Friday, August 28
Welcome to the premiere post of the Hidden Gems meme! I'm very excited about this, and hope you will be too. I know that there are a lot of meme's out there that many of you participate in a regular basis, but I am hoping you will embrace this one too, especially since it occurs only once a month (however if you really like it I will entertain the possibility of making this a weekly event). Details for participating in the meme can be found in the original post, and at the very bottom of this one.
My Hidden Gem is..... Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife: Pride and Prejudice Continues by Linda Berdoll. This book was first published in 2004, and given the popularity of Jane Austen inspired novels right now, I thought it only fitting to present to you one that I enjoyed. What I loved about it is that it doesn't try to mimic Jane's style, and it doesn't try to be a book that she might have written. It takes characters that we know, and puts a sexier spin on a continuation of the story. However, if Jane was writing novels today I think it is very possible that she would be writing something just a little bit steamier and sexier, but still the character based stories that we have come to love so much. After all she was a woman who wrote about the time she lived in, then or now I think she would have been relative to her time.
I wasn't able to get in touch with Linda to ask her questions about her book, but she had some Q & A on her website that I thought might give you some insight into her inspiration and her reasons for writing this book:
I began a strictly imaginary trip immediately after viewing the A&E production of Pride & Prejudice (I understand I am not alone in that little flight of fancy.) Rhapsodizing about Lizzy and Darcy impelled me to revisit the book. Thoroughly enthralled, I devoured all JA’s other novels, two biographies and a book of her letters to her sister, Cassandra. Her letters revealed far more of the real JA to me than her novels. My interest then thoroughly piqued, I began to read about the era. It was an age rich with scandal, intrigue and war. JA’s characters begged a further telling. Unfortunately, Jane Austen was long past elaborating and even if she had, undoubtedly, she would not have been explicit. I began to write to satisfy my own curiosity.
What did you hope to accomplish with this sequel?
To find out what really happened after the wedding vows.
How did you hope to portray them as a couple?
Desperately in love.
Is this a book for Jane Austen purists?
Only if they can keep a firm grip on their smelling salts.
Every woman wants to be Elizabeth Bennet Darcy -- beautiful, gracious, universally admired, strong, daring and outspoken -- a thoroughly modern woman in crinolines. And every woman will fall madly in love with Mr. Darcy -- tall, dark and handsome, a nobleman and a heartthrob whose virility is matched only by his utter devotion to his wife.
Their passion is consuming and idyllic-essentially, they can't keep their hands off each other-through a sweeping tale of adventure and misadventure, human folly and numerous mysteries of parentage.
It is forever lost what Jane Austen might have made of Jane Eyre, hence we shan’t dally with such a conjecture. And however we are moved to defend Miss Austen’s unparalleled literary gift, we cannot totally disregard Miss Brontë’s observation, for it was quite on the money. Jane Austen wrote of what she knew. Miss Austen never married, it appears her own life passed with only the barest hint of romance. Hence, one must presume she went to her great reward virgo intactus.
As befitting a maiden’s sensibilities, her novels all end with the wedding ceremony. What throbs fast and full, what the blood rushes through, is denied her unforgettable characters and, therefore, us. Dash it all!
We endeavour to right this wrong by completing at least one of her stories, beginning whence hers leaves off. Our lovers have wed. But the throbbing that we first encounter is not the cry of a passionate heart. Another part of her anatomy is grieving Elizabeth Bennet Darcy.
It was a plump tasselled affair, not at all discreet. His making an issue of her sore nether-end was a mortification in and of itself. But, as Elizabeth harboured the conviction that she had adopted a peculiar gait as a result of her most recent (by reason of matrimony) pursuits, her much abused dignity forbade her to accept such a blatant admission of conjugal congress. Thus, the cushion was refused.
Dignity notwithstanding, the unrelenting jiggle of the carriage demanded by the puddles bade her eye that same pillow wistfully as its soft comfort lay wasted upon the empty seat opposite them. As she clung to the handgrip, she knew it was indefensibly foolish not to admit to her husband that he was justified in suspecting that she needed it. But at that moment, not making a concession to him was a matter of principle.
Suffering both from the road and from knowing herself unreasonably miffed, she submitted to the silent chastisement that she must learn to accept the perversely quixotic turns of her new husband.
As each and every muddy mile they travelled diminished the distance betwixt Elizabeth and the awesome duty that awaited her as mistress of such a vast estate as Pemberley, she became ever more uneasy. It was not that she had only then fully comprehended what awaited her, for she had. At least as comprehensibly as it was possible.
Hitherto, there had been the excitement of the wedding, and moreover, the anticipation of connubial pleasures with Mr. Darcy that buffered her from the daunting devoir that lay ahead. In soothing her newly appreciated trepidation, her husband was of no help whatsoever. Indeed, they had no more than stepped from their matrimonial bedchamber before he had reclaimed his recently relinquished mask of reticence. And with it, that maddening hauteur. One peculiar only to him.
