Thursday 30 September 2010


Mr Darcy's Obsession is her latest book just coming out in October for Sourcebooks. Abigail Reynolds  is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician.  In addition to writing, she has a part-time private practice and  enjoys spending time with her family.  Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school.   She began writing From Lambton to Longbourn in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters from Pride & Prejudice.  Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to five other Pemberley Variations and her modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  She is currently at work on another Pemberley Variation and sequels to The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice.  She is a lifetime member of JASNA and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of pets.  

Read my interview with Abigail and you'll have the chance to receive a copy of Mr Darcy's Obsession directly from Sourcebooks. The giveaway is open to US and Canada readers only. The winner will be announced next Wednesday October 6th. Don't forget to add your e-mail address!

First of all, Abigail, thanks for accepting to Talk Jane Austen with me and ... soon to the first question. Mr Darcy. What’s his unique charm? What makes him so fascinating and attracting after centuries?
Many things! For me, it is the depth of his devotion, his loyalty and honor, and above all else, that he falls in love with Elizabeth because of her intelligence and wit in a world where those were not valued in women.

In your The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice, you make two distant worlds like science and Jane Austen’s novels meet. The same happens in your real life: you are a doctor, studied marine biology and you write brilliant Jane Austen- inspired fiction. How do such different worlds coexist in your life?
Medicine and writing aren’t actually all that different. As a doctor, I listen to patients and try to understand their stories, what they’re telling me and what they may be leaving out that could be important, what their situation is like at home and how it may affect their health, and so on. Trying to put myself in their heads, if you will, just as I do with my characters. Meantime, writing provides a wonderful escape from the pain and suffering I see at work. Sometimes the worlds overlap. In Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, there ‘s a medical scene which is an in-joke for fellow medical professionals – the doctor is prescribing various barbaric-sounding things, but they’re in fact all treatments we still use today.

Which Austen female character might have been a good doctor if women had been granted the chance to have a profession, according to you?
Elinor Dashwood would have made a good doctor – thoughtful, calm, and willing to sacrifice. I can see her working in an ER .

What’s the appeal of such a distant world as the Regency to you? And how do you explain the great, incredible success the “brand" Jane Austen has achieved in our contemporary high-tech world?
There are two levels to the question about the appeal of the Regency. A lot of it is based on the impression that life was simpler and more moral then, but this is a fallacy perpetrated by the Victorians who were romanticizing the time before the Industrial Revolution. That imaginary Regency period is like a fairy tale. Given the realities of life, especially for women, I’d never want to live in the real Regency. As for Jane Austen, I think it’s the brilliance of her characterizations and again that idea of a simpler, purer life. Also, there are people who are embarrassed to be caught reading romances, but if it’s based on Jane Austen, it must be literature, right? Jane Austen also has a wonderful voice – witty, sometimes cutting, but always with an edge of affection for even the most dislikeable characters.

If you could live inside one of Jane Austen’s novels which one would you choose? What would you miss the most?
Pride & Prejudice or perhaps Persuasion, I think. I’d miss millions of things, but most of all I’d miss the ability to control my own destiny, to have rights of my own.

Is Jane Austen's work just escapism or is it more social analysis and reflection?
We certainly use it as escapism today, but I don’t think that was its appeal at the time. It was in many ways radical in having female characters who thought for themselves and were valued for more than beauty and breeding.

This a difficult question I’ve asked to several of your colleagues. But maybe, you can help me to find a way to introduce Jane Austen to my male students (the majority in my classes) .To be honest they usually despise everything linked to Jane Austen considering it girlish. Is it really so difficult to meet men who love Pride and Prejudice?
I think men could love Jane Austen if they were willing to give it a try. It’s their, ahem, pride and prejudice that gets in the way. You could always suggest that women love men who know Jane Austen!

When did you meet Jane Austen? What did you read first?
I first read Pride & Prejudice when I was in my early teens, and I loved it.

How did you come to write and , especially, why Austen-sequels?
It started with reading Austen fanfiction on line for an escape to a happy and familiar world. Then I ran out of stories to read, so I decided to write one. It had a good response on line, and I was hooked.

I imagine your life to be franticly busy! Have you got any special writing routine?
I write whenever and wherever I can. When I can escape, I go to my favorite coffee shop to write, away from all the distractions at home.

