Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you've run out of ways to escape.
Hello Katherine and welcome back to My Jane Austen Book Club. Your Lizzy & Jane is a revisitation of two Austen heroines in a present-day urban context. Can you tell us more about the Bennet sisters protagonists of your new novel?
Lizzy and Jane Hughes are a bit more antagonistic than the Bennet sisters. You always get the feeling in P&P that Lizzy and Jane Bennet have “each others backs” and always put the other first. These two have lost some of that, if they ever had it, and need to learn to see and love each other again. So the Lizzy & Jane reference is more how their mother saw them or the dream of what they can become rather than a reflection of who they are.
How much of their original personalities can we still recognize?
Ah… Probably not much at the beginning. Lizzy Hughes may have Lizzy Bennet’s “fine eyes” and sharp wit, but I’d hate to go up against Austen in those categories. At the end, you’ll see more. My sisters begin to understand each other and develop a more playful, loving relationship.
Why did you decide to have Lizzy be a talented chef?
Food is so relational. I think food first entered the story as a reflection of my family life – and Lizzy working as a chef became an extension of that. We cook every Sunday – almost every day of the week, really. The kitchen is where my family connects, cooks, eats and shares best. It started when we lived in Ireland. We and another family got together every Sunday and cooked multi-course meals that took the whole day, post church, to prepare and enjoy. When we moved back to the States, we continued that tradition ourselves.