Thank you, Maria, for inviting me here today to tell your readers a little about Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley. I can hardly believe that I now have five novels published! Each one has been a delight to write and share; each one has presented new and interesting challenges!
Georgiana Darcy is a fascinating creature, and I had already been thinking about a way to expand on what I had written about her in The Darcys of Pemberley when the idea for this novel occurred to me. I felt she deserved more space on the page than I had been able to devote to her in that earlier book, which focused primarily on Darcy and Elizabeth. So, that’s what started me off. I decided I would write a companion piece, retelling the story, this time from Georgiana’s point of view.
I had never written this kind of book before. Sequels, yes, and a variation on Jane Austen’s own life (The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen), but never a retelling. I expected it would pose certain difficulties, but at least I was uniquely qualified for the job since I had written the original myself! Even though I knew The Darcys of Pemberley backwards and forwards, however, I had a couple of surprises in store for me when I reviewed it once more with a mind to writing its companion.
First, I was amazed how different things – various events and what people said – appeared through an alternate point of view, which is as true in real life as it could be in any work of fiction, I’m sure. Examining it all through Georgiana’s eyes for a change, I began noticing how infrequently anybody consulted her for an opinion and how often she was left out altogether – left out of the conversation, the decision, the excursion, etc.
There was no malicious or even conscious intent to do so – not by Darcy and Elizabeth when they behaved that way, and certainly not by me when I wrote it. We had slighted Georgiana by thoughtlessness, not design. And despite the fact that she’s supposed to be very modest and mild mannered, it had to hurt.
So this became one of the themes of the book: Georgiana’s struggle to be respected as a competent adult. Here’s a brief excerpt as an example, told in her own words:
Whatever was taking place in the library behind closed doors, I could have no part in it. Did they think me disinterested? No, more likely I had been disqualified on the basis of my age. The colonel had said to me less than two weeks before, “When you are grown…” implying I was still a child. Now here was more evidence that I was not yet to be taken seriously. I was to be sheltered and set aside rather than being consulted on adult matters for a mature opinion.