What’s your opinion on the many Jane Austen adaptations? Have you got a favourite one? A least favourite one?
This is where a lot of readers and writers would explain that there’s something wrong with all those sexy/paranormal/mystery/sweet stories. I think it’s all good. The more people who are inspired to write Jane Austen adaptations, the happier I am. As for favorites and least favorites… well, I could get into a lot of trouble answering that one!

If you could write a spin-off story and change the destiny of one of Austen minor characters, making him/her the hero/ine of the day, who would you choose?
As a matter of fact, I’m working on a sequel to Mr. Darcy’s Obsession which will follow the love stories of Georgiana Darcy and her ‘cousin’ Mary, an original character.

Which one of your novels would you like to see adapted for the screen? Any special wish for the casting?
The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice. It has beautiful settings and lots of visuals. As for casting, I have no idea!

Try to present your latest novel, Mr Darcy’s Obsession, coming out in October, to our readers in less than 50 words.
After Mr. Bennet’s unexpected death, Elizabeth and her family are impoverished. When Darcy encounters Elizabeth living in London, he can't fight his desire to see and speak with her again...and again and again. Now that she is even more unsuitable, will Darcy conquer his pride to marry her?

Great, Abigail. Thank you! This is all for this nice chat of ours. Good luck with the release of Mr Darcy’s Obsessions !
Thanks for inviting me!

And good luck to our readers who will enter the giveaway! Leave your comments and don’t forget to leave your e-mail address, please. This giveaway is open to US and Canada only.

Follow Abigail Reynolds at her site  

Wednesday 29 September 2010


1. There's a reason more to follow SEX AND THE AUSTEN GIRL, the lovely online series inspired by the novels CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT: you can win Laurie Viera Rigler's novels!
  • 1. Comment on the Episode 16 giveaway blog post AND/OR
  • 2. Blog about our giveaway with a link to AND send us the link to your post with "Episode 16 Giveaway" in the subject line AND/OR
  • 3. Tweet about our giveaway @TheAustenGirl with a link to AND/OR
  • 4. Post about our giveaway on Facebook with a link to AND send us the link to your post to with "Episode 16 Giveaway" in the subject line. 
2.Do you know which lovely Austenesque novel is on my nightstand (and always in my handbag) these days ?

Yeah! Got it! C. Allyn Pierson's continuation of Pride and Prejudice focused  on Georgiana Darcy 's experiences. The Darcys in Ms Pierson's novel are delightful company. Fancy meeting them? Do you want to read Mr Darcy's Little Sister? You have the chance to win this book reading Meredith's interview with the authoress  at her sparkling site, Austenesque Reviews .

3. A FREE e-book download for four days at Kensington Books!!! If you've got  one of these e-book readers -- Kindle, Apple, Sony, B&N, Kobo or Diesel -- hurry and get your free download of Marilyn Brant's  According to Jane today (9/29) through Saturday (10/2)

4. And now,  my dear Austen friends, the winner of last week's giveaway here on My JA Book Club. Did you read and comment Jane Odiwe's inteview? Did you leave your e-mail address? Then the winner's name might be yours!!! Ready to discover it? Here we go!

PRICILLA, congratulations!!!
You are the lucky winner of Willoughby's Return.

Abigail Reynolds
5. If you want to try again, stay tuned! There will be a new giveaway tomorrow. TALKING JANE AUSTEN WITH ... will be with Abigail Reynolds, authoress of The Pemberley Variations and of  The Man who Loved Pride and Prejudice. Sourcebooks, her publisher, have granted you a copy of her latest book, due to release in October, Mr Darcy's Obsession!
I'll wait for you tomorrow, then. Have a nice time, meanwhile!
Maria Grazia

Thursday 23 September 2010


I hope you'll enjoy my interview with Jane Odiwe , author of Willoughby's Return and Lydia Bennet's Story. It's just another very interesting chat with an expert and lover of Jane Austen and her world. Leaving your comment and e-mail address, you'll have the chance to receive , directly from kind Jane Odiwe,  an autographed copy of her latest Willoughby's Return. The giveaway in open worldwide! The winner will be announced next Wednesday, 29 September.
Discover more about Jane Odiwe, her novels and illustrations on her Blog Site and on Twitter.

