Tag Archive | Mr. Darcy

Napoleon’s City of Smugglers and Mr. Darcy

I’m a guest today at Babblings of a Bookworm where I discuss Gravelines, an official City of Smugglers Napoleon set up on the French coast to encourage English smugglers near the end of the Napoleonic Wars.  The place plays a crucial role in my new book, The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy.  You can also sign up for an international giveaway and read an excerpt from the novel!

 

Cover Reveal for New Novel: Darcy’s Honor

Here’s the cover for my upcoming novel, Darcy’s Honor, which is available for pre-order on Amazon and Smashwords (and soon at BN.com, Kobo, and Apple).  It should be out on April 13 on Amazon and a little later elsewhere.

Also, there’s a cover reveal and giveaway at JustJane1813! http://justjane1813.com/2017/04/05/darcys-honor-by-victoria-kincaid-a-cover-reveal-giveaway/?replytocom=12628#respond

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The Secret of Mr. Darcy’s Enduring Appeal

I wrote this blog recently for the Austen Authors website.  Please share your ideas about what you think makes Darcy so appealing!

If you’re like me, since early childhood you have been exposed to a wide variety of romantic heroes:  fairy tale princes, billionaires, superheroes, spies, cops, bad boys, vampires…the list goes on and on.  But yet somehow Mr. Darcy always stands apart.  He isn’t Prince Charming or James Bond or Superman or Edward Cullen, yet Darcy somehow manages to feel more real and more romantic than his fictional counterparts.  Austen herself wrote some great romantic heroes, but Darcy is somehow different.  Why is that? What is his enduring appeal?

I don’t pretend to have all the answers.  Any fictional character with such a powerful grip on our collective imagination is bound to be a complex and multi-faceted cultural phenomenon.  But I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Darcy’s appeal as I’ve written stories about him, and I’ve identified some salient traits. While these characteristics are not necessarily completely unique to Darcy, they do set him apart from the majority of other romantic heroes.

  1. He is steadfast. She turns him down, but he still holds out hope for gaining her love.
  2. He is willing to overlook her family. Yeah, it takes him a while to get there, but he must love her an awful lot to put up with Mrs. Bennet, Lydia and Wickham. Talk about difficult in-laws…
  3. He likes her intelligence. This is a biggie.  He does think she has fine eyes, but what he really likes is her wit, cleverness, lively conversation.  Wouldn’t every woman like to be appreciated for her brain?
  4. He values her backbone. One of the first things he notices about her is that she stands up to him.  I always assume most women treat him like Miss Bingley, fawning over him and agreeing with everything he says. Darcy likes Elizabeth because she’s her own person.
  5. He defends her to other people. Isn’t this a female fantasy?  A guy who will tell other people (including catty women) you’re beautiful and smart when they’re criticizing you.
  6. He fixes problems for her. Yeah she generally takes care of her own issues, but she can’t fix the Lydia/Wickham fiasco. He wades into the scandal for her sake, and doesn’t even want to take credit for it.
  7. He’s played by Colin Firth (and that other guy who’s kind of cute too).

However, in my opinion #8 is the biggest single contributor to his enduring appeal:  Darcy is willing to change his behavior for Elizabeth’s sake.

Let me say it a different way:  He admits he was wrong and tries to be a better person so he can deserve her. 

He essentially starts as a selfish character (at least in the way he views love and marriage) and evolves into one whose primary consideration is the happiness of the woman he loves.  Who wouldn’t love that guy?

I don’t know about you, but this is a bigger fantasy for me than a guy who can play baccarat smoothly or defend me from gangsters (not just because those other situations don’t arise very often).  No matter how much you love your significant other, there are always ways you wish he or she could change to make your life easier.  But Darcy’s kind of change is a bit of a fantasy.  Real life is far more messy.  If your beloved does change his/her behavior for you, it tends to be with far more strife, more gradually, and over a longer period of time.  In other words, changing one’s behavior (at least the behavior that springs from one’s intrinsic nature and beliefs) is a long, painful process.

But in Pride and Prejudice, this rich, powerful, handsome man who could wed just about any woman, changes his behavior because he wants Elizabeth Bennet.  (Sigh. Swoon.) His willingness to change is a testament both to Elizabeth’s worth and to the power of love—which is part of the appeal of Pride and Prejudice itself.

Excerpt from My New Novel!

Here’s an excerpt from my latest (almost complete) Work in Progress, Mr. Darcy to the Rescue.  Mr. Darcy has just returned to Meryton and encounters Elizabeth on the road to Longbourn….

