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Friday, August 17, 2012

Regina Jeffers: Mistaken First Impressions

Welcome Regina Jeffers (Yes, Another of the 27 Authors Participating in the Upcoming Decatur Book Festival) to Darcyholic Diversions...
14 Days to Go till Decatur Book Festival!)
Hi, Darcyholics!  Today, we have Regina Jeffers with us.  I have really enjoyed beginning to get to know Regina this year.  She agreed early on to come to Decatur Book Festival along with Abigail Reynolds and Jack Caldwell.  They assisted with giving legitimacy to our plans.  Regina, along with Abigail Reynolds and William Deresiewicz will be presenting on the City Hall Stage at 5:30 on Saturday, September 1 during the festival.  I am happy to welcome her back to Darcyholic Diversions today!

The information on Decatur Book Festival was updated recently, so visit the link again and find out all the details as well as where YOU can stay as we are so excited to have 27--yes TWENTY-SEVEN Austen Inspired Authors participating with us!  Here is the link! It included information about a large hotel room block you can take advantage of if you would like to be with us!  If you are planning on attending and are not one of our authors, please send me an email to barbaratillercole@gmail.com so I can send you information out our social events during the festival weekend.

I am also announcing initial plans for a Darcyholic Holiday eBook Festival.  More Information to come, but send me an email at barbaratillercole@gmail.com if you are an author and would like to participate!!

Upcoming Guest Posts Are As Follows:
August 19--KaraLynne Mackrory
August 21--Sally Smith O'Rourke
August 24--Pamela Aidan
August 26--Reposting Decatur Book Festival Author Links!
August 28--Jack Caldwell
August 31--Decatur Book Festival Eve!
September 2--Live from the Decatur Book Festival
September 4--Fun Stories from the DBF
September 7--Jack Caldwell's Experiences at the DBF
September 11--Karen Cox's Experiences at the DBF
September 14--Mary Simonsen
September 18--Amber G.
September 21--Moira B.
November 2--Amy Patterson
November 13--Karen Doornebos
And Many more to come!
One lucky visitor will win an autographed copy of Regina Jeffers recently released modern day twist on Pride and Prejudice, entitled Honor and Hope, while another will hopefully be happy with a copy of my latest Austen cozy, called The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy..  Comments count as entries, but additional chances will be given for joining this site, tweeting this post, joining this site as a member via Google Friend Connect (GFC) (See the left hand column on the blog to join!), sharing this on Facebook or your blog, Friend Barbara Tiller Cole on Facebook, clicking 'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page, Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page or following BarbTCole on Twitter.

Mistaken First Impressions

Have you ever met someone with whom you have corresponded several times (Facebook, Twitter, phone, or the old-fashioned way by a letter) only to be surprised by his/her appearance? He/She looks nothing like what you anticipated. First impressions are hard pressed upon our memory, and they are not easily abandoned. Several of my cohorts at Austen Authors and I will meet in person for the first time at the Decatur Book Fest. Several others of those in attendance have shared a table or a presentation at previous conferences and festivals. My vanity (Remember that Austen says there is a difference between pride and vanity. “Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity to what we would have others think of us.”) leads me to hope that those I have not met previously will find me congenial, and that I will not be a disappointment (not of the nature they had first anticipated).

As we all know, “First Impressions” was the original title for Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” First Impressions is also the theme of this classic novel. From the first line to the end, Austen reminds us over and over that First Impressions are often false ones. They are mistaken impressions. I often say that Austen hits her readers over the head with examples of false impressions. Miss Austen was a master of theme.

“It is a truth universally acknowledge, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” This famous first line in a tongue-in-cheek statement of potential theme, but the reader quickly learns that Mr. Darcy is not in want of a wife. In fact, he has likely come to Netherfield to “escape” the London Season. Obviously, with his wealth and family name, Darcy could have his choice of women. He certainly is not desperate enough to pursue a woman of poor connections and little dowry. This line sets the tone of irony for the novel. In reality, it is the mothers and single daughters of the community who are in “want” of a rich husband.

“I am sick of Mr. Bingley,” cried his wife. This line is a bit misleading. It is well matched with Mrs. Bennet’s later profession when her sister, Mrs. Philips, brings news of Bingleys return to Netherfield. The lady says, “Well, so much the better. Not that I care about it, though. He is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure I never want to see him again.” Mrs. Bennet’s obsession is finding her daughters husbands before the entail sends the family into penury. Of course, she is concerned with what happens to the richest man in the community.

Within her letter to Elizabeth regarding Darcy’s involvement in settling the scandal of Lydia’s elopement, Mrs. Gardiner says, “He generously imputed the whole of his mistaken pride, and confessed that he had before thought it beneath him, to lay his private actions open to the world. His character was to speak for itself.” Darcy’s character does speak for itself, but not in the way Elizabeth originally thought of him.