Welcome on My Jane Austen Book Club, Jane. I'm extremely glad you accepted to answer my questions . As you know, I’ve recently read and reviewed (here) your latest publication,  “Willoughby’s Return” . So, let’s start from there, your title hero: John Willoughby. Jane Austen gives him about 50 pages to explains his reasons and regrets to Elinor. Did he convince you?

I think Willoughby is sincere when he explains his reasons and regrets to Elinor, but I have to admit that I am not wholly convinced even if I’ve written a book, which aims to defend him (mostly). I think he truly believes what he is saying, but if we actually look at his behaviour and actions, we may arrive at another conclusion. Firstly, is the fact that until he runs into Sir John Middleton, he has not made any attempt to contact Marianne or Elinor to explain his actions. If he truly loved her, wouldn’t he have made every attempt to justify his behaviour earlier? Every part of his speech to Elinor just exposes the weaknesses of his character. Willoughby is thoroughly honest about his feelings, but I’m not sure it helps his case. Firstly, he is drunk. The fact that he can’t face Elinor without resorting to drinking alcohol shows he is pretty spineless. Then, he admits when he first met Marianne, he was only interested in amusing himself. Marianne flattered his vanity. He was fully prepared to receive love without giving any in return. Money is his motivation for not allowing himself to fall in love. Even if we believe that he loved Marianne when it was too late, he adds that he lives in dread of her marrying. Not because he is concerned for Marianne, and whether she will be happy, but because his thoughts are selfish ones as he considers how hard it will be for him to know that she has married Colonel Brandon. Having said all that, as I said right at the beginning, I do think the main point here is that he truly believes what he is saying, that he regrets his behaviour.

I tend to justify Willoughby, if not forgive him (Greg Wise’s fault?) I know he made mistakes, lots of them. With Eliza...but he was young! With Marianne ... but he had little reasonable choice (Frank Churchill was infinitely luckier than him!) But I’m sure he will always love Marianne and he will learn from his mistakes. His marriage to selfish Sophia Grey is already punishment and the impossibility to have Marianne is hell. Would you ask for more? Don’t you think that’s enough for a charming libertine?
Yes! It’s all Greg Wise’s fault. And, who could fail to fall in love with Willoughby when he first appears in the book or on screen? Of course, money and its necessity is a recurring theme in Jane’s books, and in those days marrying for love was something of a luxury. I do love the fact that Jane Austen included Willoughby’s begging for forgiveness, and Elinor’s forgiveness of him shows compassion in a true human sense. I think Willoughby will suffer in his marriage, but I also think he is the kind of man who will make sure he gets a measure of amusement elsewhere. As you know, in my book, when the opportunity arises, he tries to win Marianne’s heart again.

Brandon and Marianne’s relationship goes through ups and downs. What do you think are the reasons of their complicated ménage?

Marianne Dashwood marries Colonel Brandon at the end of Sense and Sensibility. He is seventeen years older than she, and consequently, I think their views of the world would be quite different, even if they share much in common such as poetry and music. Differences in their ages and viewpoints could well lead to differences in the way each perceive a set of circumstances. I think Marianne loves the Colonel deeply, especially as she can never do anything by halves, but knowing her heart rules with great passion makes me think this is likely to run over into other matters. Brandon is still responsible for his ward, Eliza, and also for her child whose father, I’m sure you remember, is Mr Willoughby. Taking into account Marianne’s personality, I felt this would cause problems. Knowing that her husband’s ward is not only the daughter of the Colonel’s first love, but also the very image of her would be enough to make Marianne jealous. I don’t think she would be happy visiting Eliza, or seeing Willoughby’s child, so I think she would avoid meeting them both at all costs. When Brandon visits his ward often and is sometimes obliged to stay away, I think Marianne’s sensitive nature will get the better of her. She would hate it. In Willoughby’s Return, I was able to capitalise on this. Marianne is maturing, but although she is not as outspoken, she still feels passionately. I thought her jealousy might lead to destructive behaviour, although ultimately she sees sense before it’s too late. Each of them would see the situation differently. Brandon would be dutiful to his ward and her daughter feeling there is no choice but to make sure he devotes all due attention to them. Having lost his first love, I think he would be extremely sensitive to the needs of Eliza and her daughter, a fact which might be hard for Marianne to cope with. I don’t think it would occur to Brandon to think Marianne might be jealous – he tends to see Marianne through rose-tinted spectacles. Likewise, Marianne doesn’t consider Brandon’s difficult situation. She is a little selfish, and doesn’t want to consider the difficult life that Eliza must lead. Lots of tensions make for lots of ups and downs – a gift for a novelist!

