Tuesday, 25 September 2012


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.

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.

Follow her at her blog or at Austen Authors blog


Janet T said...

Mary, I will be reading your World War II story. It sounds so good. I have been following your blog posts and reading everything about it. It is definitely on my TBR list. If I don't win it, :), I will have to get it if I am to get it read before the end of the year! Thanks for keeping us in good new books!

Anonymous said...

I love this excerpt! I can just picture Lizzy and Darcy at his family's townhouse, huddled under the table, and Lizzy keeping her sense of humor. I don't think Caroline Bingley would have been half as understanding. BTW, is Caroline in the book?

Sophia Rose said...

I enjoyed reading your character assessment of why these two can translate into the WWII era.

Looking forward to it!

Ceri said...

I definitely must read this book! I love seeing the characters in different periods. I completely agree with you that they both have qualities that would shine out in adversity, I can imagine them rolling up their sleeves and doing their bit.

Mary Simonsen said...

Hello Ladies. Always good to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by and reading my post. Maria Grazia, Again thanks for hosting me.

Bonnie Carlson said...

Can't wait to read this one, Mary!!

Kelli H. said...

Oh, I must have this book! It sounds wonderful. I love the idea of taking Darcy and Elizabeth and placing them in the midst of WWII. I am so excited to see how this story unfolds! Thanks for the giveaway!!=))

Heather M. said...

“Scheduling the fireworks was a little tricky, and I might have overdone it"

LOL I love a Darcy with a wry sense of humor. As if I didn't have enough reasons, now I HAVE to read this book!

Heather M

Margaret Literary Chanteuse said...

I absolutely love the idea of Darcy and Elizabeth story taking place during WWII so I absolutley have to read this lol! Thank you for the giveaway.


Mary Simonsen said...

I'm back to say thank you to everyone who has stopped by and read my post. I really appreciate it. Mary

Patricia said...

It sounds like an interesting read. I'd like to give it a try.
This is my email address: pato3_89(at)hotmail(dot)com

Danielle said...

This book sounds great! I don't think I have seen another variation set in this time.


Janet Kerr said...

It sounds like you had a lot of fun writing this. You have a great imagination.
Please enter me in your draw.


redrose15 said...

Definitely interesting! I love reading Pride and Prejudice based in different centuries and decades. It makes it as though their love can transcend all time. :)

Please enter me in the give-away!

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

I think Darcy & Elizabeth transfer easily into other centuries and times, and the backdrop of WWII is definitely a good one. Darcy & Elizabeth are -human- and that's why we love 'em: we can see ourselves in them here & there ... Now, if only my Lizzie could find a Darcy in the 21st Century ;o)