Hello, my friends! I'm excited to be part of The Darcy Monologues Blog Tour! Today, Joana Starnes is here sharing her excitement for the project. She is also introducing, Lory Lilian, who is, like herself, one of the 15 authors of The Darcy Monologues.
I also have an interview with Ms. Lilian followed by an excerpt of her short story, A Resentful Man. I hope you enjoy!
Dancing the Bolero with Lory Lilian by Joana Starnes
I’ve been bubbling with excitement ever since Christina Boyd first told me about The Darcy Monologues because this anthology brings together so many of my favourite authors who have given me such joy over the years with their beautiful writings (truly a dream-team) and I simply couldn’t wait to read their stories.
Lory Lilian has long been one of my favourite authors – ever since Rainy Days. I love her Elizabeth and Darcy, and her portrayal of their courtship dance is a delight, a treat for the senses. The best comparison I can think of is with Ravel’s Bolero. Throughout Lory Lilian’s writing our favourite couple dance around each other, towards each other, attraction sizzling in every look, in every line, until it flares into an all-consuming passion.
The fact that she writes for my favourite Elizabeth and Darcy has a great deal to do with my enjoyment, I’m sure, but it’s a lot more to it than that. She understands them as people, writes them with great skill and tenderness, captures their feelings and reactions with true mastery, and the final product is pure delight.
Lory Lilian writes with humour and affection about secondary characters too. I particularly like her Mr and Mrs Bennet, whose flaws are skillfully portrayed, never exaggerated to the point of caricature, but blended with their genuine qualities into an eminently authentic mix of good and bad, a perfect mirror of what we can expect to find in real life.
So, needless to say, I was looking forward to a treat when I started reading ‘A Resentful Man’, Lory Lilian’s contribution to The Darcy Monologues – and got that, and a great deal more. What a monologue that is! We are privileged to hear Darcy’s innermost thoughts from the time of his departure from Town to the fateful day when he comes across Elizabeth visiting Pemberley along with Mr and Mrs Gardiner. Tenderness and longing leap off the page in this wonderful story, and the blossoming of hope will melt your heart. I know that for a fact – I was busily melting into a puddle by the time I got to the perfectly phrased ending.
Huge thanks for the good times to Lory Lilian and all my favourite authors contributing to Christina Boyd’s anthology, and for the magic you create with your exquisite words!
Thank you, Joana! I have to agree as Lory Lilian is also one of my favorite Austenesque writers! And I'm so excited to have her here as well today!
Lory, I know my readers would love to hear about your new story in The Darcy Monologues and can you tell us why you chose to set your story in the Regency era?
Well, all my stories are set in Regency era. I am so deeply in love with Elizabeth and Darcy as a couple, as they were written by Jane Austen, that I have a hard time imagining them in a different time. My story is called ‘A Resentful Man’, and it starts in London, right before Darcy’s departure toward Pemberley where – big surprise – he will meet Elizabeth and the Gardiners. It follows the scenario from the original but added some more mush and Darcy’s thoughts. (You know that my signature used to be MAM – must add mush LOL).
How did you come to be inspired by Miss Austen as both a woman and then, as a writer?
I discovered Miss Austen genius when I was thirteen, and I have been hooked ever since! For me, one of the major advantages of the internet was that it allowed me to find so much more about Jane Austen and to become a member of the JAFF community.
What were you trying to capture of Jane Austen in your story, ‘A Resentful Man?’
I tried to capture what Jane Austen left out, or only mentioned briefly: Darcy’s torment, his journey from resentment to acceptance and understanding, and his decision to change his behaviour and manners, to please a woman that deserved to be pleased.
The reactions to this upcoming release have been overwhelmingly positive from readers and I think that’s also in response to Mr. Darcy’s tremendous popularity throughout the past two centuries. Why do you believe that modern-day woman still find him so appealing?
Well, I think it is his the depth of his feelings, which made him overcome all the obstacles – from around, outside and inside himself – and change for the woman he loved. He could have had any other woman, but his heart and his mind knew she was meant for him.
Did writing this story make you appreciate something about Jane Austen all over again?
It did. Her genius in making us fall in love with Darcy all over again, for more than two hundred years, without actually telling us much about him.
Can you give us a six-word memoir about yourself?
25 years business, lifetime JA fan.
What can readers look forward to reading from you in the future and how can readers stay in touch with you?
Well, I just launched a new book a month ago – my first high angst story. There is another one work in progress – low angst and high hot mush - and one more sketched and structured, which I am sure will be a big surprise.
