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My guest today has been one 'busy' lady of late. Denise O'Hara is here with pictures and thoughts from her recent trip to California. Through her rambles, somehow Denise is still finding some time to write. She has one new book, Legally Darcy, that recently released and another one on the way soon! Isn't that exciting! Now, back to her trip, how does that tie in with Jane Austen, you may ask? Read on! :)
Thank you for hosting me today, Janet! I've just recently gotten back from a lovely visit to California, which I enjoyed immensely!
Among other sites, my husband and I spent a few days exploring the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. At one point I found myself overlooking a breathtaking mountain range and do you know what was going through my head at that very moment?
It was the scene from the1995 version of Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth is touring the Peaks, along with her aunt and uncle Gardiner. I could see Mr. Gardiner's pleasant face saying to his niece, "Nature and culture in harmony, you see, Lizzy. Wildness and artifice, and all in the one perfect county."
I seriously pictured him saying those words as I looked out over the majestic scenery in front of me. I silently agreed with him.
As we hiked the hills and trails in the Parks, my husband pointed out that an upcoming trail was a lengthy one. I looked at him and replied, "Oh, I'm fine. I could walk all day!"
Mrs. Hurst's words about Elizabeth after she had walked to Netherfield to see Jane echoed in my mind and were now applied to myself. "Well, we must allow her to be an excellent walker, I suppose. But her appearance this morning – she really looked almost wild."
With a smile on my face I smoothed down my wind-blown hair, filled with a new determination to prove I too was 'an excellent walker.'
If you've ever had the pleasure of driving the long, winding mountain roads which bring you into the parks, and pulling over as each turn brings unexpected beauty into view, you may have thought of Elizabeth walking in the hills near her aunt's hometown. I certainly did. : )
Mrs. Gardener called out to her niece, "Elizabeth, be careful! How could I face your father if you took a fall?"
Elizabeth turns and looks at the vast scenery below her and sighs. "Beautiful!"
Later Elizabeth says, "I think I should be quite happy to stay my whole life in Derbyshire."
As I said, these were scenes that the 1995 P and P brought to life. Jane Austen had left these particulars to the reader's imagination. Her masterpiece had perfectly captured the moment, leading us to use our own knowledge of the area by saying, "It is not the object of this work to give a description of Derbyshire, nor of any of the remarkable places through which their route thither lay; Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth, Birmingham, etc. are sufficiently known. A small part of Derbyshire is all the present concern. To the little town of Lambton, the scene of Mrs. Gardiner's former residence, and where she had lately learned some acquaintance still remained, they bent their steps, after having seen all the principal wonders of the country."
Still, I couldn't help but appreciate the visual help the various versions have included as
Elizabeth and the Gardiners’ open carriage traveled down the road to Pemberley.
As we left the Parks, Mr. Gardener was saying, "I think we’ve seen woods and groves enough to satisfy even your enthusiasm for them, Lizzy."
And that is the magic of Jane Austen's work. Her characters have become such a part of so many of our lives, that we take them with us on adventures. And it enhances our own experiences.
As a writer of JAFF, I find myself thinking of Darcy and Elizabeth in everyday situations I encounter. A friend's recent legal case brought to mind the Proposal scene from P and P. Elizabeth's quick, decisive remarks showcase her sharp mind and ability to present convincing arguments which left Darcy rethinking his position. She would make a perfect lawyer.
That led me to write Legally Darcy. To stay true, or at least pretty close, to their ages in the original, Elizabeth would need to be a law student. However, others can't help but recognize her great potential. Darcy's studious path and background easily places him in a successful practice. That turned out to be the premise of a Modern adaptation entitled, Legally Darcy.
Excerpt from Legally Darcy
“Cancel my appointments for the day,” the voice from a moment ago stated as the door opened a crack.
Elizabeth tried to keep her expression neutral as she realized that the man must indeed be Mr. Darcy. She hoped that this type of behavior was an exceedingly rare occurrence. She leaned to the side, trying to catch a glimpse of the figure in person. However, he was turned far to the side, likely looking at Charles as he spoke.
She'd seen a few pictures of the man, of course. However, a picture was not always worth its thousand words. For example, what she remembered of Darcy was of a somewhat distant man of perfect posture. Absolutely nothing of his images mentioned that he was also a raving, raging lunatic when his temper was crossed.
