Pride and Prejudice’s Indelible Influence by Laurel Ann Nattress (with a Book Giveaway!)
Hi Jeane, thanks again for hosting me during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. The book premiered last week and I could not be more pleased by the reception it received during its launch party at the Sundance Square Barnes & Noble during the 2011 Jane Austen Society of North America’s conference in Ft. Worth, TX.
Jane Austen’s second published novel, Pride and Prejudice, is by far her most well-known and popular works. In fact, it continually pops into the top five “favorite books of all time” lists, and Mr. Darcy is equally acclaimed as the most romantic man in all fiction. There are hundreds of Mr. Darcy does “this and that” sequels and retellings in print, and many movie adaptations gracing the screen and television of our cherished P&P. Websites and blogs also herald its charms. Here I am at one of them today!
With all this adoration and praise thrown at its feet, it is no surprise that there are seven Pride and Prejudice-inspired stories in my new anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. I am very happy to offer this preview of them with you today:
“The Riding Habit,” by Pamela Aidan
It is April 1814, almost sixteen months since the wedding of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, and the happily married couple is in London for the Season. The months have been full for Elizabeth, but since removing to Town, she has discovered that the blunt words of Lady Catherine held more truth than she knew. Negotiating Society is complicated, and it promises to become more so as she prepares for Georgiana’s coming out ball. Why, then, must her beloved Fitzwilliam insist she learn to ride a horse now before the eyes of them all?
“Mr. Bennet Meets His Match,” by Amanda Grange On his daughters’ wedding day, Mr. John Bennet’s mind drifts back to the events of twenty-three years before, and the events leading to his own marriage . . . Encouraged by his parents to marry sooner rather than later and thereby provide a new generation of Bennet heirs for the estate, John laughed at their hurry. However, a meeting with his Cousin Collins, who was next in line for the entail, and an unfortunate accident, made him reconsider his position, and the proximity of the lively, pretty Miss Jane Gardiner sealed his fate.
“Faux Jane,” by F. J. Meier (Frank Delaney & Diane Meier)
A rich young American actress anxious to marry an English Lord buys a “signed first edition” of Pride and Prejudice as a gift to impress his rare book collecting mother – which, of course, is a fake. The actress’s friends are the story’s two protagonists – a fashionable New York photographer and her chic-restaurant owner husband – they’re Nicola and Charles Scott. The story mirrors many of the snob and society nuances excelled in by Jane Austen – on whom the restaurateur, Charlie (as his wife calls him: he’s “Charles” to everyone else) is encyclopedic. With the help of their butler-manservant, a former hood named Uncle Julius, Charles and Nicola crack the fraud.
“When Only A Darcy Will Do,” by Beth Pattillo
Elizabeth Brown hopes her bootleg tour of Jane Austen’s London will bring in some quick extra cash, but when a real-live Mr. Darcy shows up for the tour, her day takes an unexpected turn. Elizabeth has very real problems. Her father’s lost everything in the economic downturn, her parents have split up, and she has no idea where she’ll get the money she needs for grad school tuition. Her afternoon with Mr. Darcy, though, shows her that even in the midst of turmoil, happiness can arrive in the most unexpected ways.
“Me and Mr. Darcy, Again…,” by Alexandra Potter
Mr. Darcy is every woman’s fantasy. But what happens when he becomes one woman’s reality? In 2007 Emily traveled from New York to England to go on a Jane Austen-inspired literary tour. There she met and fell in love with Spike, an English journalist.
She also met Mr. Darcy… Or did she? She can never be sure if it really happened, or it was her over-active imagination. Now, four years later, she’s had a huge row with Spike and is back in London nursing a broken heart. And there’s only one person who can mend it. Mr. Darcy….
“Letters to Lydia,” by Maya Slater
While visiting her newly married sister Charlotte Collins, Maria Lucas writes to her best friend Lydia Bennet of her experiences in Kent. Top on her list of tittle-tattle is the budding romance of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Present throughout the Hunsford episode, which culminates in Darcy’s first disastrous proposal of marriage to Elizabeth, we are privileged to Maria’s own account of their romance from the point of view of her naïve sixteen-year-old imaginings. Although she misinterprets everything she observes, it turns out that she is partly responsible for bringing about the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy.
“Intolerable Stupidity,” by Laurie Viera Rigler
Well hidden from the ordinary world, in a little-known corner of jurisprudential hell known as the Court of Intolerable Stupidity, a legal drama of literary proportions unfolds. The plaintiff is none other than the most famous romantic hero of all time, Mr. Darcy. The defendants are the authors who dared write sequels, adaptations, and inspired-by’s of his Creator’s most beloved work, Pride and Prejudice. One of those works, whose author was tried and convicted in absentia, is so popular that its salacious swimming-in-the-lake scene has resulted in Darcy’s being forced to endure a perpetual state of shivering wetness in a transparent white shirt. For when Darcy’s adoring public isn’t throwing water on him, his umbrella breaks in the midst of a downpour. And now, between the zombies and the vampires, Darcy and his wife Elizabeth are at their wit’s end. So is defense attorney Fritz Williams, who not only fights a losing battle in a kangaroo court ruled by Darcy’s tyrannical aunt, the Honorable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but also his secret infatuation with prosecuting attorney Tawny Wolfson. Who has her own secret: a hopeless addiction to the illegal miniseries that she is supposed to abhor.
It is quite amazing how Pride and Prejudice’s indelible influence has become such a part of culture and how it inspired all of these great stories. I hope that you enjoy them, and the other fifteen stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It.
A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com, a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose.com and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt.com, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.
Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966
Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It
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