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Archive for March 23rd, 2009

PemberleyManor_QC.indd

As marriage brings an end to a romantic tale, it begins a new story: how does “happily ever after” really work? The day that Jane and Elizabeth Bennet wed Charles Bingley and Fitzwilliam Darcy marks the departure point for Pemberley Manor. While the mild and obliging Bingleys might be expected to get on famously, Mr and Mrs Darcy will surely need to work on their communication skills.

What’s a nice girl like me (I use the term girl loosely) doing in a blog like this? Don’t tell my husband, but Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy moved me to a fantasy sequence that started with a question and ended as a book. The question? Did Elizabeth Bennet’s hand actually brush against Fitzwilliam Darcy’s during their walk on the day he proposed to her for the second time? Heated discussions within my circle of friends never yielded a firm answer, thankfully, so I started from the supposition that they had not actually touched one another until their kiss in the church.

What modern woman wouldn’t find it tantalizing to the point of agony to imagine a marriage that begins in such a manner? Elizabeth, after chiding a friend for suggesting that sister Jane must throw herself at Bingley if she wished to secure him, has shamelessly done an about-face on her principles and fallen all over Darcy after seeing his beautiful house. She has by no means taken the time to allow affection to grow, nor to delve into the great mystery of Darcy’s past. What did make him so disagreeable when first they met?

I suppose as a mature man who seems never to have been in love before, Darcy must be forgiven for simply being so besotted with Elizabeth’s eyes that he has taken no time at all to find out what’s behind them. He certainly didn’t appear to be fond of being teased, which she couldn’t seem to stop until the possibility of marrying him loomed on the horizon. We have to wonder if she ever got her sense of humor back.

I could see trouble in store for these very feisty lovers. How would the wedding night go, not to mention the first year of marriage? Just look what I found:

“The tremor in Mrs Darcy’s hands gave less evidence than the slight stammering of Mr Darcy’s speech to the tumultuous thoughts entertained by each as they alighted from their carriage and delivered themselves into the solicitous care of the innkeeper and his staff…”

They settle down for a soothing cup of tea in their room, which only serves to make matters worse.

“As to Elizabeth’s state of mind, it is not difficult to comprehend the nervous anticipation of a young bride. All of her education had tended towards the arts which proper young ladies require to secure an advantageous attraction, while precious little had been devoted to the skills she might require in maintaining her husband’s favour… She found herself growing more unsettled with every passing minute.

“In this volatile atmosphere, Fitzwilliam was startled by the sound of a teaspoon dropping to the floor, and with a frown for his lack of attentiveness, leaned to pick it up, just as she did the same. Their hands brushed, eyes met, and the thoughts that had distracted them suddenly gave way before the communication of their eyes. The scent of her perfume, the blush that spread along her cheeks, and her nervous smile drove from him every sense but that of his passion, so long repressed. He lifted her to her feet and began to kiss her with such abandon that she could not prevent her body from stiffening in his embrace. Feeling her resistance, his eyes grew dark, haunted, and his grip tightened on her arms.”

“Mr Darcy!” she protested with a nervous laugh, pushing away from him to look into his eyes. A jest about his eagerness formed on her lips but she was prevented from speech by the anguish of his countenance, and a startled sound rose from her throat. Her mind raced in confusion as he roughly pulled her to him again. She struggled to free herself, but her efforts only served to intensify his feverish grip.”

Well, you won’t need me to describe the rest, I’m sure. Suffice it to say that the night was long and before it ended, Elizabeth had her first peek into the hitherto unseen recesses of Darcy’s mind.

Jane Austen left each of her novels with a lot of questions still on the table. I’m not the only one who noticed. The proof is in the number of sequels that have been popping up around every corner. I hope every Austen lover finds a sequel that satisfies their longing to spend more time with the characters she created. Thanks for inviting me in to blog today. I’d love to hear your readers’ thoughts on the subject of sequels.

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of PEMBERLEY MANOR! Good Luck! 🙂


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