Of Mr. Darcy’s first appearance in Meryton, we learn, “…Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year.” Later in the same paragraph, the reader’s first impression of Darcy is quickly altered. “The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust, which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his company, and above being pleased, and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.” Austen has manipulated her readers. Our Jane has assured that we will not see through Darcy’s façade. We are ready to believe Elizabeth’s false impressions of the man, who will eventually win her heart.

Elizabeth is the first daughter that is mentioned in the story line. She is also the first one to speak. That is Austen’s way to introduce her readers to the main character of the story. Mr. Bennet says of Elizabeth, “They have none of them much to recommend them,” replied he. “They are all silly and ignorant little girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.” Mr. Bennet praises Elizabeth’s intelligence, and the reader believes what the man says. Yet, Elizabeth believes all the falsehoods about Darcy and sets upon them the disaster that could have ruined her family. In fact, it is the mild-mannered Jane Bennet who recognizes Darcy’s true worth long before her sister. However, even as Jane declares Darcy incapable of the deceit that Wickham has shared of his life at Darcy’s hand, neither the reader, nor Elizabeth believes her because “Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.”

Mrs. Bennet says of her second daughter, “Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humored as Lydia.” Again, this is our first impression of Elizabeth from her mother’s lips. Yet, we know that Elizabeth possesses so much more depth of character than either Jane or Lydia.

Darcy’s says of Elizabeth, “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me.” Oh, poor delusional Darcy!!!

Our first impression of Mr. Wickham says, “This was exactly as it should be; for the young man wanted only regimentals to make him completely charming. His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and a very pleasing address.” Now, if we astute readers, we would have compared this description of Wickham with the earlier one of Darcy. If we were incorrect in our first impression of a man of Darcy’s consequence, how could we be correct about the put-upon Mr. Wickham? Oh, we are so gullible, and Austen used our gullibility to mislead us once again.

At the Netherfield Ball, Elizabeth says of Darcy, “Merely to the illustration of your character,” said she, endeavouring to shake off her gravity. “I am trying to make it out.” Although she claims to have taken an interest in Darcy’s character, Elizabeth, in reality, only wishes to confirm her earlier first impressions of the man. The exchange actually speaks more to Elizabeth’s negativity and impetuosity than it does of Darcy’s character.

So, Darcyholic visitors, where are there other examples of “Mistaken First Impressions” in Pride and Prejudice? Add a few below in your comments. One lucky visitor will win an autographed copy of my recently released modern day twist on Pride and Prejudice, entitled Honor and Hope, while another will hopefully be happy with a copy of my latest Austen cozy, called The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy. (By the way, I’ll leave you with another enticing “first impression.” My next Austen release will be The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy. Did I earn your attention with that one?)

Author Bio

Regina Jeffers, a public classroom teacher for thirty-nine years, considers herself a Jane Austen enthusiast. She is the author of several Austen-inspired novels, including Darcy’s Passions, Darcy’s Temptation, Vampire Darcy’s Desire, Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, The Phantom of Pemberley, Christmas at Pemberley, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy, Honor and Hope, and the upcoming The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy. She also writes Regency romances: The Scandal of Lady Eleanor, A Touch of Velvet, A Touch of Cashémere, A Touch of Grace, and The First Wives’ Club. A Time Warner Star Teacher and Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, Jeffers often serves as a consultant in language arts and media literacy. Currently living outside Charlotte, North Carolina, she spends her time with her writing, gardening, and her adorable grandson.

Twitter – @reginajeffers
Facebook – Regina Jeffers
(Books available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Joseph Beth, and Ulysses Press.)

The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy
A Pride and Prejudice Mystery
By Regina Jeffers
From Ulysses Press

A thrilling novel of malicious villains, dramatic revelations, and heroic gestures that stays true to Austen’s style

Darcy and Elizabeth have faced many challenges, but none as dire as the disappearance of Darcy’s beloved sister, Georgiana. After leaving for the family home in Scotland to be reunited with her new husband, Edward, she has disappeared without a trace. Upon receiving official word that Georgiana is presumed dead, Darcy and Elizabeth travel to the infamous Merrick Moor to launch a search for his sister in the unfamiliar and menacing Scottish countryside. Suspects abound, from the dastardly Wickham to the mysterious MacBethan family. Darcy has always protected his little sister, but how can he keep her safe from the most sinister threat she has ever faced when he doesn’t even know if she’s alive? Written in the language of the Regency era and including Austen’s romantic entanglements and sardonic humor, this suspense-packed sequel to Pride and Prejudice recasts Darcy and Elizabeth as a husband-and-wife detective team hunting for truth amid the dark moors of Scotland.

