Susan Adriani has been a fan of Jane Austen and her beloved characters for as long as she can remember. Originally from New England, she attended a small art college close to her home, where she majored in illustration. In 2007, after contemplating the unexplored possibilities in one of Miss Austen’s most celebrated novels, Pride and Prejudice, she began to write her first novel-length story, The Truth About Mr. Darcy (formerly Affinity and Affection). With encouragement from fellow Austen enthusiasts she continued, and is currently at work on her second book. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, young daughter, and a very impertinent cat. She concludes her blog tour to present her The Truth About Mr. Darcy, now available in bookstores, here on My Jane Austen Book club. Join me and welcome her. She's ready to answer all your questions! Furthermore, don't miss the double chance to win this new book. (See giveaway details at the end of this post)
MY TRUTH ABOUT MR DARCY
The BBC version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (directed by Andrew Davies) was the first glimpse I had of Jane Austen's world, and I quickly fell in love with everything about it. The next day I couldn't get to my local bookstore fast enough. I eagerly bought the book, devoured every word, and loved the story and characters even more.
What's not to love? Elizabeth Bennet is full of spunk, wit, and intelligent—if not a bit pre-judgmental at times, but that's one more reason why we adore her: her humanity. And Mr. Darcy doesn't seem to mind. He is without a doubt the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome—if not a bit taciturn and stand-offish as well. My mother always believed that there was something to be said about the quiet ones; a certain air of mystery about them, and the master of Pemberley certainly doesn't disappoint.
And neither does Mr. Bingley…well, not until after the Netherfield ball, that is. Up until that point in the story he is the perfect suitor, all smiles and joviality as he courts Jane Bennet in full view of the entire village. When he leaves for London, his sisters and Darcy in tow, we honestly believe he has every intention of asking Jane to marry him, or that he'll at least return and continue to court her. It always annoyed me that the kind and considerate Mr. Bingley could be so easily swayed by his friend, and especially his calculating sisters. He clearly loved Jane, yet was so easily persuaded to believe that her feelings were not in any way equal to his own. But the course is set; the story will follow the same path every time, with the same outcome. What is a dissatisfied reader to do? Why, change it, of course!
When I began writing Jane Austen-inspired fiction, I had a long list of events and details I thought would be fun to alter. That list is still pretty long—after all, how can an author possibly pack everything she has a curiosity about into one book? Ideally, she can't—well, at least I couldn't! But, in The Truth About Mr. Darcy (previously self-published as Affinity and Affection), I did manage to experiment with quite a few scenarios that were floating around in my head, and managed to create a very different outcome for Jane Austen's most beloved characters. (It was a lot of fun!)
One of the details I changed was Mr. Bingley's retreat to London. In my story, not only does he not make the trip, but he puts his foot down regarding Darcy's sour opinion of Jane Bennet and her relations. When his friend tries to sway him from his course, Bingely not only stands up to him, but gives him a few things to think about regarding his feelings for Elizabeth as well.
I'd like to share with you an excerpt from my book, which takes place on the night that Darcy has first declared himself to Elizabeth. The scene is between Darcy, Bingley, and Mr. Hurst (who I also had a lot of fun with). I like this scene because it gives a little glimpse of the dynamic of the men of Netherfield Park. There are no ladies present, and they are at ease to be themselves. I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I've enjoyed being here today!
Excerpt, The Truth About Mr. Darcy (previously self-published as Affinity and Affection)
“Hurst, come in and have a drink,” Darcy said with uncharacteristic cheerfulness. “I was just thrashing Bingley at billiards.”
Grateful for an opportunity to lay aside his cue, Bingley poured a healthy glass of port for his brother-in-law and refilled his and Darcy's own.As Mr. Hurst accepted his drink, he fixed Bingley with a level look that belied his inebriated state, and said, “By God, Bingley, that sister of yours will be your ruin.” Then he raised his glass in Darcy’s direction. “And she won’t do you any favors either, I might add.” He took several satisfying gulps of the contents as Darcy stared at him with a furrowed brow.“Come, Hurst,” said Bingley with his usual good humor, “I grant you that Caroline may be difficult, but I hardly think it will lead me to ruin. And as for Darcy”—he laughed—“well, I doubt there is any woman in all of England who is prepared to do more for him!”Darcy shrugged his shoulders, simultaneously rolling his eyes with distaste.“Bloody right about that one! If I were you, Darcy, I’d think twice before paying court to Elizabeth Bennet again in Caroline’s company. Damned jealous of that one, she is, and rightly so. Come now, man, you must know Caroline has been determined to get you since the day she laid her eyes on Pemberley, and she is pretty blasted angry right about now.” Mr. Hurst took another drink and laughed. “What the devil ever possessed you to stare at Elizabeth Bennet like that all night in decent company? Caroline would have sold herself to the devil for half a glance, never mind what went on between the two of you tonight. Now she wants to drag us all the way to Town just to be rid of her. She may as well remove us all to the Continent for all the good that would do her.”Bingley sighed and shook his head in exasperation. “Yes, that does sound like our Caroline.”Mr. Hurst noticed Darcy’s frown. “Now do not go and take offense, Darcy. Though he only manages to gawk at her like a lovesick puppy, I suspect my sister-in-law has similar plans to dispose of Bingley’s Miss Bennet as well.”Bingley sputtered and choked on his port.“If you have any thoughts of proposing, Bingley, I would get to it, if I were you. There is no telling what Caroline is capable of when she sets her mind to it.” He threw back the rest of his drink and bid them both a good night.
Thank you so much for stopping in and taking the time to visit with me today. I'd like to extend my sincerest thanks to Maria Grazia for graciously having me as her guest once again. I always have a wonderful time here, so thank you for making the last stop on my tour so lovely!
Susan Adriani is ready to answer your questions or comments here. She has generously granted you readers of My Jane Austen Book Club TWO COPIES of her The Truth About Mr Darcy, one for US and Canada readers and one for the rest of the world. Please, specify which area you live in in your comments and don't forget your e-mail! This giveaway ends next Saturday, June 4th.