My readers can easily find me on my Facebook page, where I am very active, and I answer ASAP to any message. You can also find me on Twitter.
Lory Lilian fell in love with Pride and Prejudice thirty-three years ago and discovered the charm of Jane Austen fanfiction exactly twenty years later. She lives in Bucharest, Romania, is a proud mother of an amazing daughter, and addicted to anything Austen. After a career in business, she dedicates her time to reading and writing. Lory is the author of six bestselling books: Rainy Days, Remembrances of the Past, His Uncle’s Favorite, The Perfect Match, Sketching Mr. Darcy, The Rainbow Promise, and A Man with Faults. JAFF readers call her the “Queen of Hot Mush” and she loves it.
Lory has brought an excerpt today for my readers to enjoy from her short story in The Darcy Monologues.
‘A Resentful Man,’ excerpt from The Darcy Monologues by Lory Lilian
The sound of the piano suffused the room, throwing a spell over those listening. My heart filled with love and pride for my sister, who seemed enraptured in her music and oblivious to the twenty pairs of captive eyes.
Georgiana’s talent was only equalled by her sensible soul, and together with her diligent practice, had raised her proficiency to the rank of art. She, of course, was not affected by such praise. She loved music and—most of all—I knew that she aspired to please me. Every time our eyes met, I felt my sister’s affectionate heart. And I sensed her sadness.
Though I knew myself to be a good, older brother, I often bore the guilt for the time I left her alone. Consigned to the company of our relatives and the amity of Mrs. Annesley, Georgiana was lonely, and her smiles were rarely more than polite.
My chest tightened as I realised I could not remember the last time I had heard her laugh. Other girls of sixteen seemed more playful, lively. An unwelcome vision of the youngest Bennet girls dancing and laughing at Bingley’s ball flitted through my mind. Such careless behaviour I have witnessed, even in Town, of other young women of the same age. Why was Georgiana different? Was I at fault that she grew up restrained, so reticent? Had I not offered her enough affection, kindness, attention? She was always modest—and I could not recollect her ever asking for anything for herself.
I knew I must be to blame that she lacked confidence—that she could be so easily deceived by the scoundrel Wickham, that she had believed herself to be in love with him! But it was entirely to her merit that she was strong enough to remember her duty and reveal the mischievous plan soon enough for me to interfere. What if I had not visited her in Ramsgate that day? Too often I had envisioned that ghastly outcome and praised God for His intervention! Had I carried any hope that Wickham was an honourable man, that he possessed deep and genuine affection for Georgiana, would I have opposed him courting my sister and perhaps even marrying her? Surely not! Knowing Wickham as I did, I could do nothing but break the connection—hopefully forever. . . . My deepest regrets were the heartache and the turmoil that unfortunate happenstance brought upon my dear sister. I would do anything to take her despair upon myself. And I would never forget Wickham’s betrayal, nor would I ever forgive him. For Georgiana—and many other reasons.
The music stopped and several guests ventured to congratulate the performer. I knew she was uneasy in company and was tempted to hurry to her side but resisted the urge. Everyone in attendance was a family intimate: the Matlocks, their elder son with his wife, Bingley and his two sisters, Mr. Hurst, and Mrs. Annesley, as well as two young ladies—Lady Matlock’s nieces. Georgiana was in no danger.
“This is a lovely party, Nephew,” Lady Matlock said, from such a small distance that I startled. I took her gloved fingers to my lips, feigning composure. Like my mother, she could ascertain my temperament despite my efforts to conceal it. “I thank you, Your Ladyship. I thought Georgiana deserved to celebrate her sixteenth birthday before we depart for Pemberley. We do not intend to return to Town next Season nor to travel during the winter.”
“I understand. However, you must take into consideration that she must come out soon. Perhaps not next Season but the next.”
“Yes . . . soon . . . She is still very young and not inclined to attend balls and parties.”
“She likes nothing that you do not like,” Lady Matlock replied with amusement. “I am not certain if it is her disposition or only her desire to please you.”
I sensed my face frowning. “I always encourage her to speak freely and to pursue what she pleases. It is not my intention to impose my tastes on my sister.”
“Of course not, my dear, do not be so grave. But you must admit that she not only loves you as a sister but also as a daughter might and would do nothing to disappoint you.”
“She never disappoints me. One could never hope for a better sister.”
Nodding to the companion at Georgiana’s side, my aunt said, “Mrs. Annesley seems a very pleasant woman and quite fond of Georgiana.”
