Monday, 30 May 2016


If you close your eyes and say Elizabeth Bennet, who do you see? This is something that I have tried to do many times whilst writing about her, with varying success.

Of course, throughout The Elizabeth Papers, Elizabeth Bennet is in fact, Elizabeth Darcy. The story commences in 1817, when our favourite couple have been married for some four years. At the very outset of this story, Elizabeth is, as she would have it, four and twenty years of age. She is married and has two young children with another one well on the way. In fact, she spends quite a lot of The Elizabeth Papers pregnant.

All of these things have ramifications for what she looks like, and how we can imagine her. Im conscious that we are all influenced by the various actresses who have played Elizabeth. Often, once we have seen a character performed, we cant get that face out of our minds. I have tried to apply a sort of method acting theory to my writing. Basically, I try to imagine myself back in time. What do the clothes feel like? How do the hairstyles feel when you touch your hand to them? How comfortable was Mr. Darcys carriage as it rattled out of Pemberley?

The questions crop up in relation to other characters as well of course. What does Mr. Darcy really look like? We know that hes tall, but how tall? How have the years treated the wider Bennet family? Whay. I hope that you enjoy it. Can you guess who I imagine each one to be?

Have a guess, or leave a comment with your own ideas, Id love to hear them! The wonderful Maria Grazia has invited me to return at the end of the blog tour with another post, giving my (which is not the same as the) answers. Happy guessing! What about other characters such as servants and children?

Ive tried, as best I can to look for answers to these questions in contemporary, or near contemporary art. How did that go? Well, the first thing I discovered is that it is really difficult! Very often I found pictures from exactly the right period - with perfect fashions - but the faces felt all wrong. Sometimes I happened upon faces that struck a note in my mind for a particular character, but their clothing was from the wrong period or too grand or too humble.

My conclusion is that finding faces for our beloved characters is an art not a science and sometimes, its better to run with your gut feeling than to worry too much about details. So here, dear readers, are some of the images that I have found and liked. All of these images date from (roughly!) the right period and caused a little bell to go off in my mind. I suppose you could call it my personal Pemberley gallery.

Jenetta James

Picture 1
Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8

About the author

Jenetta James is a mother, lawyer, writer, 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. She is the author of Suddenly Mrs. Darcy which was published by Meryton Press in April 2015. The Elizabeth Papers is her second novel. 
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About the book
“It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world.” —Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice
Charlie Haywood is a London-based private investigator who has made his own fortune—on his own terms. Charming, cynical, and promiscuous, he never expected to be attracted to Evie Pemberton, an emerging and independent-minded artist living with the aftermath of tragedy. But when he is hired to investigate her claims to a one hundred and fifty year old trust belonging to the eminent Darcy family, he is captivated. 
Together they become entwined in a tale of love, loss, and mystery tracing back to the grand estate of Pemberley, home to Evie’s nineteenth century ancestors, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. 
How could Evie know that in 1817 Elizabeth Darcy began a secret journal? What started as an account of a blissful life came to reflect a growing unease. Was the Darcy marriage perfect or was there betrayal and deception at its heart?
Can Evie and Charlie unearth the truth in the letters of Fitzwilliam Darcy or within the walls of present-day Pemberley? What are the elusive Elizabeth papers and why did Elizabeth herself want them destroyed? 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow The Elizabeth Papers Blog Tour: 

5/30: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
5/31: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
6/1: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
6/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at Liz’s Reading Life
6/2: Review at From Pemberley to Milton
6/3: Guest Post at Moonlight Reader
6/4: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
6/5: Review at Just Jane 1813
6/6: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
6/7: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
6/8: Character Interview at More Agreeably Engaged
6/9: Author Interview at Savvy Verse & Wit
6/10: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
6/10: Excerpt & Giveaway at Skipping Midnight
6/12: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
6/13: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars


Vesper Meikle said...

a mystery and Jame Austen - I am going to enjoy this book

Claudine Pepe said...

What a great idea! I love wondering about who EB is... I'm thrilled your blog tour started and I thank you for having me participate in it too! Readers are in for a big treat with "The Elizabeth Papers!"

Christina Boyd said...

In my mind to play your characters in a movie...I'm going with Benedict Cunberbatch for modern Charlie. Rosamund Pike for Evie. Emilia Clark for Elizabeth Darcy and Henry Cavill (when he's not bulked up as superman) for Mr Darcy. Don't enter me in the contest because I have the book of course--but wanted to have my share of the conversation. Congratulations on the release of your second book! I can't wait for readers to inhale it!

Beau North said...

I love this! The first picture just yells "Lydia" to me! Beautiful pictures all.

Ginna said...

