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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Susan Mason-Milks: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?

Welcome Susan Mason-Milks--Post and Give Away!

Hi, Darcyholics!  I am very happy to welcome Susan Mason-Milks to Darcyholic Diversions today.  I am looking forward to getting to know more about her and I hope you are as well.

In addition, I am honored to be a part of the 'Authors in Bloom' Blog Tour.  I invite you to read MY post 'Take That Leap of Faith'.  There are 70 other blogs that are a part of the give- aways.  All links are available on the left side of this blog. For instructions on how to win the Grand Prize, see my blog post.
Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:

April 20--Elizabeth Ashton
April 24--Lynn Robson
April 27--Veronica (Dark Jane Austen Book Club)
May 1--Matt Duffy
May 4--Susan Adriani
May 8--Annette W.
May 11--Beth Massey
May 15--Erlynn K.
May 18--Rebecca T.
May 22--Candy M. (So Little Time...)
May 25--Karen Cox
May 29--Jan Ashe
June 1--Kara Louise
June 5--Sharon Lathan
June 8--Gayle Mills
June 12--Shannon Winslow
June 15--Karen Wasylowski
June 19--Krista Bagley
June 22--Stephanie Hamm
June 26--Laurel Ann Nattress
And Many more to come!

Comments on Susan’s post will be entered to win a copy of her book, Mr. Darcy's Proposal.  An eBook to an international winner, and a soft cover copy to a winner from the US or Canada.   Entries will be based on comments on blog posts; but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, Joining this site as a member!, sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend me on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page or following BarbTCole on Twitter.

Who Is Fitzwilliam Darcy?
True confession—when I read Pride and Prejudice in the eighth grade, I didn’t like it. As a matter of fact, I have a vague recollection of specifically disliking Darcy. Ironically, my opinion of him must have coincided with Elizabeth’s initial view, but just as she did, I gave him a second chance and discovered there was more to him than my first impression.

 My Darcy obsession began in 1995 when I watched the Pride and Prejudice mini-series. I was in love! It wasn’t Colin Firth I fell for (although he’s gorgeous); it was the enigmatic Mr. Darcy. Before the series was even over, I had read P&P, and shortly after that, all the rest of Austen’s novels.

So what is it about Mr. Darcy that makes so many of us swoon? Andrew Davies, who wrote the script for the 1995 series, had this to say: “Darcy is the perfect romantic hero because he’s mysterious enough, standoffish enough and arrogant enough to give women a little bit of a tremor of fear as well as attraction. In a strange way, I think that’s important. I also think he’s a very misunderstood character.”

 In order to write about Darcy, I’ve tried to understand him better. First of all, in spite of Elizabeth’s angry accusation, Darcy is a gentleman in the best sense of the word. As such, he is a loving brother, a loyal friend, and concerned landlord. He’s also honest. Darcy says of himself, “…disguise of any kind is my abhorrence.” In terms of his personality, he is an introvert. He sees things logically and literally and is a bit of a control freak.

As textbook example of an introvert, Darcy tends to be more an observer than a talker, which can make him seem a little mysterious. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that just because he doesn’t talk much there’s nothing going on inside. There’s a lot happening in his head. Before he gives an opinion, he has to think it through and/or rehearse his response. When Darcy had something important to say to Elizabeth, especially something as emotionally charged as answering her accusations against him, he felt more comfortable saying it in a letter because he could think it through before putting pen to paper. Writing his response gave him both time to think and more control. 

 To Darcy, a conversation must have a purpose. He’s not the kind of guy who’ll stand around talking about the weather, or heaven forbid, about himself. Mrs. Reynolds says of him, “Some people call him proud, but I never saw anything of it. To my fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like so many young men.” Also, like most introverts, being around people tires him, and he needs a significant amount of time alone to recharge. Maybe that’s why he likes the library so much!

Darcy tends to give people the impression he’s arrogant, but I suspect at least some of that stern, serious look of his is to scare away mothers and daughters who vie for his attention—plus anyone else he doesn’t want to talk to. Part of his discomfort around strangers, which can come off as aloofness or arrogance, stems from the fact it isn’t easy for him to read people. In his conversation with Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam over the pianoforte at Rosings, he says, “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.” This is clearly a foreshadowing of how badly he misreads and misunderstands Elizabeth’s opinion of him. 

Darcy’s aware he can be little too serious. To balance his more somber side, he enjoys the company of those who have the liveliness he lacks. Look at his closest friends—his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and Charles Bingley. Everyone considers both of them very amiable. I also think that’s why Darcy finds Elizabeth’s bright eyes and teasing manner so irresistible. His verbal battles with her spark something in him he’s never felt before.

When I wrote Mr. Darcy’s Proposal, I wanted to show that as Darcy gets to know Elizabeth better, he begins to develop a more teasing and playful side. Immediately, I thought of my husband, who shares some of his personality traits. Like Darcy, my husband has a dry sense of humor, and he’s very literal. For example, if I say, “Pass the salt, please.” I might just get a handful of salt rather than the saltshaker. When I protest, he says, “But you said salt, not the salt shaker!”

Here’s a peek at a scene from the last chapter of Mr. Darcy’s Proposal that illustrates what I mean. It takes place when Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are alone, relaxing after a long, tiring day of dealing with family. They are in London and begin to talk about returning home to Pemberley.

