is just Jane; throughout the novel, she is the one who remains the most true to the voice of the original character, but with that being said this character is completely new and exciting.

Then we have Richard Fitzwilliam, Slurry’s drummer who also happens to be a recovering alcoholic that develops a sex addiction. In a sense Richard is the true embodiment of a rock god, doing what he pleases and pulling a new flavor every night.
Then he meets Charlotte and his world changes.

Out of all the characters Charlotte has to the one who has been changed the most, and I find that I rather enjoyed this Charlotte.

The web of characters we see in the original P&P still make appearances although they have all been made over to fit a contemporary novel.

The Plot:

The plot was very fast paced and I was continuously turning the pages as the plot heated up. I read this book in four settings, yet if I had not been traveling, it could have been a two setting read. The plot did throw a few unexpected twists and turns my way and I was highly intrigued to see how they played out.

Overall, this was a very different take on P&P, which I enjoyed. While you do see flickers of the original characters, you must remember that this book is a modern retelling. It was light and fun yet it did contain a few heavy undercurrents. It also contained very steamy scenes that kept the adage of Drug, Sex, and Rock ’n Roll alive throughout the novel.

Would I read it again? Most definitely!

For those of you who view spin-offs and retellings as a slight to Jane Austen and the characters she created, please give this novel a chance. Even if you have to dissociate this book from the original, give it a go. You will definitely enjoy it!

I would like to thank Heather Lynn Rigaud for this lovely guest post!

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star is a completely new spin on Pride & Prejudice, what inspired you to place these characters as rock stars?

Let me start by saying I enjoy taking liberties with Jane Austen’s characters. I freely admit it. I’m shameless. I love to think about what each character in a book was feeling at the various points of the book. And then I love to think about new ways of expressing those feelings. Jane Austen is so amazing at identifying emotions and thoughts and motivations in her work, it makes the characters feel very modern, and very accessible to her readers, even 200 years later.

I also love to put them in new settings. I’m somewhat obsessed with finding parallels between modern times and different periods in history. I want to know how a mother would raise her children in the Renaissance. I’m curious how a young man learned a trade in the Regency. What was courtship like in the Roaring 20’s? How are they different from now? How are they the same? What can I personally relate to vs. what’s strange and foreign? And this extends to Austen’s wonderful characters. (I suspect very few people could blame me for wanting to spend more time with these fascinating people.) So, there I was mentally playing with my Darcy and Elizabeth paper-dolls in my head. I was wondering how to distinguish the class difference between Darcy and most other people? Austen’s Darcy has a prestige and status that I wanted to find a modern equivalent for.

It occurred to me that a musician, particularly a proud, aloof, anti-social musician could work. I was already mulling on this when I heard the Puddle of Mudd song, “She Hates Me”, which struck me as having exactly the mixture of rage, injured pride, and self-hate that Darcy would be feeling after the Hunsford proposal. From there, everything fell into place for him. I had my Darcy-Rock Star Darcy: proud, talented, reserved, famous. Everything Jane would have wanted for him.

But what about my Elizabeth?

One of the things I love in Pride & Prejudice is how at the end Darcy and Elizabeth come together as emotional peers. Elizabeth starts the book with a tremendous inferiority complex. She’s embarrassed and ashamed of her family. She’s not the pretty on, but she can’t be really jealous of Jane, who makes Mother Teresa look angry. She thinks she’s the world’s greatest judge of character, but Charlotte’s easily got her number. In other words, she’s got a terrible chip on her shoulder for not being ‘good enough’.

So it’s very telling that at the end of this huge and emotional journey, Elizabeth tells Lady Catherine that her and Darcy are “in the same sphere”. When Catherine challenges her on that, Elizabeth’s response is the regency equivalent of ‘bite me’. For me, this is huge. It’s a sign that emotionally Darcy and Elizabeth are finally on the same page.

So I needed my modern Elizabeth and Darcy to also have a way that they could be peers, that wasn’t immediately obvious. Well, talent is often no indicated by fame. There are plenty of very talented musicians, artist, actors, writers, etc. that aren’t famous. Everyone has heard the saying “90 percent of being famous is being in the right place at the right time”. Part of fame if having a ton of good luck. What it Elizabeth was as talented as Darcy, but not as famous? This appealed to me because Darcy could easily fear Elizabeth and her sister seeking to improve their fame by attaching themselves to Bingley and himself. Ooohh, and Elizabeth could have issues because Darcy was famous, and she wasn’t-even though she was just as talented as he was.

It was a moment when things clicked, and making them Rock Stars became an obvious choice. I went all out developing this concept. I gave Darcy everything: money, talent, fame, success, a mother in the business; in short, I made him a “man of sense and education, who has lived in the world.” Everything that Elizabeth didn’t have. This gave them a gap that Darcy could feel all superior about, and Elizabeth could resent.

