As I’ve been writing The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, it’s made me spend a lot of time thinking about the two main characters and their relationship. Although I love Darcy as a character, I sometimes wonder what makes him so appealing to me–besides having been played by Colin Firth in the miniseries :). After all, Darcy is condescending, rude, and distant for much of the book. Why do I and so many other women like (or even love) the character? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, because I think both P&P and its appeal to readers are complex and multi-layered. So I think there are many facets to Darcy’s appeal.
However, I think one aspect of his appeal is that he admits he’s wrong and changes his behavior. And he does so because he loves Elizabeth (also because it’s the right thing to do, but that’s not so romantic). Since many female readers identify with Elizabeth, such devotion is likely to make them sigh. I mean, admit it, how many time do you fantasize about the man in your life admitting he’s wrong and changing his behavior for your sake? It’s almost as good as being willing to ask for directions! Yes, I know Elizabeth admits she’s wrong and changes as well, but it feels to me that her alterations aren’t as big and it’s not as difficult for her to make them (she’s not as proud). So, Darcy’s sacrifices for his love’s sake appear to be bigger — and therefore more romantic. And I believe that is one reason so many women love him…..