Author P. O. Dixon gives us the answer to this question in her new book, Love Will Grow. As my guest today, Ms. Dixon's commentary both enlightens and teases. I have to say, this new book is a 'must read' for me.
Ms. Dixon is graciously giving away one paperback copy of Love Will Grow. US only.
Please join me now in welcoming P. O. Dixon.
Imagine, if you will, a fairly simple premise. It is a story as old as time. Girl likes boy. Boy is oblivious. Girl engages her new best friend’s help in getting boy to notice her. New best friend’s response—I don’t know what you see in him, but I will do my best.
All the individuals involved may very well start out with the best of intentions, but once in motion, who is to say what the outcome will be. What happens when said boy only has eyes for the new best friend?
Now, substitute girl with Miss Anne de Bourgh, boy with Mr. Darcy, and new best friend with Miss Elizabeth Bennet and you have the makings of Love Will Grow.
In this Pride and Prejudice “what-if” story, Anne’s motives are clear. She clings to the notion that she and her cousin are to be married. No longer content to wait and wait for him to declare his intentions, she takes matters in her own hands. Who better than an impartial third party to aid her in her quest?
Anne’s expectations likely were formed by her mother’s hopes and dreams. Lady Catherine’s opinions are wonderfully articulated as follows:
“The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. It was the favorite wish of his mother, as well as of hers. While in their cradles, we planned the union…”
One might suppose the elderly woman was utterly ridiculous but for the fact that aristocratic families were known to arrange marriages for the purposes of consolidating wealth and power with no consideration for love. While the manner in which she pontificates her belief to Elizabeth is appalling, I suffer no qualms whatsoever over her ladyship’s persistence. In reading Pride and Prejudice, the character whose motive I call into question is Mr. Darcy. Granted, we only have Lady Catherine’s word that she and her beloved sister truly orchestrated the arrangement.
Still, what was Darcy thinking? Surely he must have been privy to Lady Catherine’s expectations. Did Darcy’s failure to put a quick and definitive end to his aunt’s dreams bolster her hope that he would indeed honour his own mother’s favorite wish? How many years did Lady Catherine carry on that way? Why allow her to labour under such a misapprehension for at least a decade or two? Is this another example of Darcy’s obliviousness? Was he merely indulgent of his aunt’s idiosyncrasies or even worst, patronizing or condescending? Poor Lady Catherine.
I will allow a kinder interpretation; he simply never gave Lady Catherine’s musings any serious consideration and hence his marriage proposal to Elizabeth in Hunsford.
Of course, a strict reading of Pride and Prejudice provides no true indication of Anne’s expectations either. Thus, it is left to the minds and pens of writers and fans to ponder two hundred years later.
In Love Will Grow, Elizabeth finds herself caught in the middle. From Anne’s perspective, who is better than Elizabeth to advocate on her behalf? Anne knows from frequent correspondence with her cousin Georgiana of Darcy’s admiration for the charming, albeit impertinent young woman. However, she finds it unfathomable that Elizabeth might be considered as a credible object for her cousin’s attentions—especially owing to her lack of fortune and her want of connections. Her haughty cousin must certainly deem any sort of alliance with the young woman an abhorrence.
What is Elizabeth to do? It’s one thing to watch someone suffer a case of unrequited love. It’s a whole other thing when that person is someone whom you would deem a friend. Surely she must do everything in her power to be of service to her new friend. Besides, Elizabeth is in Hunsford, and she has nothing better to do.
As for Darcy, he is content to allow Lady Catherine and Anne to think and to do what they will. He is his own master, and he has his own ideas about what his future life entails. Imagine Elizabeth’s surprise when she finds out what they are.
Who ever said the course of true love runs smoothly?
Thanks again to P.O. Dixon for generously offering one paperback copy of her book, Love Will Grow. (US only) To be entered in the giveaway please leave a comment below. Be sure and leave your email address and country of origin in the body of the comment. To prevent unwanted spam, leave your email address with an (at) instead of @. Winner will be chosen in a random drawing. Giveaway ends at midnight, March 28. Good luck.
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