Margaret Dashwood is a vivacious, young woman in your novel starting three years after the end of Sense and Sensibility.Passionate, romantic, impulsive and sensitive. How did it come you decided to make her so similar to Marianne?
Jane Austen wrote in Sense and Sensibility: Margaret, the other sister, was a good-humoured, well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne's romance, without having much of her sense; she did not, at thirteen, bid fair to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life.
I imagined that of the two sisters she would grow up to become even more like Marianne, and I wanted to write an alternative Marianne story, showing that first love might work out.

Is your Henry Lawrence the portrait of what Willoughby might have been, instead?
Not really, because although on the surface it seems he shares some similar traits, in the end he is thoroughly vindicated. The reasons for his behaviour are completely justified. Besides all that, he is even better looking than Willoughby, and I think he is a much nicer person!

“The market of marriage” Jane Austen showed directly or indirectly to dislike has been anyway relevant to her novels and their success. What about marriages in your sequel?
Yes, I think it was important to include this theme in my novel, and I think I allude to it in all my books. It was such an important factor for anyone in Jane Austen’s class. I think Jane felt compelled to write about it because it affected her and her sister Cassandra. They did not have large dowries, so could not be expected to marry well. In my novel, Henry Lawrence’s friend, Mademoiselle de Fontenay is a victim of the marriage market, but I don’t want to say much more for fear of giving too much away.

Jane Austen at her desk by Jane Odiwe
When and why did you make up your mind to start writing Jane Austen sequels?
After I wrote and illustrated ‘Effusions of Fancy’ I wanted to see if I could attempt to write a whole novel. I wanted to write a comic book, which is why I chose Lydia Bennet. For all her outrageous behaviour, I thought she would be funny too.

You also paint and draw cute Austen illustrations. Did drawing come first as a means to express yourself?
I’ve always done both for as long as I can remember. I’ve still got illustrated stories I wrote from when I was about seven years old. I always wanted to be a children’s author and illustrator like Beatrix Potter, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I much prefer writing novels now.

Marianne and Elinor by Jane Odiwe

Darcy & Lizzy by Jane Odiwe
How would you explain JA’s success in our world so different from hers?
I think it’s pure and simple escapism from our twenty-first century world with all its stresses and everyday problems. Of course, the fact that we imagine that the past was simpler is very far from the truth, but I think we have fallen in love with the perception of a life where everyone lived in beautiful Georgian houses, where good manners were highly important, and where extremely handsome men walked around all day in breeches and wet shirts with ladies in gorgeous frocks and bonnets. I’m only joking, but I think those elements certainly add to Austen’s appeal. I would also say that her novels are timeless, and populated with wonderful characters. They are books that can be read time and again; enduring classics that never fail to please.

If you could swap life with one of the Austen heroines, whose life would you choose?
I would choose Anne Elliot’s life if it can start after she marries Captain Wentworth. I think seeing the world with him would be a lot of fun, and also she’d manage to get away from her awful Elliot family.

Great! Anne Elliot is my favourite Austen heroine, too.But let's say something about the future now. Your next sequel will be released in February 2011, Mr Darcy’s Secret. What is there still to discover about Mr Darcy? Why do you think he has become such an iconic character?
When I started writing this book, it occurred to me that Elizabeth really didn’t know very much about Mr Darcy. Apart from knowing that he is wealthy, has Bingley for his friend, and that he lives in London for some of the time, as well as Pemberley, I realised that we know little of his back-story. I created one, and wondered how it might impact upon them all.

I think he’s become an iconic character partly because he is so enigmatic. We don’t know much about him at first apart from the fact that he’s got pots of money and a big house. He’s aloof, and rude, but slowly we warm to him when we see how Darcy and Elizabeth engage with one another seeing who can outwit the other. He’s the ultimate hero when we discover just what he’s done for Lydia, as a way of showing his love and concern for Elizabeth. He comes to recognise his faults and changes as a result. That’s got to be his greatest charm – he’s a character we don’t want to like, yet end up falling in love with him along with Lizzy Bennet.