I really like picture 2 for Elizabeth Darcy - she looks confident and sure of herself. Number 3 could be Mary Bennet, and I really see Jane Bennet in #5. I absolutely HATE picture #4! The proportion is so wrong between his head and his body. I can't even consider him for any character, because all I can see is that his head is too big.

For all of the JAFF that I've read, I seem to have the same Elizabeth in my head. But I just couldn't figure out who she was. For some reason, I was thinking about "Gone With The Wind" recently, and it finally dawned on me that I have Vivian Leigh portraying Elizabeth! At least I finally know who she is. For Darcy, he changes a lot (not by intention). It depends on whether it's a modern or regency story, and also, it depends on what asinine thing he has done. For some moderns, I see Chris O'Connell from when he was younger, like in "Circle of Friends".

Really looking forward to your book!

Sonja said...

Love all things Austen. I love the gorgeous cover, as well of this new book. It's hard to imagine what Darcy looks like and he probably looks different in the minds of each reader.

Anji said...

For me, it sometimes depends on who the author is as to how I imagine the characters from any JAFF. I won't name any names, but when I'm reading certains writers' works, I hear Colin Firth's voice very clearly but for others it'll be someone else. Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen in series one of Game of Thrones) is one such, although I can't actually envisage him in the role. For Elizabeth, sometimes it's Jennifer Ehle but one portrayal I also really liked was Elizabeth Garvie's from the 1980 version. I can remember hearing a radio serialisation of P&P way back in the 70s when I was at Univeristy and the voices the BBC used for D & E in that production I remember as being pretty good but can't find out any details of the cast right now. I've always imagined Darcy as being dark in colouring despite the lack of detail give by Jane Austen, but the 1980 version had Elizabeth as being fair and Jane as dark, contrary to more recent depictions and just about all the P&P JAFF I've read.

As Christina says, Emilia Clarke would make a good Elizabeth as would Jenna Coleman (Lydia in Death Comes to Pemberley) I believe. I'd still like to see Aiden Turner as Darcy though I doubt it'll ever happen since he got the role of Ross in Poldark. What about Richard Madden (another GoT alumnus)? He's also Jenna Coleman's real-life partner so how about casting the two of them together?

Picture no. 2 above was used on the cover of Mr. Darcy's Proposal by Suan Mason-Milks. I knew it rang a bell so I have checked up on that one. The lady in no. 5 looks very unhappy indeed. Jane after Bingley has left Netherfield? The gentleman in no. 4 does indeed look rather odd as Ginna says.

Good luck with the launch and tour, Jenetta!

gailw15 said...

What fun! I love games and I can't wait to read this story!

Here are my guesses:
1) Lydia
2) Aunt Gardiner
3) Charlotte Collins
4) Wickham
5) Mary
6) Jane & Bingley (though I don't remember Jane ever playing the piano)
7) Elizabeth
8) Darcy

Jo's Daughter said...

Oh this book sounds thrilling, I love a good mysterie and combining it with the Darcy's is brilliant :D

Jenetta James said...

Dear Maria, thank you so much for hosting me on your lovely blog and for helping me to set up this guessing game. Thank you all for your comments and guesses. I will be back here after the end of The Elizabeth Papers blog tour with my answers... Looking forward to it:-)

BookLuver88 said...

I am constantly looking around at portraits, trying to imagine which ones could be their grandparents, children , or even the characters themselves.

Suzan Lauder said...

Jenetta, I made a Pinterest in preparation for the cover for my newest, and Picture #5 was in it! #1 and #2 would have been there as well, except they're on other covers already. I love the artwork Zorylee found for the cover for "The Elizabeth Papers." It's singular! "Suddenly Mrs. Darcy" is one of my top fave JAFF novels, and the premise for this novel has me excited to read it soon! Best of luck on the blog tour.

Mai T. said...

Question to the author: What were some of your favorite authors or books growing up?

Priscilla Teh said...

Honestly can't wait to read this book! The cover looks amazing. Thanks for the giveaway!

oloore said...

I look forward to Jenetta's answers regarding who she has been imagining each person from the portraits to be. Because no matter how long I look at them I am at loss and cannot guess. I would prefer Lizzy to be a lady from the first or second portrait and Darcy - from the last, though I have a feeing that portraits 4 and 5 could be those of Darcy and Gorgiana.

Dung Vu said...

Jennifer Ehle & Collin Firth will always be my regency Elizabeth & Darcy. Henry Cavill & David Gandy comes to mind for modern day Darcy, but I can see them as regency as well...

I love when there is a cast list for a novel, it helps conjure up imagines as I read. Congrats on your new release!

BeckyC said...

I am excited about this one!

Jenetta James said...

Thank you all very much for your guesses and comments - all of my "answers" now posted...:-)