Thank you, Maria Grazia, for inviting me to post on your blog. It is always a pleasure.
My latest release, Darcy Goes to War, has been out for about two weeks, and there are two questions that keep popping up: why World War II as a setting and do Darcy and Elizabeth fit into that time period?
Let’s start with Darcy and Elizabeth. One of the reasons we love these characters so much is because they have traits that are admirable. For Elizabeth, because of a lack of planning on her father’s part, she will inherit a paltry annuity. There is also an entail on the Bennet estate. This is a very serious situation. At the time of their father’s death, it is possible that the Bennet daughters and their mother will be asked to leave Longbourn, and it will not be Mr. Collins’s problem to find them a place to live. Despite her predicament, Elizabeth refuses Mr. Darcy’s first offer of marriage. At this point in the novel, Mr. Darcy, although rich and of a superior rank and someone who would solve most of her problems, is not worthy of Elizabeth’s love. Saying “no” to Mr. Darcy took guts.
And what of Mr. Darcy? Our first encounter with the gentleman at the Meryton assembly exposes a man who exhibits a “selfish disdain for the feelings of others.” There is only marginal improvement in his behavior at Rosings, but he blows that all to heck with his obnoxious marriage proposal. It is only when we see Mr. Darcy through the eyes of others: a good friend, a devoted sister, a loyal servant, do we catch a glimpse of the goodness of the gentleman from Derbyshire. But in my mind, it is Darcy’s response to Lydia’s situation that reveals the most about our hero. He didn’t have to intervene. It must have been painful for him to interact with George Wickham, a man who tried to elope with his fifteen-year-old sister. Despite the unpleasantness of dealing with the morally bankrupt Wickham, Darcy rescues Lydia. Why? He does it primarily because he loves Elizabeth, but he also does it because it is the right thing to do.
The character traits demonstrated by Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice would be a perfect fit for the trials that had to be faced by the British during World War II. The length of the war with Germany and Japan tested everyone. However, I do believe our hero and heroine would have acquitted themselves admirably.
So why did I choose the setting of World War II? As I’ve written in past blog posts, history is my greatest love. I’ve studied many historical eras, but my fascination with World War II is personal. This is a war that was fought by my parents’ generation. My father was one of President Roosevelt’s Whiz Kids. They were the young men and women who scored so high on the civil service exam that they were brought to Washington to work in government agencies. My mother worked for the War Department in Washington as a clerk typist as did my father’s two sisters. Every brother and male cousin in their families, without exception, served in uniform. You can meet some of my relations on my blog where I have posted their pictures, but there is one photo that is missing: my father’s cousin, Patrick Faherty. He died when his ship was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of the Carolinas. His ship was protecting oil tankers coming from the Gulf of Mexico on their way to Britain. He was an only child, and his father was a poor miner. There is no picture of Patrick, but he is mentioned in my book.
War is a very serious subject, but in Darcy Goes to War, there are lighter moments. There would have to be. The war lasted for six years! At one point, Darcy invites Elizabeth to go to London with him just as the Germans launch the first of their V-1 vengeance rockets. In this excerpt, our favorite couple is huddled under a kitchen table at the Darcy townhouse:
Once they were both settled, Lizzy laughed at the absurdity of their situation. “‘Three days in London,’ you said. ‘Go up to town and see the sights. Have dinner at the Savoy and go dancing at an officers’ club.’ You really know how to show a girl a good time.”
“Scheduling the fireworks was a little tricky, and I might have overdone it,” Darcy said, blowing on his fingers and rubbing them against his shirt, “but you have to admit there hasn’t been a dull moment since we got off the train at Euston Station.”
So what do you think about moving Darcy and Elizabeth from the Regency Era to the mid 20th Century? Post a comment and you will be entered into a giveaway for a free Kindle or Nook e-book of Darcy Goes to War. The contest is open internationally and will end on October 2nd. Thank you.
Read my blog post: http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/2012/09/meet-greatest-generation-my-family.html
Mary Lydon Simonsen
Mary Lydon Simonsen is author of several Pride & Prejudice re-imaginings as well as two Persuasion re-imaginings. She has also written a modern love story, The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style, and a mystery, Three's A Crowd.
She is a wife, mother, grandmother, volunteer, reader, writer, serious recycler.
When she reads for relaxation, she read mysteries. Her greatest love is history. When she is doing the research for a new book, she loves digging for historical nuggets.