 How would you present you latest work, Mr Darcy’s Secret, in max. 50 words?
After capturing the heart of the most eligible bachelor in England, Elizabeth Darcy believes her happiness is complete, - until the day she unearths a stash of anonymous, passionate love letters that may be Darcy’s, and she realises just how little she knows about the quiet, stoic man she married.

Thank you so much Jane for taking the time to answer my questions. It’s been a great pleasure to read your novel and to talk Jane Austen with you! And good luck to you all for the giveaway!

Wednesday 22 September 2010



There's a reason more to follow this lovely online series inspired by the novels CONFESSIONS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT and RUDE AWAKENINGS OF A JANE AUSTEN ADDICT. You have the chance to enter a weekly giveaway of two signed copies of the novels that inspired the series. 
Watch Episode 15, "A Good Wedding" ! Should a wedding be a small affair with a few friends, or a 250-guest extravaganza? You can bet that Jane and Courtney, our time-swapping heroines, have very different ideas about what makes for a good wedding. Go to enjoy the clip and  enter the giveaway!

watch the 15 episodes on

Look at these incredible shots. It isn't like being there but they are so lively that you can rather believe so! The Festival is going on and I'm so envious reading the comments and looking at the beautiful photos of the lucky ones taking part in it! It'll end next Sunday 25th September. Take a look at the events in the schedule for the next days. 


 Just joking, of course. But  I'm serious now. I have to officially announce that Colin Firth's King's Speech won the Toronto Film Festival. Fingers crossed for the Academy Awards. Next year we want more than a nomination Mr Darcy! I mean, Mr Firth. We want a standing ovation and a touching thanking speech. Maybe with a dedication in Italian to your (lucky) beautiful Italian wife ... We are ready for that! What about you?

From the official site of the Festival: "Colin Firth delivers another performance of nuance and grace in this moving story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II.
It is the mid-thirties and radio is king. In the words of King George V (Michael Gambon), the members of the Royal Family are forced to become the lowest of creatures: actors. But his son “Bertie” (Firth) is plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king. Haunted by a disastrous and humiliating incident in which he delivered the closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition, Bertie is encouraged by his caring wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) to engage the assistance of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
Bound by rules of propriety, Bertie is reluctant to work with Logue, particularly when he insists on ignoring royal protocol and treating Bertie as he would any other man. But gradually, through a series of unconventional techniques, Bertie learns to manage his stutter and forms an unlikely friendship with Logue. When his older brother, King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), abdicates the throne, Bertie becomes king and must summon the courage and authority to lead his country into war.
A sensitive and penetrating character study in the guise of a rich historical period piece, The King’s Speech probes the intriguing concept of a powerful man locked in a struggle to accept his own authority. As a member of the Royal Family, Bertie enjoys powers and privileges that are alien to most people, yet he feels powerless and frustrated. It is the camaraderie that blooms between Bertie and Logue that allows him to break free from this pattern and embrace his own uniqueness.
A fascinating look inside the mind of a great man, The King’s Speech boasts heartwarming performances from an accomplished cast, particularly Firth and Rush, whose combative, respectful and tender friendship forms the heart of this touching film".
Do you remember? I've recently read a lovely sequel to Sense and Sensibility by Jane Odiwe, Willoughby's Return ( Read my review ). Jane Odiwe has been so kind to accept my invitation and she'll be my guest on "Talking Jane Austen with...". Stay tuned! There will also be a giveaway and Mrs Odiwe will also present her newest novel due to release in February 2011, Mr Darcy's Secret.

Sunday 19 September 2010


I needed to forget a hardworking Sunday (yes,Sunday!) and I put my Bridget Jones DVD set on : Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason. I hadn't re-watched either of them since I had seen them long ago at the cinema. My purpose was pure escapism,of course, but also to discover how much Austen there is in them.

From Pride and Prejudice to Bridget Jones, from the books to the movies.

Helen Fielding (as Bridget Jones) wrote of her love of the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in her Bridget Jones's Diary column during the original British broadcast, mentioning her "simple human need for Darcy to get off with Elizabeth" and regarding the couple as her "chosen representatives in the field of shagging, or rather courtship".
Fielding loosely reworked the plot of Pride And Prejudice in her 1996 novelisation of the column, naming Bridget's uptight love interest "Mark Darcy" and describing him exactly like Colin Firth. Following a first meeting with Firth in person  during his filming of Fever Pitch in 1996, Fielding asked him to collaborate in what would become an eight-page interview between Bridget Jones and Firth in her 1999 sequel novel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Conducting the real interview with Firth in Rome (yes Rome!), Fielding lapsed into Bridget Jones mode and obsessed over Darcy in his wet shirt. Firth participated in the following editing process of what critics would consider "one of the funniest sequences in the diary's sequel". Both novels make various other references to the BBC serial.

