Hello Ginger and welcome back! This time we'll focus on Mr Darcy. You’ve imagined him as a man living and fighting during the Great War in your Darcy’s Hope saga. Is he very different or slightly different from the Austen hero we met in Pride and Prejudice?
Only slightly different. The realisation that Regency Era Fitzwilliam Darcy could have dined with the Edwardian Era Crawleys at Downton Abbey with little change in decorum was one of the things that sparked inspiration for Darcy’s Hope.
I’ve written Darcy’s temperament as essentially the same. He’s just exchanged his frock coat for an officer’s tunic, added a telephone and bathroom to Pemberley, and become comfortable calling his friends by their Christian name. But he’s still the brooding, taciturn, yet sensitive and romantic landowner of Pemberley that we all love.
As for his inner character, just as Austen’s Darcy evolves throughout Pride & Prejudice, the Darcy of Darcy’s Hope also matures and grows. I think those who have read the Darcy’s Hope saga particularly enjoyed watching this growth in him throughout both books. Perhaps this is one reason that, although Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey is designed as stand-alone novel, most readers agree that the whole reading experience is more enjoyable if Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes is read first.
Some readers may be put off by the wartime setting of the Darcy’s Hope saga. What would Darcy say to them?
He would say that the books are first and foremost romances. He would point out that as a captain near the Front in Beauty from Ashes and then as a recuperating patient in Donwell Abbey, the war backdrop provided a dramatic and colourful setting for Elizabeth to fall in love with him.
Darcy would also say that this role allows readers to see him in an entirely new light—actively leading men, making decisions, caring for individuals, and slowly winning over Elizabeth. He would point to the numerous Amazon reviewers who are thrilled they put aside their hesitations about romances set during war and gave it a try.
And finally, he would say that early seasons of Downton Abbey had the same wartime setting, and viewers loved it!
What is it your Elizabeth doesn’t like in him at first and what is it that will win her love later on?
Just like in Austen’s P&P, Darcy’s insult at the Meryton Assembly set Elizabeth against him from the start. But in Darcy’s Hope~ Beauty from Ashes, Elizabeth’s disdain for him runs deeper.
My Elizabeth is a very ‘modern’ woman for her time. She’s helped her father with estate affairs, taught herself telegraphy and braille, and plans to become a doctor. Having set her resentment against him early on, she interprets his every action through this prejudicial lens. Self-confident and quick to voice her opinion on everyone and everything, she feels that Darcy clings to an antiquated past and resents her ‘feministic’ ideals.
And yet, she is fascinated by him. She admires his intelligence, and there is a mysteriousness about him that intrigues her. She feels an attraction towards him like nothing she’s experienced before. Only after watching him work sacrificially on behalf of others over and over and gaining insight into his scars from the past does she begin to consider him in a new light. And when she falls, she falls hard.
In Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey, their HEA is tragically detoured. It is along a difficult path that she comes to know him—perhaps better than anyone—as she watches him struggle, persevere, and overcome. And by the end, she loves him even more : )
How have his experiences in Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes changed or prepared him for what he faces in Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey?
He grew and matured a great deal in Beauty from Ashes. Thrust into an environment far removed from his privileged life at Pemberley, he encounters men like John Thornton and learns that all men are basically equal. And in an attempt to insulate his heart from the pain of loss, he discovers that shutting others out can be more painful than risking the pain of loss.
Those lessons serve him well for Donwell Abbey. His willingness to accept others and risk his heart makes him willing to accept help from a “working-class” nurse who turns out to be a very important person to him. : )
On a shallow note, is your Darcy more like Colin Firth or Matthew MacFadyen?
Macfadyen for me. I think Macfadyen did an outstanding job portraying both the impassioned “hard” Darcy as well the quiet, vulnerable Darcy. In writing both Darcy’s Hope books, I often closed my eyes, pictured Matthew Macfadyen, and ‘listened’ to him speak.
Thank you for hosting Darcy’s Hope on your blog today!
About the book
1917. Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.
Then she disappears.
Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.
Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he's coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.
His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.
But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.
Escape to the era of Downton Abbey in this enthralling stand-alone sequel* to Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes that includes appearances by John Thornton, Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley.
•*May be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but readers may experience some minor confusions without the context of the mystery of Darcy's Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes.
•Has a happy ending for Lizzy and Darcy.
•Romance is clean. Minor language and some recollections of graphic war scenes.
About the author
The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she's hooked—on writing and World War I.
When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.
In 2015, her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's “Picture This” grand prize.
Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs
Read a short excerpt
Elizabeth bolted from the chair. “Fitzwilliam, wake up!” She nudged his arm in the darkened room, but he continued writhing with great heaving breaths. “Captain!” She squeezed his hand, but he jerked it away, whimpering.
On impulse, she slid her arms under his shoulders and held him close. Instantly his thrashing ceased.
Gently rocking him, she massaged the unbandaged hair at his temple and whispered against his cheek, “It’s all right. Just a dream.”
He breathing slowed, but his body remained tense. “My ribs...hurt.”
She lowered him back to the pillow, then tapped on his hand, Try to relax. All right now?
“Mmm.... Water. And morphine.”
She squeezed his hand and poured water into the hospital cup. She touched the pill to his lips then offered the porcelain straw.
He swallowed. “Who are you?”
Elizabeth froze and closed her eyes. How she longed to tell him the truth, then brush a kiss on his lips, assure him of her love, and promise to stay by his side.
She took his hand and spelled, Miss Thomas.
“Thank you...Miss Thomas.”
Elizabeth sank into the wing chair and released a heavy breath. Could she bear to be so close and yet so far away from Fitzwilliam?Three lucky winners will each receive a tin of Downton Abbey Legacy Tea! (Open to US residents only)