“But Will,” Charles’ voice came nervously from further in the room. “There is the Duncan case. The attorney is coming by this afternoon to touch base on next week’s court hearing.”
“He will have to wait until tomorrow,” Darcy stated with a flippant tone that made Elizabeth's jaw drop. She took in a breath as she scowled. “I've no mind to argue details and nuances with him today.”
What nerve! A man of his position knew full well how important such meetings were. To brush someone off so casually and with so little warning, and all because he did not feel like dealing with it? Surely, this wasn't the same Darcy that everyone respected, hated, or wanted to emulate. This man must be some hopeless slacker in the family that the real Mr. Darcy felt obligated to employ!
“Then there is still the internship we were discussing,” Charles said quickly, dashing Elizabeth's hopes of his conversant being some childish assistant. Those she knew how to deal with, but if this was indeed was her new employer… You need this internship, the voice in the back of her mind scolded, warning her against confronting the man in question. She would have to deal with all types in the field. She might as well learn to live with an arrogant superior as soon as possible.
She'd still rather eat raw chicken liver than do so.
You NEED this internship! She reminded herself sternly once again.
“What internship?” Darcy asked after a brief silence.
Elizabeth jumped in her seat at the annoyance and puzzlement in his tone. He'd taken so long to respond to Charles that she almost assumed that she might have spoken her stern thought aloud.
“Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” Charles prompted. “She is seeking out an internship with our firm. Her background is top notch for a student.”
“I've even less use for an intern today than I do the Duncans,” Darcy said with poorly concealed contempt, causing Elizabeth to bristle in her seat. Her fingers dug into the folds of her black slacks as her lips pierced themselves into a hard, thin line.
“We discussed her interview only yesterday,” Charles protested as he gazed over the oddly haphazard desk and some scattered papers on the floor. What in the world happened while I was out?
“Charles, I am at my wit's end with gutter-trash trying to use this company as their stepping stone into society,” Darcy said with such a sharp tone that Charles took a step back in surprise.
“Elizabeth is an exceptional candidate, Darcy.” Charles floundered, his thoughts in disarray. He could not remember Darcy mentioning other interns as of late.
“Why is her application coming in so late?” Darcy asked impatiently. “Records aren't worth much if one does not use them promptly. I thought every candidate in the city flooded our office with requests weeks ago. I remember that nonsense well enough.”
“Would you just take a few minutes to look at her application? She’s at the top of her class. She's had trouble securing her internship,” Charles replied reluctantly, looking worriedly at the crack in the door. “Darcy, please close the door a moment, she is just—”
“JUST a waste of time, Charles!” Darcy snapped with growing exasperation as his hand fell away from the still open door.
“Darcy! The young lady is—”
“I won't hear it, Charles!” the man said impatiently.
Charles was alarmed at the set of the man's jaw and the red that was blossoming in his face. He'd never seen Darcy so angry in all the years they'd known each other.
“Have you considered that there might be a reason she cannot secure an internship? She was homeschooled throughout high school. Her credentials are likely not even worth the paper they are printed on! Look Charles, I’m sorry you’ve been duped. Miss Homeschooled doesn’t have what it takes to tempt me into wasting my time.”
Darcy shook his head and made his way out into the lobby, before he said something he would regret. He needed a moment to think over the situation, to regain his composure. The intern was unfortunate, especially in the timing. However, I stand firm in my belief. The others would not pass up a promising intern. His mood did not improve as he saw a young woman rounding the corner, the door swinging shut behind her.
Now that is not where I wanted this excerpt to end! How you have left us hanging, dear lady! :) Yes, that definitely makes me want to read more! How about you, Readers? Poor Lizzy. Darcy was certainly in a foul mood and she had to hear the worst of it directed at her. Wonder what has him in such a fit? I must read to find out!
Ms. O'Hara, I like that you are tying in homeschooling with this story. That should be an interesting take and I look forward to reading what you do with it. Thank you for stopping by today. You have had a hectic schedule for some time now so I am happy we finally were able to have you visit.
It was interesting to read of your trip and see your pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us. I loved how you saw Lizzy and had so many flashbacks of scenes from Pride & Prejudice as you traveled. That was neat!
Denise O'Hara is offering a giveaway of three eBooks! You read correctly! Three eBooks and the giveaway is international! Thank you for such a generous giveaway. I know the readers of my blog will be happy about that. Readers, please leave a comment with info or some way I can reach you should you be the winner. The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 22nd of May. Good luck to all.