I'm very glad to welcome P.O. Dixon back to My Jane Austen Book Club. Her new book has just been released and she's here with a new great post to give the you the chance to win your own kindle copy of Love Will Grow. Read P.O.'s piece and take your chances in the rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is open internationally and ends on 27th March.
“Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love.”
This quotation from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey aptly illustrates the theme of Love Will Grow. The premise of the story is one of love’s disappointments and the lengths one is willing to go to remedy said sufferings in service of a friend. Love Will Grow begins with Miss Elizabeth and her intimate friend Charlotte Collins. In keeping with Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte is just the sort of friend one can always count on to speak the unvarnished truth. Who would not benefit from wise counsel from time to time? Of course, Elizabeth tends to trust her own opinion over that of others. She considers her friend Charlotte merely intends to tease her by implying that Mr. Darcy admires her.
Then there is the matter of Mr. Darcy and his particular friends. As regards Darcy’s relationship with Colonel Fitzwilliam, I like to suppose the two are more than cousins but rather the best of friends. Although, I must admit the colonel’s boasting of Darcy’s role in separating his friend Bingley from a young lady in Hertfordshire gives me pause. Surely he must have had some inkling that Elizabeth might know the family of the young lady whom Darcy found objectionable. What was he thinking? Without calling his motives into question, I find the colonel’s verbosity is not exactly the truest indication of a friend.
Darcy and Bingley’s friendship is also central in this Pride and Prejudice retelling. Instead of withholding the knowledge of Jane’s affection for Bingley for months, Darcy shares this information with Bingley soon after Elizabeth tells him.
I told Elizabeth that I would undo the damage between her sister and Bingley once I returned to town. Yet what measures have I undertaken? Bingley and I have been in each other’s company several times. I said nothing—nothing about Miss Bennet and how I may have been mistaken about her regard and certainly nothing of having made a fool of myself with Elizabeth. Darcy rang the bell to summon his butler. The time had come to make good on his promise. It was too late for him, but perhaps it was not too late for Bingley. My confession might render irreparable harm to our friendship. I shall take my chances.
Soon afterwards he arrives in Hertfordshire with Bingley in tow and determined to make amends to his friend. This also gives him a chance to earn Elizabeth’s good opinion. Having ample opportunity to sketch Darcy’s character, Elizabeth entertains thoughts of their being dear friends.
Whilst Elizabeth had accustomed herself to the notion of their relationship being only that of friends, she had also convinced herself that said friendship would span many years.
There is very little that Elizabeth will not do for those whom she considers her true friends. The following Pride and Prejudice passage sheds light on Elizabeth’s attitude towards friendship.
“You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request, without waiting for arguments to reason one into it.”
Owing to the camaraderie between the two young women, Elizabeth’s attitude is manifested in her ready acquiescence to aid Anne in her quest to secure a marriage proposal from Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth is candid with Anne. She detects no indication of love in Mr. Darcy towards his cousin, and she tells Anne so. Her feelings on the matter aside, Elizabeth vows to do her best in advocating Anne’s cause. Once she had made a start, one might understand how Elizabeth would come to be a loyal friend, but it begs the question of what exactly is the basis for their amity. Elizabeth responds to her dearest sister Jane as follows in explaining her loyalty to Anne:
“One does not measure the depth of a friendship by the length of time it takes the attachment to unfold.”
Elizabeth is nothing if not a woman who adheres to her convictions. Then again, Darcy can be just as resolute. She is soon faced with quite a dilemma in the form of a very determined Mr. Darcy. Will true love prevail? Or will Elizabeth’s friendship with Anne stand in the way?