2 years ago I hadn’t even heard of fan fiction, let alone Jane Austen fan fiction. If I had seen the acronym JAFF written down, I might have thought it was one of those error messages I don’t understand that pop up on my computer screen from time to time. I had always been a voracious reader, but somehow this was a landscape that had passed me by, a path that I didn’t even know was there.
Then I found myself pregnant with our second child when our first was only 7 months old and somehow, as well as making me feel pretty sick, it stirred up the old romantic in me. Up went the feet and out came the self-pity chocolates. On a whim, I dusted off my DVD of the old 1995 Pride & Prejudice mini-series. It wasn’t long before I was as hooked as I had been when it was first broadcast, aged 14. It occurred to me that it wouldn’t hurt to re-read the novel, and so I did that as well.
Before I knew where I was, I was living with Lizzy and Darcy. I just couldn’t get them out of my head. What happened next? What became of them? The possibilities danced around my mind. Jane Austen is famous for having written perfectly of “two inches of ivory”, so what about the rest of the fabric? What about the character’s lives behind closed doors? What about the world below stairs? What about the male friendships which go unexamined in the original? The permutations seemed endless.
And so it came as a welcome revelation to me to discover that there was a whole world of imagining Jane Austen afresh out there – the what ifs, the what thens, the what befores. It turns out that I am an eat it all kind of JAFF fan girl and in their different ways, I love all of the different shades of Austenesque that are available. Funny, slushy, silly, sexy, they are all worth a go.
Then one day, when I was not expecting it, my own personal Pride and Prejudice sprang up in my head like a pop up shop. The prologue to Suddenly Mrs Darcy appeared almost fully formed in my mind one morning as I was getting out of bed and I splurged it straight onto my laptop in a brief window between baby feeds. Now that couple of pages has morphed into a whole book and really, I owe its existence to the manifold retellings of the JAFF genre.
So, hurrah for reimaginings and viva la variations. After all, you can’t have too many Mr Darcys in your life, right?
Elizabeth Bennet never imagined her own parents would force her to marry a virtual stranger. But when Mrs. Bennet accuses Fitzwilliam Darcy of compromising her daughter, that is exactly the outcome. Trapped in a seemingly loveless marriage and far from home, she grows suspicious of her new husband’s heart and further, suspects he is hiding a great secret. Is there even a chance at love given the happenstance of their hasty marriage?
Jenetta James is a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego. Suddenly Mrs Darcy is her first novel.
4/20: Excerpt & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
4/21: Review at Songs and Stories
4/22: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
4/23: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
4/24: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
4/25: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
4/26: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
4/27: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
4/28: Guest Post at Songs and Stories
4/29: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
4/30: Review at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
5/1: Review at Margie's Must Reads
5/2: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
5/3: Excerpt & Giveaway at Laughing with Lizzie