“We have every reason to be satisfied with her services.” A sudden lump lodged in my throat as I was reminded of Georgiana’s former companion Mrs. Younge, and her deception . . .
“This is comforting. . . . However . . . I am thinking . . . she might benefit from the company of younger people . . . perhaps a younger companion . . . like a sister. . . ”
I frowned again and said nothing to this.
“Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst are obviously intent on gaining her favour, although in a most cloying manner. Poor Georgiana shows more distress than pleasure from their company. It is transparent how Miss Bingley hopes to win your attention through friendship with your sister.”
“Indeed. Transparent and unrealistic.” And ridiculous.
“Touché I was never concerned in this regard.” She raised an eyebrow at me. “Mr. Bingley is also very friendly with Georgiana. And she looks quite at ease with him.”
“Yes . . .”
“Do you suspect there may be more from this? Would you allow such an unequal union to take place? I know he is your friend, but his father was in trade. We cannot ignore that.”
“Aunt, I value Bingley’s friendship because he is one of the kindest, most honourable men I have ever known. I have no doubts that he shall make an excellent husband for the woman he chooses as his wife. And I would never oppose a match between Georgiana and a worthy man. However, I see no inclination toward any attachment beyond mutual friendship between Georgiana and Bingley.”
“I see . . . well, we often see marriages started from less than a close friendship. . . . It is apparent that you dislike the subject.”
“Dear Aunt, I am not averse to discourse with you, but this matter is irrelevant.”
“Then I shall not persist. However, have you any news for me? Catherine is writing to us weekly, asking of you, insisting of your increased attachment to Rosings. You cannot keep Anne in such uncertainty for too long.”
“I do not keep anyone in uncertainty, Aunt.” I congratulated myself on maintaining my equanimity and yet, I continued.
“Anne knows she cannot expect any engagement from me. And I repeatedly told Aunt Catherine that I will always keep Anne under my care and protection, but I have no marital aspirations with my cousin. It is only Aunt Catherine who perseveres.”
“Just like Miss Bingley.” Lady Matlock smiled.
“But . . . you must allow me: Is there any reason why you are against your marriage with Anne?
All the circumstances would be in favour of such a union and I know you have great affection for her. And I never noticed you paying particular attention to any young lady. Might your interest and hopes lie elsewhere?”
I frowned again and my patience betrayed me. I could not bear to speak on that subject any longer. “Dear Aunt, I believe we have spent enough time with a conversation that will lead nowhere. Might I offer you another drink?”
She shook her head, and as I stepped to refill my own drink, I felt my aunt’s gaze. With glass in hand, I took a chair at the corner of the room, grateful to Lady Matlock for not following me.
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The music started again, and I gulped my brandy, attempting to calm myself. “You must allow me,” my aunt had said, the words cutting me. “You must allow me . . .” I had said those same words three months before. They were the preamble to my surreptitious fall. The storm that started at the parsonage had ravaged everything. I had no marital interest nor hopes. She had burned them all and only ashes remained.
* * *
“You must allow me to tell you...”
For over two hundred years, Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy has captivated readers’ imaginations as the ultimate catch. Rich. Powerful. Noble. Handsome. And yet, as Miss Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” is established through Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes, how are we to know what his tortured soul is indeed thinking? How does Darcy progress from “She is tolerable: but not handsome enough to tempt me” to “I thought only of you”?
In this romance anthology, fifteen Austen-inspired authors assemble to sketch Darcy’s character through a series of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times—from faithful narratives to the fanciful. Herein “The Darcy Monologues”, the man himself reveals his intimate thoughts, his passionate dreams, and his journey to love—all told with a previously concealed wit and enduring charm.
Stories by: Susan Adriani * Sara Angelini * J. Marie Croft * Karen M Cox * Jan Hahn * Jenetta James * Lory Lilian * KaraLynne Mackrory * Beau North * Ruth Phillips Oakland * Natalie Richards * Sophia Rose * Joana Starnes * Melanie Stanford * Caitlin Williams
The Darcy Monologues Blog Tour Schedule
* * * GIVEAWAY * * *
It's giveaway time!! There are two prizes being giving away! Both giveaways are open internationally!
First, one winner will win our grand prize of 24 paperback books, each one autographed by the author, and mailed to the winner’s home.
Many thanks to Joana Starnes for that lovely tribute to Lory Lilian! And to Lory for the interview and excerpt from her short story, A Resentful Man!
Also, a huge thanks to Claudine Pepe @ JustJane1813 for all her hard work putting this tour together!
And to Christina Boyd for gathering this fabulous group of authors together for this project and for editing it!