1995 Pride and Prejudice writer Andrew Davies collaborated on the screenplays for the 2001 and 2004 Bridget Jones films, which would show Crispin Bonham-Carter (Mr Bingley in Pride and Prejudice) and Lucy Robinson (Mrs Hurst) in minor roles. The self-referential in-joke between the projects intrigued Colin Firth to accept the role of Mark Darcy, as it gave him an opportunity to ridicule and liberate himself from his Pride and Prejudice character. It's incredible , moreover, to notice how Colin Firth plays  Mark Darcy exactly as he played Fitzwilliam Darcy to show this sense of continuity or referentiality .

The producers never found a solution to incorporate the Jones-Firth interview in the second film, but shot a spoof interview with Firth as himself and Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones after a day's wrap. If you haven't seen it yet , enjoy it now. Here it is!!! It's such fun!

The second book, The Edge of Reason,  was loosely inspired to Persuasion. But what about the movie? I can't find any Wentworth or Anne in that film.What about you? Any clue?

Analogies between Bridget Jones's Diary and Pride and Prejudice

The theme of marriage is crucial in Jane Austen's works and it is of relevant importance in P&P from the first page on. In today’s society a woman can usually provide for herself, since the majority has got an education and a job. In this way they are not economically dependent on a husband. It is no longer a woman’s “career” to get married. Still, it is of importance to get a husband. Marriage is still an ideal, and can thus be said to be important to many women. Today, as at that time, most of young womens dream about a good marriage.
Having a career is all well and good, but not if it is at the expense of finding Mr. Right.
In Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones’s Diary, these ideals are a theme. The aim for Elizabeth and Bridget is to find a good man. And in their story of finding Mr. Right there are similarities in the action and the characters. I will start with the character who distinguishes themself most, Mark Darcy and Mr. Darcy

Darcy’s character in both Pride and Prejudice and Bridet Jones’s Diary is similar.
First of all the name is the same, but as we get to know the character we can also recognize traits of the original Darcy.
In Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth overhears a conversation between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley when he talks about her at the first party:
“Which do you mean?” Mr. Darcy asked and turned round. He looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and said: “Well, she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me” (....) Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him"
In the film version Mark Darcy does the same as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice; he disparages Bridget within her earshot.
The first impression of Darcy in both cases  is not the best, seen from the female characters’ point of view. Both of them misunderstand him. And he is easily misunderstood because of his beaviour. I will add that in the film versions of the books we see much more of his feelings. By physically seeing the character; you can see expressions and bodylanguage. Both stories are about first impressions, and what they can entail. Pride and Prejudice was also originally entitled First Impressions.

The difference between these two creations is that Mr. Darcy changes in Pride and Prejudice. He realizes that his behaviour towards Elizabeth has been supercillious. He excuses himself to her, and they have a conversation and resolve all misunderstanings when they meet at Pemberly.  Bridget’s Mark Darcy does not change, but he tells her that he likes her just the way she is, and that leads to Bridget’s misunderstandings being cleared up.

In Pride and Prejudice we meet Wickham. The first impression of him is that he is Mr. Right. He is handsome, charming and easy to speak with. Elizabeth develops a good relationship with him, and she finds him attractive. Wickham also shows interest in her:
"Wickham and another officer accompanied the sisters back to Longbourn and on the way he was almost exclusively engaged to her".
Our Wickham in Bridget Jones’s Diary is Daniel Cleaver. He is handsome, out- going, charming and popular among the women, like Wickham.  Daniel claims that Mark had a relationship with his former fiancée, while the truth is that it was Daniel who had a relationship with Mark’s former wife. Wickham claims that Mr. Darcy has not fulfilled old Mr. Darcy’s wish, and given Wickham his living . We know the truth is that Wickham was instead a libertine and a rogue.  In both cases the heroine believes in Wickham/Cleaver and this leads to sympathy for Wickham /Daniel and dislike of Darcy.

Last but not least, the name Pemberley is the name of Mr. Darcy’s property in Pride and Prejudice. In Bridget Jones’s Diary,  Bridget works at Pemberley Press.