Elizabeth blinked rapidly. “You were coming to visit Longbourn?”
Why did she sound so incredulous? “Well…yes. I am not well acquainted with many of the other families in the neighborhood,” Darcy replied.
A ghost of her pert smile appeared on her lips. “I would not think you inclined to socialize at all. Did you not find country society confined and unvarying?”
Oh Good Lord! Had he said that? His anxiety in Elizabeth’s presence had undoubtedly caused him to say many foolish things the previous autumn. If only he could go back in time and slap himself!
“It is true that one might not find as great a variety of people here as in the city, but I find myself growing weary of the society in London as well.” Perhaps such a statement might mitigate any lingering bad feelings he had engendered.
“I would imagine so.” The smile was gone, in favor of a more contemplative look. Darcy wished he might provoke the expression again.
“May I accompany you to Longbourn?” He asked.
Elizabeth’s voice was all politeness, but she did not smile. “Of course. Everyone will be very surprised to see you!”
And hopefully pleased, Darcy thought. However, Elizabeth’s welcome was not as warm as he might have hoped. Perhaps she felt distressed to see him when she was now betrothed to another. Darcy took his horse’s reins, and the beast followed them as they walked down the lane.
Despite his unease, Darcy noticed how the exercise had brought out the color in Elizabeth’s complexion. Her cheeks were a delicate rosy hue, and her eyes were shining brightly in the afternoon sunshine. If only he could reach out and touch her cheek! Would her skin be as soft as he imagined? Or if he could stroke one of those delicate curls. He could easily imagine the silky texture under his fingertips.
Darcy averted his eyes and attempted to turn his thoughts to safer subjects. However, neither his body nor his mind seemed inclined to obey his better judgment. He might as well surrender to his desires and imagine taking her to bed. His whole body responded to that thought; Darcy suppressed a groan.
Elizabeth looked at him oddly. Had he made a noise? Good God! Not yet five minutes in her company and already I am making a fool of myself! Say something! “Ah…You are looking particularly good today, Miss Elizabeth,” he said. “Quite lovely.”
She gave him a blank stare. Did she not expect compliments from him? Then her lips twisted in an ironic smile. “I thought you found me tolerable, but not pretty enough to tempt you.”
What? “I beg your pardon?”
Elizabeth’s eyes were fixed on the road ahead. “At the Meryton Assembly, it was the reason you gave for declining to dance with me when Mr. Bingley suggested it.”
“Who told you I said that?” He demanded.
“No one. I overheard you.” The tone of her voice was cool, but she had to be angry.
Good Lord! Darcy rubbed his jaw. All he remembered from that evening was irritation at Bingley for dragging them to the provincial hell and annoyance that Bingley’s sister would not cease importuning him. Being in a foul mood, he might have said something cutting, but he did not recall voicing an opinion about Elizabeth. Now he wished he could go back in time and shoot himself. It would save a lot of trouble.
“I-I must apologize. I was in a particularly ill humor that evening or I would not have said something so patently false. I beg you to accept my apology.” Sweat dampened his collar and the front of his shirt. He tugged at his cravat where it seemed to be choking him.
Elizabeth turned her head to regard him, eyebrows raised in surprise. Had she believed him incapable of apologizing? But her eyes turned back to the road before he could decipher her expression. “Of course. It is of no matter.” Her voice was still frustratingly indifferent. Darcy would have preferred her to yell at him.
Damnation! Does she believe I am lying now and only seek to flatter her vanity? It would be a bitter irony indeed that the most beautiful woman of his acquaintance would think he only tolerated her.
Silence had prevailed for a minute or more; Darcy needed to say something. “I do find you quite lovely.”
Elizabeth’s gaze turned on him, one eyebrow raised. Blast! She does not understand me at all. “Believe me. I do not indulge in idle flattery.” Oh, he was making a hash of this! She would believe him incapable of conducting a simple conversation with a woman.
And she would be quite correct.
Elizabeth tugged her pelisse so it covered more of her bodice. The early spring days were still quite cool. “You have now determined I am handsome enough to tempt you?”
The words hung in the air between them, suggesting meanings Darcy was certain Elizabeth had not intended.
“That is—I mean— ” She blushed quite becomingly. “You would be tempted to dance with me now?”
“Indeed,” Darcy responded quickly. “If you recall, I asked you to dance at the Netherfield ball.”
“Yes, I remember.” Her voice was soft. Was it a good memory for her?

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth is Nominated for a RONE Award!

The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth has been nominated for a RONE award through InD’tale magazine!  I’m excited and still recovering from the shock 🙂  It’s a wonderful honor and so unexpected.  Secrets is the only JAFF in the historical category, so I encourage everyone to vote for it.  http://indtale.com/2015-rone-awards-week-two

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Blurb for New Book Pride and Proposals

Here is a draft of the blurb for my upcoming book, Pride and Proposals. It’s amazing how hard these things are to write given how short they are! I welcome any feedback about it.  Too much information about the plot?  Not enough?  Just right?  Thanks for your help!

What would happen if Mr. Darcy proposed…too late?

Everyone comes to a crossroads, a defining moment that changes the rest of one’s life. In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy has fallen devastatingly, irrevocably in love with Elizabeth Bennet. He visits Hunsford Parsonage intending to propose. But when he arrives…Darcy discovers that Elizabeth has just accepted a proposal from Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam.

