I want to thank Janet for allowing me to join her readers today as part of my blog tour for the launch of Mr. Darcy’s Rival. The book begins when Elizabeth goes to visit her friend, Charlotte, wife of Mr. Collins, the clergyman in the village of Hunsford in Kent. They live just across the lane from Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who happens to be Mr. Darcy’s aunt.
Lady Catherine’s daughter, Miss Anne de Bourgh, is one we do not know too much about from Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice. In it, she is described as pale, sickly, and cross. We also know she is promised in marriage to her cousin, none other than Mr. Darcy. I would like to interview Miss de Bourgh today. She has a little more substantial part in my novel and we discover a little more about her – including a secret! Join me in my interview with her.
Kara Louise – Miss de Bourgh, thank you for joining me today.
Miss de Bourgh – I am most honoured to be here.
KL – I think a lot of readers wonder who you truly are. Jane Austen gave us only a few descriptions of you, and several of those were merely people’s opinions. Several modern authors have attempted to ‘sketch your character,’ as Elizabeth Bennet would say. What do you think of those sketches?
Miss dB – I am most disheartened by the portrayals I have received in many novels – and in the film adaptations, as well. I am convinced that most people truly do not know who I am and probably have no wish to make my acquaintance. To own the truth, even my family does not know me well.
KL – I am sorry to hear that. Let us begin by telling the readers what you enjoy doing. One of the activities Miss Austen said you enjoy is going out in your pony cart.
Miss dB – (nodding) Yes. I do enjoy that as there is very little exertion in it. You see, while I am described as pale and sickly in Pride and Prejudice, that is due to the breathing difficulties I experience. It is more severe at certain times of the year, and when I exert myself too much. Riding in the pony cart allows me to enjoy the grounds about Rosings without having to walk. My father used to take me out with him. I really loved him, and I was deeply grieved when he died. Since his death, my mother has become more and more severe in restricting my activities so I would not labour in breathing, particularly when a certain gentleman visited.
KL – She did not want your cousin, Mr. Darcy, to know about it?
Miss dB – Oh, she greatly feared he would not wish to marry me if he knew, but I think he has known for quite some time that something was wrong. We did what we could, however. I would drink elderberry juice when I was younger and then elderberry wine. It seemed to help a little. If I felt my breathing was becoming greatly laboured when guests were visiting, I would excuse myself and go to my room.
KL –Miss Austen also commented on how you often spoke quietly with Miss Jenkinson.
Miss dB -Yes, my companion has been a wonderful support to me.
KL – In what way?
Miss dB – Well, if you and the readers promise not to tell anyone, I will tell you a secret.
KL – Our lips are sealed!
Miss dB – I am a writer. And when Mrs. Jenkinson and I are whispering quietly, or as Miss Austen says, I “speak very little, except in a low voice to Mrs. Jenkinson,” we are talking about either my writing or my novel.
KL – I think most people would be surprised by that. What do you enjoy about writing?
Miss dB – It allows me to – well, I must be discreet here – it allows me to live in a world where I am not sheltered or restricted, but I can be anyone, anywhere.
KL – What was the first book you wrote?
Miss dB – (laughing) It was a book called, “Girl in a Turret,”
KL – Why are you laughing?
Miss dB – Because Rosings has a turret, and I had a vivid imagination. I began the story when I was only about twelve or thirteen, but as I grew older, I continued to work on it and improved it.
KL – And do you have others?
Miss dB – I have one other that has been published. It is titled, “A Peculiar Engagement.”
KL – Can you tell us about that book?
Miss dB – Well, I do not want to give too much away, although some of your readers may already know that it is the story of what it was like growing up being promised in marriage to my cousin, Fitzwilliam Darcy.
KL – I think most of us would have no idea what it would be like to know from the youngest age that you were to marry your cousin.
Miss dB – It was not something we fully understood until we were a little older. As children we were good friends and enjoyed each other’s company. But as we grew older and matured, things changed. I think having that expectation caused a little discomfiture at times. But it was something we never spoke about to each other.