Bridget Jones's Diary is one of the funniest Austen inspired movies I've ever seen. I simply love it. The sequel, Bridget Jones-The Edge of  Reason was amusing but not "to the point" as the first one. I read somewhere that , instead,  with the books it is just the opposite: the sequel is even better than the first novel. I can't say about the novels, because I haven't read them yet, actually.  However , I was glad I could revisit their adaptations and appreciate Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in their hilarious roles once more after such  a long time.

Thursday 16 September 2010


Victoria reading Jane Austen
Victoria Connelly was brought up in Norfolk and studied English Literature at Worcester University before becoming a teacher in North Yorkshire. After getting married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales, she moved to London where she lives with her artist husband and a mad springer spaniel. She has had 3 novels published in Germany - the first of which was made into a film. She is the author of "Molly's Millions". Today her latest Austen-inspired novel, "A Weekend with Mr Darcy",  has been released and she is here to celebrate the great event with us .

Welcome , Victoria and thank you so much for being with us today! Here's my first question: “Dr Katherine Roberts couldn’t help thinking that a university lecturer in possession of a pile of paperwork must be in want of a holiday".
Your novel,” A Weekend with Mr Darcy”, starts with the words above. What are you in want of, Victoria, instead? Success, money, a Mr Darcy, a holiday or what?

At the moment, I live in the suburbs of London but it is my dream to live in the countryside – somewhere beautiful and quiet with rolling hills and close to the sea like Dorset, Devon or Sussex in the south of England. I’d love to surround myself with animals there – lots of dogs and chickens and maybe some pigs!

Where would you spend your ideal weekend with your Mr Darcy?
Again somewhere quiet and beautiful where we can take long walks together with our dog – a romantic cottage with a real fire would be wonderful – somewhere like the Highlands of Scotland or the north Norfolk coast.

If I’m not wrong, you are a teacher of English like me. So, you are the perfect person to whom I can ask for devices and techniques to convince my teenage male students to read Jane Austen. Do we need a miracle? Have you ever succeeded?
I’ve never had the pleasure of teaching Jane Austen in school but I would tell the boys that – if they want to be successful in love – they have to read Jane Austen! Girls will love them if they know their Austen!

The heroines of your novel, Katherine and Robyn, are in search for a Mr Darcy. What makes him a cult? An evergreen dashing hero?
I think Mr Darcy is a hero for all time because he isn’t afraid to admit to his mistakes. He’s also willing to change for the woman he loves and that’s irresistible! And he cares deeply for Elizabeth and does all he can to safeguard her and her family.

 Robyn and Katherine are both Austen addicts. Are they inspired to real ladies you know?
I recently went on a holiday with ‘Pride and Prejudice Tours’ and met some amazing Jane Austen addicts – they’d read all the books and knew all the different film adaptations. I’ve been an Austen addict for years too and never tire of the stories so I’ve used a lot of my own passions in my two heroines.

Who’s your favourite and least favourite Mr Darcy on screen?
My favourite Mr Darcy is Colin Firth – his face is so expressive but I loved Matthew Macfadyen’s gentleness and vulnerability too – I love the scene when he stumbles over the words ‘I love you’. I don’t think I have a least favourite one although I’ve seen clips from an old BBC version where Mr Darcy looks very severe indeed!

Who’s your favourite Austen heroine? Does she resemble you in anyway?
I think it would have to be Elizabeth Bennet because she’s so fiercely loyal to her family. She has a great sense of humour and isn’t afraid to speak her mind – to Mr Darcy, Mr Collins and Lady Catherine – she’s amazing! Am I like her? I think we all like to imagine we have Elizabeth’s spark, don’t we?

What’s the appeal of Jane Austen’s world to you? Did it influence your lifestyle somehow?
There’s something very special about Jane Austen’s books. I love her wit and her wisdom and the fact that her characters make mistakes but are allowed second chances like Anne Elliot in Persuasion. It gives you hope. Has it influenced my lifestyle? Well, I’m a writer like Jane Austen and I adore storytelling and believe in happy endings.

