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Ms. Winslow, take it away.
The Honorable Mr. Darcy?
How well did Darcy treat his cousin Anne? Part of our enchantment with the man (and the reason
changed her views about him from negative to positive) comes from discovering that
he was truly honorable after all. He did not disrespect his father’s wishes. He
did not cheat Wickham out of the living intended for him. In fact, he earned
the respect (even affection) of his tenants and servants and was affable to the
poor. In short, Darcy was a man who held high principles and lived up to them. Elizabeth
But did he treat his cousin Anne accordingly? I had wondered about this before, but it became a real issue when I started writing The Ladies of
Even though Darcy obviously didn’t feel bound by his mother’s and aunt’s
desire that he should marry his cousin, I wanted to know that he treated Anne
kindly and considerately. After all, she had heard all her life that he was supposed
to marry her, and it was just possible that she believed it and had her heart
set on it! Rosings Park
Have you ever worried about that, or am I the only one? Anyway, that’s what was on my mind when I wrote the prologue for the book (greatly condensed here):
Two things Anne de Bourgh understood from a very early age: first, that she was loved by her father, and second, that she would one day marry Fitzwilliam Darcy. These unalterable facts served as the sure foundation of her young life… But nothing lasts forever, it seems, not even sure foundations. One pillar of support crumbled when Anne’s father suddenly died a month shy of her fourteenth birthday. A few years later, the other – her betrothal to Fitzwilliam Darcy – was cast into serious jeopardy upon the arrival at Rosings of a young woman by the name of Elizabeth Bennet.
For better or for worse, Jane Austen gives us very little clue to the relationship between Anne and Mr. Darcy. There are no interactions between them recorded in Pride and Prejudice. In fact, Anne doesn’t have a single word of dialogue! All we’re told on the subject is
impression at the end of chapter 31: Elizabeth
Elizabeth looked at Darcy to see how cordially he assented to his cousin’s praise; but neither at that moment nor at any other could she discern any symptom of love; and from the whole of his behaviour to Miss de Bourgh she derived this comfort for Miss Bingley, that he might have been just as likely to marry her, had she been his relation.
That’s not much to go on, but the good news is it meant I could fill in that giant blank any way I wanted!
Obviously, Darcy belongs with
, not with Anne or Miss Bingley.
That is a truth universally acknowledged! But it would tarnish even their
incandescent union if too much carnage and destruction had been left in their
wake in order to achieve it. Because of the kind of person she is, none of us
mind that Miss Bingley’s ambitions are frustrated. But Anne was an innocent
bystander. I would hate to see her heart trampled. Elizabeth
So I set about developing her relationship with Darcy as I saw fit – some insights into past events, Anne’s current feelings, and some meaningful interaction between the two as the story goes along. I also wanted to show some signs of a burgeoning friendship between Anne and Elizabeth. All this with an eye to the three of them coming through with mutual understanding and respect. Above all, I wanted to be sure that Anne (as well as the reader) had no reason to feel that Darcy had dealt with her dishonorably.
Phew! That was a tall order, but you’ll be glad to know Darcy’s good character comes through undamaged. Yay! What might surprise you more, though, is how Anne was at work behind the scenes. She not only didn’t stand in the way of Darcy and Elizabeth’s happiness; at some personal sacrifice, she actively promoted it. Sounds to me like she deserves a HEA of her own. Don’t you agree?
At first glance, Anne de Bourgh doesn’t seem a promising heroine. But beneath that quiet exterior, there’s a lively mind at work, imagining how one day she will escape her poor health and her mother’s domination to find love and a life worth living.
Now Anne finally gets the chance to speak her mind. But Lady Catherine demands equal time. Even Charlotte Collins and Mrs. Jenkinson get into the act. Chapter by chapter, these ladies of
take turns telling the tale from the moment Elizabeth Bennet sets foot in
Hunsford, changing everything. Is Anne heartbroken or relieved to discover Mr.
Darcy will never marry her? As an heiress, even a sickly one, she must have
other suitors. Does Lady Catherine gracefully accept the defeat of her original
plan or keep conniving? Will Anne’s health ever improve? And what really
happened to her father? Rosings
Complete in itself, this work expands The Darcys of Pemberley series laterally, beginning during the timeline of Pride and Prejudice and carrying beyond to reveal the rest of Anne’s story. When a young lady is to be a heroine… something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way. (Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey)
Shannon Winslow is giving away one eBook of The Ladies of Rosings Park and this giveaway is international. Please leave a comment to enter. What do you think of Darcy's treatment of Anne? Do you think him honourable? Do you think Anne deserves a HEA of her own? I certainly do and I've a feeling that Shannon Winslow is going to give her one! Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM on the 8th of April. Good luck to all.
Thank you for visiting my blog again, Shannon. It is always such a pleasure having you stop by and talk about your books. I agree with your sentiments that Darcy belongs with none other than Elizabeth. That definitely is a truth universally acknowledged! :) I look forward to learning more about your book, and I wish you the best with The Ladies of Rosings Park. Please come back for a visit anytime.