Book Blurb

Honor and Hope: A Contemporary Romantica Based on Pride and Prejudice
By Regina Jeffers
From White Soup Press

Liz Bennet's flirtatious nature acerbates Will Darcy's controlling tendencies, sending him into despair when she fiercely demands her independence from him. How could she repeatedly turn him down? Darcy has it all: good looks, intelligence, a pro football career, and wealth. Attracted by a passionate desire, which neither time nor distance can quench, they are destined to love each other, while constantly misunderstanding one another until Fate deals them a blow from which their relationship may never recover. Set against the backdrop of professional sports and the North Carolina wine country, Honor and Hope offers a modern romance loosely based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.


  1. This is an insightful article! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

    1. Yea, Blogger is no longer blocking my replies. I hate when it is temperamental. Thank you for stopping by today, Regan.

  2. The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy ... hmmm ... Well, yes, you do have my attention. I'm sure it will be a wonderful, entertaining read, just like your other stories, Regina.

    1. Thank you, Gayle. You know I always have a few twists to mix up the story line from the usual fare. I appreciate your stopping by to read my post.

  3. Oh no 'Death'? My heart stopped. Yes you got my attention. ;)

    1. Erlynn, I love your reactions. They truly bring a smile to my face.

  4. Noooooo! Must be a cousin or uncle!

    1. I suppose you will have to read the next Austen novel to know for certain. LOL!!!

  5. I think of Jane Bennet's first impression of Caroline Bingley -- whoa, was she wrong about her new "friend"!

    1. I am jealous, June, that I didn't think to include that example in my post.

  6. When Lizzy and the Gardiners first meet Mrs. Reynolds, "Mr. Gardiner, highly amused by the kind of family prejudice, to which he attributed her excessive commendation of her master..." They certainly didn't believe her account of Mr. Darcy. Although, Lizzy was starting to see it. :)

    I would love a copy of "Honor and Hope"! I already have "The Disappearance of Miss Darcy", which was excellent by the way!

    What a horrid thought, the death of Mr. Darcy! Yikes!

    1. That's another excellent example, Candy. Austen was great at subtly telling her readers about her characters and about the theme. I wish I could master that talent.

      Horrid does describe the death of our favorite character.

  7. My first impression of Charlotte Lucas was very wrong. She was the quick witted cohort of the sharp tounged intellect heroine of the story. A girl with a brain who would not settle. I believed this because we tend to think all of our friends, especially those whom we love the most, to be like minded. We think of ourselves as more intelligent than others and want very much to believe in the intelligence of those close to us. It is disheartening to find out that not only do we think differently but that our reality may not be the correct reality. When we find our friends lacking it is almost a slap in the face. The first step in Elizabeth's reality check was her visit to Mrs. Collins' new abode where she found her friend content. Perhaps bored but still content. Elizabeth may have secretly wished for her friends misery in order to justify her own first impressions.

    1. It's a bit ironic that Elizabeth learns all these lessons about others and her "less than stellar" opinions, but she does not apply them to her opinion of Darcy until it is nearly too late for them to recover.
      We have all been disappointed in friends. I think that is part of growing up. It is difficult to have a friend of a like mind throughout our lives. We change; so should our friends.
      I appreciate your insightful comment.

  8. Love the post and have to agree on meeting someone you have emailed or even talked to over the phone and pictured them different altogether. Like in a book or story when I first picked up Jane Austen, then they cast her characters in a movie. Some I can agree on but some I think no way that't not what I had in mind:) I did all the extra entries that you asked. Also FB

    1. Krista, thank you for all the extra connections to social media.
      I hate it when the filmmakers do not cast a character with an actor that resembles my mental image of him/her.
      As an author, I have a mental image of the character as I'm writing them. It's also true with the cover artist for the book. I've read stories where the character was blonde and the cover has a brunette. I hate that.

  9. Regina, I always love your analyses of P&P. I had to laugh at your comment about Lizzy at the Netherfield ball. She said she was attempting the illustration of his character but she was thinking "I'm just trying to prove you're the jerk I think you are!"

    I am so looking forward to your next book, though the words "death" and "Mr Darcy" in the same sentence makes my heart skip! I already have TDOGD but I'd love to win Honor and Hope!

    And you were very sweet and kind when I met you last fall, so I'm sure everyone will love you down in Decatur.

    1. I have an advantage in Decatur, Monica. I am GRITS, a Girl Raised in the South. Plus, my Ph.D. is from the University of Georgia. At least, that is what I'm telling myself.
      It was great to meet you also. I was honored that you came out to the Books by the Banks just to meet me.

  10. I wish I could go to Decatur and meet all of you marvelous authors! I have met a couple, but 27 - wow! That would be heaven!

    I love reading about others interpretations of JA's work and your article was very interesting. We go on Lizzy's journey of self-discovery with her and it hopefully makes us learn not to judge others too quickly.