Of course, I gave Darcy plenty of troubles too, but Elizabeth doesn’t see that, certainly not at first. She’s ready to take offence as soon as it’s even hinted at, which of course poor Darcy does. He’s Darcy, after all, and Elizabeth and her band represent a possible danger to His Band. (Darcy is so superior that of course he feels the need to protect his less talented, less worldly, less intelligent friends) So with her pride stung and him feeling increasingly uneasy, Elizabeth starts her journey with Darcy, and hopefully, I’ve made a case for them both being Rock Stars.

I want to thank you for letting me visit your blog today and I’d love to hear from your readers about their thoughts on Darcy, Elizabeth, and brazen authors who take unbelievable liberties with them.


What are your thoughts on Darcy, Elizabeth, and brazen authors who take unbelievable liberties with them?


Visit Angela Renne @ Renee's Reads


Heather Lynn Rigaud said...

Hey Queen Angela,

(I love that name, it belongs to my best friend)

Thanks for that lovely review. I'm glad you enjoyed FDRS. I'm looking forward to hearing what your readers have to say.


Felicia said...

Some are better than others but I enjoy reading as many as I can. Seeing our beloved characters in different time periods/situations etc, is fun. This one certainly looks like a lot of fun and would love a chance to win it.


Johanna J said...

Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favs. I have never read a adaptation of this story and the others out there but I would love to start with these one! You had me at tight leather pants! These Jane Austin stories and characters that authors are rewriting seem fun and different! I have added this one to my to buy list!


Patricia's Particularity said...

Being a HUGE HUGE Jane Austen Fan you would think that I would be against authors that take such liberties but I actually love it. I think it brings more of a wider audience to the books who then find themselves curious about Austen's characters. I love it!


Heather Lynn Rigaud said...

Felicia: I like to think of it as Theme and Variation. I hope you enjoy it.

Johanna: Well, Darcy is a pretty hot character. I love a sexy man, don't you?

Patricia: I find that Austen's characters are so real that you can drop them into any situation. I find myself doing that a lot. :D

Margaret said...

I think it is fine. Everyone has different ideas and should be respected. If no one pushed the boundries I don't think we would find such a variety of books. Nothing ventured , nothing gained as they say. It also lends the appeal to a much wider audience this way also which I think is very good. Thanks for this giveaway!


Pam S (pams00) said...

I am a Jane fan for sure. P & P is my favorite by her and so I'm always eager to pick up spinoffs, redos, etc. It's very interesting to read about such beloved characters in many different renditions.

Mr. Darcy, Rock Star sounds like its going to be a great one.

pams00 @ aol.com

Fairday Morrow said...

This book sounds entertaining!

Heather Lynn Rigaud said...

Hey Margaret! I remember you from Austenprose. (maybe? So many blogs!) I'm definitely one for a venture. That's for sure.

Pam: Thanks for the encouragement. The P&P plot line lends itself to many different settings.

Thanks Fairday!

Anonymous said...

The whole premise of P&P is simply timeless. I think it is a tribute to the story to repurpose it in a fashion that allows for a different variety of reader to enjoy it. I completely support authors who want to transcend those genres (or sub-genres?) with Austen's writing. I enjoy most of what I read and think serious Austen fans do a great job at paying homage to Miss J.A.

I'm looking forward to reading this one!

Oregon Kimm

Lieder Madchen said...

I love to read different people's ideas of what Darcy and Elizabeth would do in different situations and times. :) Thank you so much for sharing!


Heather Lynn Rigaud said...

Hi Oregon Kimm. Thanks for getting it. Austen doesn't have to be wearing breeches to be Austen. :D

Lieder Madchen: I hope you enjoy the book.

LĂșthien84 said...

I don't mind reading Darcy and Elizabeth's stories set in contemporary world if the author justifies his/her actions for putting them there in the first place. So I would definitely give this book a try based on your convincing and thorough understanding of these beloved characters.


Maureen said...

I think some of the stories are very clever and something that reminds me of the characters but is a story I can enjoy on it's own too.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Heather Lynn Rigaud said...

Luthien: I'd love you to enjoy the book, you've been so very supportive. Thank you again!

Maureen: That was my goal. Something that could be enjoyed whether or not you're an Austen fan.

Thanks for the wonderful visit!

Susan Adriani said...

Heather, I curled up with FDRS tonight, and it's just great. (Because my husband isn't home, I can devote hours to it!)

Best of luck with it - it's been a favorite of mine for a long time.


Na said...

I'm curious most of all and try not to judge until I have read the story. As long as it's a great story, then I'll like it. A rock and roll version of Darcy is very different so I'm intrigued.

Cambonified {at} yahoo {dot} com

melora said...

Ha, like the question. I used to be rather priggish about retellings and sequels, but I am loosing up about retellings. After all, the point is to explore the dynamics of her stories in contemporary situations. I agree with other posters, the success of so many books and movies to do exactly that shows just how timeless Austen is. therefore this also means that the characters cannot remain in the same Regency mold!