No seriously, I love Jane Austen for more than Mr. Darcy, although he is a big part of why I adore her books.
I like her books because they are funny and romantic and they contain fascinating side characters and insightful commentary on human nature.
My favorite novel of all time is Pride and Prejudice. In this story both hero and heroine are flawed. Elizabeth is clever, but she is quick to judge. Darcy is intelligent, but arrogant. Some might dismiss this story as a Cinderella story because Elizabeth ends up with Darcy, who is rich, but in this story the Prince (Darcy) actually changes and becomes a better person by the end.
When Elizabeth refuses his first offer of marriage (very unCinderella-like), he is humbled. But then he writes a letter that makes her realize that she has been judging him harshly. So they both change for the better, then they deal with foolish/obnoxious family members (Darcy rescues Lydia and Elizabeth stands up to his aunt Lady Catherine) which shows the reader that they deserve happiness. And finally, they speak up, taking an emotional risk to declare their feelings and they are rewarded with a great, lasting love.
I think this book is universally loved because both hero and heroine change and earn that happily ever after. Most women can identify with Elizabeth, who is not as pretty or good-natured as her older sister and has a tacky, embarrassing family. And most of us would like a man like Darcy. He’s not perfect, but he actually listens to Elizabeth and changes his ways. He is willing to be emotionally vulnerable (“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”) and he stands up for what he believes. Oh, and to top it all off, he’s handsome and rich. What’s not to like?
I have read Pride and Prejudice more than once a year since I turned 12, but I have been reading it more closely lately as I have started writing Jane Austen Variations with the pen name of Jane Grix. I refer to them as my Darcy stories, but they are basically revisions of Pride and Prejudice, based on a “what if” question.
Darcy Unmasked: What if Netherfield Ball was a masquerade?
Darcy At Last: What if Elizabeth had amnesia and couldn’t remember the first proposal?
Much Ado About Darcy: What if Darcy couldn’t deliver the letter?
Master of Pemberley: What if Darcy had married Anne de Bourgh? (He’s now a widower)
Bewitching Mr. Darcy: What if Elizabeth was a witch? (Sweet paranormal)
Darcy’s Winter Wedding: What if Darcy and Elizabeth met in London before meeting at Rosings?
As I have created these stories, I have immersed myself in the original book again. Although I have read the novel many times, I keep finding new wonderful sentences that I must have skimmed over before.
“Miss Bingley’s congratulations to her brother, on his approaching marriage, were all that was affectionate and insincere.”
Marvelous. When I reread Jane Austen, I wish I could have known her. I would like to have been her friend.
I've been half in love with Mr. Darcy since I was twelve, although I'll admit, the first time I read Pride and Prejudice, I was totally taken in by Wickham. I was stunned when Mr. Darcy proposed (I guess I was reading too quickly to catch all the hints), and even more stunned when Wickham turned out to be a jerk. But by the end of the book I was completely smitten by Darcy. I am still smitten.
All my books and short stories are standalone stories, each with a slightly different Darcy and Elizabeth.
Beverly Farr aka Jane Grix
Master of Pemberley
After the death of his wife, the former Anne de Bourgh, Darcy knows it is his duty to marry again to provide a male heir for Pemberley. He knows exactly what sort of woman he wants until he meets Elizabeth Bennet. With her clever mind and fine eyes, she challenges him and inspires strong feelings that threaten to undo all his careful plans.
Accepting Mr. Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Variation - Available Now!
Due to exigent circumstances, Elizabeth Bennet believes the best way to help her family is to marry a man of means. When Fitzwilliam Darcy proposes at Hunsford, she sets aside her dislike of him and accepts, although she fears that getting married will be much easier than being married.
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