KL – I can imagine. Tell me, Miss de Bourgh, what you would want others to know about you that they might not know.
Miss dB – Well, I am quite a studier of characters, and if you would oblige me, I would like to read something to you that I wrote a year before Miss Elizabeth Bennet came to Kent to visit her friend, Mrs. Collins.
KL – Certainly. We would love to hear it.
Miss dB – This came to me after Fitzwilliam departed that year. I believed he did not love me, and I began to imagine the type of woman with whom he would likely fall in love. This is what I wrote down in my journal: She is intelligent, loves to read, enjoys going for walks, is generous, is compassionate, and is accomplished in playing and singing. She is witty and makes him laugh, stimulates him in conversation, does not always agree with him, does not concern herself with the trappings of society, is pretty, but not exceptionally beautiful. She will be a woman quite different from the type of women others would expect him to marry, and surprisingly, she may not even have the fortune and connections equal to his!
KL – That certainly sounds like someone we know.
Miss dB – I thought it would. Well, I am getting quite fatigued now, and there is much more I could say, but I will just encourage the readers to read Mr. Darcy’s Rival as well as the first nine chapters of my novel, “A Peculiar Engagement” over at Austen Variations to discover more about me.
Blurb for Mr. Darcy’s Rival:
Mr.Darcy has learned he must prepare himself when he and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, make their yearly visit to his aunt, particularly when it comes to Lady Catherine’s expectation that he marry her daughter, Anne.
This year, however, will throw in a few additional obstacles to Darcy’s peace of mind with the presence of a nephew on the de Bourgh side of the family, and quite unexpectedly, Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
An interrupted proposal, a letter written and unknowingly lost, a harsh accusation, and a rival all conspire to thwart Mr. Darcy in securing Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s affections when he visits his aunt at Rosings.
Will Elizabeth find the handsome and engaging Mr. Rickland more suited to her than Mr. Darcy? And will a novel she reads that was written secretly by Miss Anne de Bourgh help smooth the path to the couple finding true love?
And in the iBookstore!
You can begin reading those nine chapters of “A Peculiar Engagement” at Austen Variations.
Visit Kara Louise at her Website.
Kara Louise began writing Austen inspired stories in 2001 and has currently written 9 novels, including "Darcy's Voyage," which was released in Sept. 2010, and "Only Mr. Darcy Will Do" which was released in March, 2011, both published by Sourcebooks. Her other 7 novels are self-published, including the most recent release, "Mr. Darcy's Rival."
Kara grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles. She and her family moved to Kansas from Los Angeles in 1991, and in September, 2013, she and her husband moved to 5 wooded acres in the St. Louis area to be near their son and his wife. In May, 2014, they were blessed with their first granddaughter, whom they love and spoil endlessly. They also love animals, and have 5 cats, 1 dog, and a Shetland Pony.
Thank you for allowing Miss de Bourgh and me visit with you today!
It was my pleasure to have you both visit and the interview was interesting and entertaining. I enjoyed reading Miss de Bourgh's first nine chapters of "A Peculiar Engagement" over at Austen Variations. I felt it was quite enlightening and gave me a much better understanding of Miss Anne de Burgh and her childhood. I look forward to reading Mr. Darcy's Rival to get the rest of the story. Thank you both so much for visiting. Maybe we could have some tea and a little refreshment before Miss de Bourgh retires.
Kara Louise is offering a paperback (US) and an ebook (international) to anyone who comments. What is something you would like to know about Miss de Bourgh? Perhaps she will answer. (Of course, she will not be allowed to give away any spoilers from “Mr. Darcy’s Rival!”)
Please leave your contact information within your comment. We want you to have your share in the conversation and be able to be reached should you be the randomly selected winner. Thank you Kara Louise for the wonderful giveaway. Good luck to all of you. The giveaway will at 11:59 PM on June 22, 2015.