    I adore your books but haven't read either of these so I would love to win either one! gailwarner@verizon.net

    1. Hello, Gail. It's been a while since I talked to you.
      Lizzy's journey is a difficult one.
      I admit that the first time I read P&P, I was sucked into hating Darcy for "mistreating" Elizabeth. If not for his snarky put downs of Caroline Bingley, I might have cheered on George Wickham.
      Thank you for the kind words regarding my novels. I am humbled by the notice.

  11. I can honestly say I have had the experience(s), fortunately mostly positive (FB, Twitter, etc), but one or two negatives, that is life and I consider myself lucky because of the positives :) these are some of my best friends.

    Thank you Regina for an insightful post :) I learn more from you about Jane and her creations than I ever did at school.

    Oh I have read The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy and it is superb!!! If you haven't read it yet, do!!!

    1. I am the consummate school teacher. I've been retired for two years, but I can't leave behind the lessons. LOL!!
      Your praise for "Disappearance" was most appreciated.

  12. The new book sounds good! A must read! I'm lookinf orward to it. I would love to win a copy of Honor and Hope. Thanks!


    1. Hello, Margaret.
      It's an overcast and rainy day in NC, but the temperature is down. It has given me the opportunity to caught up on comments. (Blogger kept me out of the program for two days. Sometimes I hate Google.)
      Honor and Hope is quite different from anything else I have written.

  13. I can't wait to read the books :)
    I love especially "honor and hope"'s story :)


    1. Thank you for commenting, Mariam. It is nice to hear from you.

  14. I can't think of anything more to add to the discussion as Regina has delightfully summed up the article. I wonder though how do the inhabitants of Meryton know how much Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy is worth? I believe the two gentleman will not advertised themselves. It's been a mystery to me.

    Can I be entered to win Honor and Hope only? I already have The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy.

    GFC follower: Lúthien84
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    1. Bingley would hire in some of the locals to staff his estate, and Darcy would have brought his valet, coachman, footmen, etc. Servants talk and gossip. I imagine that the Meryton residents learned of the two gentlemen through the servant rumor line.

  15. I had an office I had to call almost daily for work. The secretary and I got to be great phone buddies. After several years, I finally met her in person. Wow! I was shocked. I could not have been more wrong about the person I had developed in my head.

    Thank you for the giveaway. Please only enter me for Honor and Hope. I already own TDOGD. I was wondering what you would bring us next. You definately have my attention!

    1. I hate it when I am wrong about a person. If it is a telephone conversation, it is usually an age range that I imagine. Sometimes, I've met a person who is much older or much younger than they sound. I have a deep voice. People always took me for being older than I was. (Now, I am old - at least, according to Medicare.)
      You will love "The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy," Becky. It is your type of book.

  16. "where are there other examples of “Mistaken First Impressions” in Pride and Prejudice?"
    thinking Charlotte Lucas might be one.. the reticent young woman who gains the Bennet's source of future provision by gaining their cousin's [Rev Collis] interest and hand! all was not as it seemed regarding Charlotte!

    lovely to learn more of you, Regina! and always pleased to see your name in my twitter interactions :)
    wishing you every cont'd success !

    thinking your books would be excellent additions to participation in the Roof Beam Reader's Austen in August as he includes any variations of JA!
    i'm making good use of my reading and reviewing time in that one!
    ty for your giveaway generosity!

    1. Hello, FHC.
      As we all know, Austen has so many examples of First Impressions that go awry that our list could go on and on. We have not mentioned Lady Catherine De Bourgh, Mr. Collins, Georgiana, Caroline Bingley, Mr. Bingley, etc.
      I am pleased when i come across your Tweets, as well. Thank you for stopping by.

  17. sharing this on Facebook
    Friend with Barbara Tiller Cole on Facebook,
    'like’ on Barbara Tiller Cole, Author's Facebook page,
    Join Darcyholic Diversions Facebook Page
    following BarbTCole on Twitter.

    The disappearance of Georgiana Darcy sounds intriguing :)


  18. You got my attention with the title! I follow with GFC.

  19. I follow on Twitter. @asoftheday

  20. I like your author page on FB as well.

  21. The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy? Hmm, it could have to do with Mr. Darcy's father, but then that would probably be going back in time in your series, so maybe not. You're really going to pull people in with that title.

    I have liked the Facebook page, friended Barbara, and all the other Facebook stuff.

    GFC -- Michelle Fidler
    Twitter -- MichelleFidler1

  22. I forgot to leave my e-mail:


  23. I always think of Elizabeth's impression of Georgiana based on what she heard from the others about her. Georgie was just shy she discovered. And this is reaching, but those who saw the Mr. Collins that Jane Austen described probably thought he was a plain looking man of sense until he opened his mouth.

    I'm looking forward to the Darcy book and I still must read the Disappearance mystery. (Getting behind)

    Nice post! Thanks!