Darcy leaves England rather than watch the love of his life and his best friend prepare for a lifetime together. But he cannot stay away forever. He returns, determined to be the friend Elizabeth needs and vowing never to speak of what is in his heart.

Will Darcy find his happily ever after?

Wonderful Review on Inaugural Page of Jane Austen Variations

The brand new Jane Austen Variations Facebook page chose my novel, The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth, for their very first review!  In fact, she said my book inspired the whole endeavor.  I can’t say enough about how honored I am.  I encourage everyone who’s interested in JAFF to check out the page.  I’m sure it will be a great source of information in the future.

https://www.facebook.com/JaneAustenvariations?ref=br_rs

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Why Mr. Darcy is Such an Appealing Romantic Hero

Okay, so I’ve been trying to figure out what makes Mr. Darcy stand out in the crowd of romantic heroes. Among Austen’s leading men he’s definitely the biggest star. Other romantic heroes from Austen’s period and from ours just don’t have the same powerful grip on our imagination. So, what sets him apart from other romantic heroes? Here are some of thoughts:

1. He is steadfast – he doesn’t give up on her, even after she turns him down.
2. He is willing to overlook her family — yeah, it takes him a while to get there, but he must love her an awful lot to put up with Mrs. Bennet, Lydia and Wickham. Talk about difficult in-laws…
3. He likes her intelligence – This is a biggie. He does think she has fine eyes, but what he really likes is her wit, cleverness, lively conversation. Wouldn’t every woman like to be appreciated for her brain?
4. He values her backbone – One of the first things he notices about her is that she stands up to him. I always assume most women treat him like Miss Bingley, fawning over him and agreeing with everything he says. Darcy likes Elizabeth because she’s her own person.
5. He defends her to other people – Isn’t this a female fantasy? A guy who will tell other people (including catty women) you’re beautiful and smart when they’re criticizing you.
6. He fixes problems for her — Yeah she generally takes care of her own issues, but she can’t fix the Lydia/Wickham thing. He wades into the scandal for her sake without even asking for any credit.
7. He’s played by Colin Firth (and that other guy who’s kind of cute too).

But the biggest reason of all: He is willing to change his behavior for her. He admits he was wrong and tries to be a better person so he can deserve her.

I think this is the characteristic that sets Darcy apart from most other romantic heroes. Yes, many of them change and make sacrifices for their loved ones, but few make the kind of deep alterations to their character that Darcy does. Deciding you’ll give up your womanizing and gambling for her sake just doesn’t compare. He essentially starts as a selfish character and evolves into one whose primary consideration is the happiness of the woman he loves. Who wouldn’t love that guy?

Okay, so that’s my take. What does everyone else think?

Some of My Favorite Things (in an Austen Variation)

As I write my next P&P variation, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I like in my Jane Austen variations – and, naturally, what I don’t like.

One of the things I look for in all my books is passion, emotion, true feelings. In life it might not be realistic to believe that two people must be together to be happy, but I love to see that premise in my novels. So, I look for these extremes of emotion in my Austen variations as well. If the characters aren’t feeling like this is one of the most important moments in their lives, why should I care?

However, in order to have extreme emotions (or an interesting plot), you need conflict; bad things need to happen to your protagonists. They can’t be happy – particularly at the beginning. I’ve read P&P sequels (taking place after the original book) in which Darcy and Elizabeth are happy most of the time. They have sex, they go to the beach, they laugh. I would love to be those people. I do not want to read about them. It’s boring.

Another thing I look for in my P&P variations is being true to the characters. I love to see variations which put the characters I recognize and love into new and interesting situations. That’s my idea of a great book – even if the situation is a bit farfetched.

Now, of course, my idea of true to the characters might not be someone else’s. I don’t mind me some sex scenes. I believe Darcy and Elizabeth would have a passionate relationship. I believe they might anticipate their marriage vows (there’s evidence lots of people did back then – particularly when engaged) under certain circumstances.

However, I can’t see Miss Bingley slipping into Darcy’s bed in the hopes of seducing or compromising him. She’s a harpy, but that’s not her style. She’s as interested in preserving her virtue and reputation as any other well-bred woman. I can’t picture Colonel Fitzwilliam becoming a letch who Darcy has to protect Elizabeth from. There’s nothing to suggest that interpretation of the character in the original text. I have a hard time imagining Jane becoming the protective head of the household after her father dies and defending a fragile Elizabeth. When did they both have a personality transplant? Mr. Collins may be a vain idiot, but would he become an evil villain? It doesn’t seem to be in his nature – plus he’s a dim bulb.

Now, maybe some readers can overlook these things. There are some improbabilities I don’t mind if they’re explained well. But for me this kind of radical reinterpretation of the characters makes it hard for me to stay in the world of the novel and enjoy it.

There are, of course, other things I like and don’t like about variations. But that’s enough for now. I’d love to hear others’ opinions. What are your favorite things about Austen variations?

The Secret of Mr. Darcy’s Appeal

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…..

 

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