“When we return home, I have a special present waiting for you,” he said, breaking the silence.
“You do? What is it?” she asked, sitting forward in her chair.
“I am not sure I should say. It might be better if you were surprised.”
“But, my love, if you did not want me to know, you should not have mentioned it at all,” said Elizabeth, her lips forming a sweet little pout.
“Perhaps I might be convinced to tell you,” he teased.
“You do know how relentless I can be once I make up my mind about something.”
“Very well, I will tell you if you come here,” he said, patting his knee.
She threw him a look, which he answered by patting his knee again. Elizabeth sighed, knowing that the only way she would get more information was to cooperate. Of course, sitting on his lap was really no hardship to her. When he pulled her closer, she laid her head on his shoulder. Darcy kissed the top of her head and then began working his way down her neck tantalizing her with more sweet gentle kisses in all the places he knew would increase her pleasure. Elizabeth could feel the heat building inside her.
As she began to relax, he started to pull at the ribbons on her dressing gown. At first, her mind was occupied with the sensations his kisses were invoking in her. Then suddenly, she realized what he was doing and she tried to sit up.
“Wait just a moment. You promised to tell me about my present if I came over and joined you,” she protested.
“Yes, but I did not say when I would tell you.”
As Elizabeth tried to push herself away in protest, he held her all the more tightly to him. “You are a most infuriating man!” 

Sigh! Darcy is definitely complicated, but that’s part of what makes him so fascinating and irresistible. Our desire to know more about him draws us in and keeps us coming back to read Pride and Prejudice over and over. I’m sure it’s also why so many people enjoy the P&P sequels, prequels, variations, and mash-ups. Personally, I love to write about Darcy and Elizabeth because it allows me to spend more time with them. What could be better than that for a Darcyholic!

 Thank you, Barbara, for inviting me to join you at Darcyholic Diversions. I always love talking about Mr. Darcy! Please visit me at my website: www.austen-whatif-stories.com. As part of Austen Authors, a group of authors who write Jane Austen-related stories, you’ll often find me blogging at www.austenauthors.net. Follow me on Twitter: @SusanMasonMilks


  1. I am friends on Facebook

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  6. LOL! That excerpt was great and I think you make several good points about Darcy's character. I never thought about that angle of him drawing lively friends around him, but you're right he did.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Susan, and for the post!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my guest blog about Darcy. I find him infinitely fascinating!

  7. Excellent! Reading your post had me falling for Darcy all over again! :) You really hit upon many key points as to why we love him! And I just loved the excerpt too! :D

  8. I said in my upcoming AuAu post that the best thing about a large crowd is that it provides the best venue to be alone. Perhaps, Darcy uses this truth to hide among the masses, so to speak.
    Thanks for the excerpt, Susan. It's delightful.

    1. I think you're right. Most of the time, he's happy not to be noticed or to work behind the scenes. In the movie, he often stands facing a window with his back to the room. I can't remember if this is also in the novel. I'll have to check!

  9. Great article. You pulled it all together. I never thought of it, but now that you point it out, I guess he would be an introvert. Thank goodness he has Lizzy to pull him out of his moments. I read Mr. Darcy's Proposal some time ago, now I will have to go back and take another look. Thanks. ~Jen Red~

  10. With Darcy, so much depends on what he doesn't say!

  11. Poor Lizzy...how she suffers. Haha I wish I could be infuriated in such a way.

    Love the excerpt, and the post! I agree; Darcy is definitely an enigma, and I love that Lizzy brings out a side of him that no one else gets to see.

    No need to enter me in the giveaway, as I'm a happy owner of MDP already. :)

  12. Susan,

    I love your interpretation of Darcy's characterization. I, too, love that dry sense of humor of his.

    What a romantic excerpt!

  13. Susan:

    I so enjoyed your guest post, Susan. Thanks for your willingness.

    I was particularly caught by your thoughts of Darcy as an introvert and needing to recharge. Made me think of my Myers Briggs test. Not many people would really think that I am an introvert. But I HAVE to have time to recharge. And my writing is part of what I do in that process. My work requires me to appear to be an extrovert at times, but I think of myself as a very good actress!

    I loved your exerpt! Makes me wish I could enter my own drawing here on my blog!


  14. Thanks for your positive feedback! I'm a bit of an introvert, too. Introversion on the MBTI isn't necessarily about how much you talk. It's more about how you process information. Introverts process internally and get tired being around people. Extroverts process externally and get energy from being with people.

    1. ;) Yes. I know that. The term introvert and extrovert are misunderstood..often. But some how I am SURE that Bingley was an Extrovert and Darcy was an introvert.

    2. I agree about Bingley and of course, Colonel Fitzwilliam, too.

  15. Wonderful wonderful and again wonderful post! I was hooked from the first word in this blog! I am so glad to hear what my favorite authors has to say about Darcy and Pride and Prejudice in general!
    Susan; Wonderful job! I can't wait to get my hands on "Mr. Darcy's Proposal" soon!

  16. That excerpt really hooked me! I can't wait to read your book.
    Thank you

  17. a definite add to my WishList!! thank you for the giveaway!!!!

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  18. Darcy is definitely a man with still waters that run deep. He's adorable, infuriating and oh, such a man! Thanks for sharing your book with us.


  19. Please enter me in your giveaway. Your book is on my "to read" list.

  20. luv the excerpt Susan! lovely appetizer ;) ty!
    and for the generosity of the giveaway for sharing your writing gift with us ! anticipation...

  21. Loved the post and have your book on my TBR list! liked the author page and joined Daryholics group. Would love to be entered in the giveaway. Keeping my fingers crossed :)

  22. It was an interesting post and I'd love to win a book. Looks like the last two pictures are from the movie Lost in Austen where Gemma Arterton's character goes back in time to the Regency era and switches places with Elizabeth Bennet. I got it through an interlibrary loan.

    I have followed and liked Barbara's Facebook pages and friended her.
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