It was only subsequent to their engagement that he had ceased addressing her as “Miss Bennet” in lieu of her Christian name. Delightful as that transfiguration was, her previous understanding in regards to her name was usurped in the throes of passion. For in the considerable heat generated the previous evening, he had repeatedly murmured “Lizzy” in her ear.
To her dismay, their re-emergence into company bade the Master of Pemberley serve compunction by abandoning that much-appreciated endearment. This disappointment would have been less egregious had he not insisted upon addressing her as “Mrs. Darcy” not only to the help, but privately as well. Her alteration from Lizzy to Mrs. Darcy had been vexatiously abrupt. Therefore, Mrs. Darcy was profoundly aggrieved and sat in petulant silence much of their trip.
This lack of conversation he did nothing to mitigate.
Indeed, it was a repetition of the ride from their wedding to their London honeymoon nest the day before. She had convinced herself hitherto that his quiet could be attributed to nerves (owing to the complete lack of reserve that night). Presently, she had not a clue.
Upon thinking of that lack of reserve and the resultant kindness done upon her person, it bade her not to think so meanly upon her husband, silent or no. If he had truly been disquieted in apprehension of their wedding-night, might not his present reticence come from unease? It occurred to her that the more firmly he seemed in his own charge, the greater was his perceived threat to it. Hence, his wall of defence. At one time, she might have been amused to think herself such a disconcertion to the arrogant Mr. Darcy. But no more.
Impetuously, she took his hand. In no manner did she want him to believe her a peril to his well-being.
The carriage, evidently unhindered by the weightiness of her ruminations, endeavoured on. Hence, she wrested her attention from them and peered out the window as they ambled down the fashionable avenues of Mayfair. There, even so fine a carriage as theirs excited few heads to turn and watch as they passed.
But once upon the road north, a legion of staring eyes could be detected through the obfuscatory yellow fog that clung persistently to the streets. Unaccustomed as she was to being the occupant of such an elegant coach, Elizabeth was a little off-put to be the object of such general scrutiny. Mr. Darcy, however, as was his habit, practised an impervious gaze just at the horizon, reflecting neither distaste nor notice of the gawking.
They broke their journey for a spare midday meal at a plain but tidy inn. This rest occasioned the innkeeper and his wife into whimpering subservience, thus enlightening Elizabeth to the extreme deference she must weather as Mr. Darcy’s wife.
The brevity of their stop was in all probability ultimately a good thing, blessedly truncating as it did the publican couple’s display. The next fit of veneration from a person of lesser birth than the Darcys (i.e., just about everyone) would not be so unexpected. Elizabeth promised herself that she would practise Darcy’s patrician inscrutability and elude the urge to tell those servile persons they had undoubtedly mistaken her for someone else.
Whilst still partaking of their meal, Darcy apologised unnecessarily upon the austere winter dressing of his county.
Ways to earn entries:
- In order to be eligible you must tell me what your favorite Hidden Gem is (good for 1 entry)
- Participate in the Hidden Gems meme and leave a link to your blog post here (good for 10 extra entries) See the original post for details on how to participate, or see the bottom of this post for more info.
How to enter:
- You can choose to earn extra entries as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment
- Your comment MUST include your email address in order for you to be eligible
Rules and disclaimers:
- This contest is open to residents of the U.S. & Canada only. Sorry no P.O. Boxes.
- The contest will end Thursday September 3rd at 11:59 pm EST and the winner will be contacted via email
- The winner will be selected using Random.org
- The winner will have THREE days from the date they you contacted to provide your mailing address. If you do not respond within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
- The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
- Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit
- All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Hidden Gems meme info:
Hidden Gems meme is hosted by Seductive Musings on the last Friday of every month (barring any special events). Anyone passionate about romance novels can participate. Just do the following:
- Share a hidden gem that you've read and feel has been overlooked, or deserves to be brought to the attention of romance readers (please don't include books currently on blog tours).
- The book can be a new release, a current release, or an older novel. As long as it is in print, it is available for purchase, and is classified as a romance then it qualifies (historical romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, erotic romance...).
- Reveal your hidden gem on the last Friday of the month on your blog using the Hidden Gem icon and following the participation rules. Tell us why you feel so passionately about this novel, then link your gem back to the current Seductive Musings Hidden Gem post. You can include excerpt links, teasers, back cover blurbs, book trailers, interviews, giveaways...whatever you like.
- The following Monday I will compile a list of the Hidden Gems posted and I'll have a poll where you can vote for your favorite hidden gems. At the end of the year I will compile the top hidden gem for each month and you can vote for the top 5 Hidden Gems of the year. Once the brightest gems are revealed I will invite the authors to guest at Seductive Musings to talk about their books, and upcoming releases.