 If you could time travel and live in the same era as Jane Austen, what would you miss the most? What would you like the most?
I feel the cold terribly so I don’t think I would get on with the fashions the women wore in Jane Austen’s time. I like my nice warm trousers and big walking boots! I’d also miss travelling by car although I do like the idea of a horse and carriage! I’d also miss the internet and email. I’d have to become a great letter writer like Jane and her sister, Cassandra. But I’d love to see the men dressed in Regency fashions – they’re so much more elegant than today’s baggy jeans and scruffy trainers!

When did you read your first Austen novel and which one was it?
I read Pride and Prejudice when I was 17 and Sense and Sensibility when I was 19. I was hooked for life!

If you could change the fate of one or two of Jane Austen’s characters, who would you help to be happier?
It would have to be Charlotte Lucas – Elizabeth Bennet’s friend who marries Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice. Poor Charlotte! Although she says she’s not looking for love in marriage, I can’t help feeling sorry for her.

A Weekend with Mr Darcy is the first in a trilogy dedicated to the adventures of contemporary Austen addicts. Can you tell us about this project of yours?
I’m writing three separate novels about Austen addicts with each book set in a different Austen location: Hampshire, Lyme Regis and Bath. I first had the idea last summer and got very excited about it because it was a great excuse to read all the books and watch all the films again! I’ve also been visiting all the settings too like Jane Austen’s cottage in Chawton and Lyme Regis and Bath. All are so beautiful – I’ve put lots of photos up on my website I’m loving writing these books.

A Weekend with Mr Darcy has been released today,  16th September,  in the UK and in July 2011 it'll come out  in the US. How would you invite people to buy and read it in ... let’s say... 50 words?
 A Weekend with Mr Darcy is a romantic comedy about two couples who meet and fall in love at a Jane Austen conference in beautiful rural Hampshire. But there’s more than one person hiding a secret and my heroines, Katherine and Robyn, have a few battles to fight before finding true love.

 I’ve seen on your site that some of your books have been translated into German. Are there any plans for a translation and publication of your books in Italian or any other language?
My novel, Molly’s Millions, is going to be translated into Turkish and A Weekend with Mr Darcy  is being offered for world rights at the moment. I’d love to be published in Italian – it’s such a beautiful language. My second novel published in Germany was set in Venice so Italy is very special to me.

Thanks a lot Victoria for your kind answers and I wish you great success with "A Weekend with Mr Darcy" ...  which I'm going to read and review soon! 
You're welcome , Maria Grazia. These are really great questions and I had great fun answering them.  Thank you!

Wednesday 15 September 2010


Mr Darcy / Colin Firth has been voted Britain's best-looking actor, beating fellow Hollywood hunks Rupert Everett and Clive Owen.
The 50-year-old actor, who got an Oscar nomination this year for his film 'A Single Man', won a million hearts playing William Darcy in the BBC's adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice' in 1995.
Everett, 51, famous for his role in 'My Best Friend's Wedding', came second in the list, followed by 'Closer' star Owen, 45, in the poll conducted by Wizard Jeans, Daily Star reported.
Who would you have voted as Britain's best looking actor? Do you agree with the result?

Are you ready for a new modern version of Sense and Sensibility? A new Austen-inspired film is coming out in 2011: Scents and Sensibility . We don't know much about it. It is in production. These are the names in the cast : Marla Sokoloff  and Ashley Williams will be Elinor and Marianne; then  Nick Zano (Brandon), Danielle Chuchran (Margaret Dashwood ), Brad Johnson ( Edward Farris ), Jason Celaya ( Willoughby ) . Director , Brian Brough.

Ashley Williams

Danielle Chuchran
Nick Zano
Jason Celaya

Marla Sokoloff

C. Allyn Pierson has kindly been my guest on "Talking Jane Austen" for two weeks and has given away two autographed copies of her latest publication: Mr Darcy's Little Sister", a new sequel for Pride and Prejudice with Georgiana Darcy as the protagonist.
Have you read our interesting chat?    PART I IS HERE and PART II HERE

Last week SUZAN wond her copy. Let's see who the lucky lady this week is. has decided it must be number ...1 !!! So CHATTY, congratulations! You are the winner of the second copy. You'll receive the book directly from C. Allyn Pierson with her dedication.  Enjoy reading this new lovely Austen sequel!

I'll wait for you tomorrow, for another session of "Talking Jane Austen". My guest this time, Victoria Connelly. Tomorrow 16th September her new novel, A Weekend with Mr Darcy will be released in the UK.  Stay tuned!!!