A huge thank you to Maria Grazia for welcoming me back for part 2 of The Elizabeth Papers blog tour stop at My Jane Austen Book Club. At the beginning of the blog tour, I posted this piece about imagining the faces of Pride and Prejudice. Using contemporary paintings, I had tried to “find” all of our favourite characters. Maria Grazia posted a selection of portraits and I invited readers to guess who was who.
There are, of course, no “right” answers, because we all imagine these fine characters differently. This, however, is my who’s who….
Reader, meet Lydia Wickham. In The Elizabeth Papers, Lydia has an important role so imagining what she looks like is something I did a lot while I was writing it. This portrait may be slightly too poised for her, but something about the face, about to break into a laugh shouts her name to me.
This, I imagine to be Elizabeth, towards the end of the Regency narrative in The Elizabeth Papers, when she is in her 30s. One reader guessed Aunt Gardiner and I can well understand why. I think this is a lovely depiction of a confident, contented, interested lady.
A Bennet sister who appears briefly in The Elizabeth Papers, as a very happy married woman, this is Mary, or Mrs. Lander as she is in the story.
Ladies of the parish, meet Colonel Fitzwilliam! Readers are right to say that the portrait is slightly out of proportion. However, it is the man’s face that really caught my eye. Although a more jovial character than Darcy, the Colonel knows what is going on about him and can fix a steady stare with the best of them! Here he is, doing just that…
Miss Caroline Bingley presents here, looking slightly glum but beautifully dressed in her striking red dress. Many people associate Caroline with orange because of her clothing in the 1995 mini series. I certainly imagine her being very brightly dressed. She appears, slightly older and unmarried but still enjoying her social life in The Elizabeth Papers. Here she is…
Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, enjoying some music, of course!
This lady is my imagining of Kitty. A grown up, married lady in The Elizabeth Papers, Kitty is another important character. I do no think that a lady in Kitty’s position would have been likely to pose for a portrait like this, and the dress is maybe a bit rich and revealing. However, there is something in the watchful face and the mildly self-conscious pose that brought her to mind.
And of course, for the hero of the story. Here we have a depiction of Mr. Darcy with one of his infant daughters. The love between Darcy and Elizabeth and the iron loyalty between them and to their children is the heart of the story of The Elizabeth Papers, so it seemed right to end on an image which spoke of exactly that…
The Elizbeth Papers
“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?