Jane Odiwe: It Wasn't Love At First Sight!
(I am happy to have Jane Odiwe visiting Darcyholic Diversions today! There is more information at the bottom of this post about Jane's double give away. But as always, additional chances will be given for being a GFC here at the site, Liking BTCole on Facebook, posting this link on Twitter or Facebook, etc. Hope you enjoy getting to know Jane!)
Thank you Barbara for inviting me to talk about my obsession - I’m thrilled to be here!
I have been in love with Mr Darcy for a very long time, though I have to say it wasn’t love at first sight! My first encounter with this dashing hero was watching the old black and white movie of Pride and Prejudice with Lawrence Olivier as Darcy. I was about ten at the time and really didn’t pay him much attention. Elizabeth Bennet was the character I loved. From Mr Darcy’s first put-down Elizabeth was the heroine for me as she proved to be his equal in wit and intelligence.
Later on my Mum introduced me to Pride and Prejudice from the library and though initially I found the language quite strange and difficult, Jane Austen’s words soon wove their magic. As the story unfolded, I made the wonderful discovery that Mr Darcy finds himself attracted to Elizabeth even though he is determined to find fault with her.
When the Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth adaptation was screened on television, the chemistry between the actors really brought the book to life. Along with several other million women across the globe, I saw Mr Darcy take on a whole new persona. No other actor had made such an impact on a character or made Darcy seem so sexy.
For me, the scene at the Netherfield Ball, both in the book and in this adaptation represents all that is best about Jane Austen’s writing and her characterisations. Darcy begins to enjoy Lizzy’s lively conversation and pert manners. Although she is determined to continue her dislike of him, she agrees to dance with him before she can help herself. The conversation that flies between them is an exercise in brilliant dialogue as each of them tries to better the other with a witty retort. Elizabeth is beginning to realize that however fixed her first impressions of Darcy seem, her opinion of him is changing. She recognizes that they have similarities in their characters; they both like to think that they can use their intellect coupled with a wry sense of humour to win an argument or to make a point, all meted out in an economy of language. Darcy and Elizabeth behave for the most part as opposing forces that cannot help being attracted to the other. Elizabeth prides herself on reading the psychology of people – she likes to know what makes them tick. The infuriating thing is that she cannot make Darcy out. When she thinks she has the upper hand, he then seizes power to have the whip hand over her.
Watching this new adaptation changed my life. I re-read Pride and Prejudice, then all of the other novels and became obsessed with the author and what she looked like. In 2003, I was inspired to write and paint a small picture book, Effusions of Fancy, and then as the first sequels were being written I decided to try my hand at a comic tale. Lydia Bennet’s Story was my first novel, swiftly followed by a Sense and Sensibility sequel, Willoughby’s Return. I hesitated over writing a novel with Darcy and Elizabeth because I wanted so much to get it right. Finally, I felt ready to write Mr Darcy’s Secret. I wanted to write a book about Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage in its early days. In Pride and Prejudice we learn very little of Darcy’s past, and I wondered how Elizabeth might feel if she thought she’d discovered something about her husband’s history that she can do nothing about.
I enjoy weaving a couple of stories together and really loved writing Georgiana’s story too. The themes of pride and prejudice are as strong as ever, and all takes place against the stunning backdrops of Derbyshire and the Lake District. The Bennets, Bingleys, Collinses, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh all make an appearance as well as Mr Wickham with one or two new characters of my own. In true Jane Austen style everything turns out well in the end.
Elizabeth Darcy is ecstatically happy as mistress of a grand house and wife to the dashing, yet proud Mr Darcy who is proving to be everything she has dreamed of in a loving husband. His former arrogance is rapidly diminishing under her sunny influence; he is even becoming indulgent and sensitive towards her visiting family. But when revelations from an old adversary expose the fact that Darcy was once in love with the mysterious Viola Wickham, it comes as shocking news, not least because Elizabeth is not even aware that her scandalous brother-in-law George Wickham has a stepsister. As mounting speculation about the paternity of a local boy is hinted at, the discovery of love letters from Viola to Mr Darcy do nothing to allay Elizabeth’s worst fears that her unborn child is not the only Darcy heir and the questions that are provoked about her husband’s true character and reputation will not go away.
Mr Darcy’s secret is a story about love and misunderstandings; of overcoming doubt and trusting to the real feelings of the heart as our sparkling, witty heroine Elizabeth and the powerful, compelling figure of Mr Darcy take centre stage in this romantic tale set in Regency Derbyshire and the Lakes alongside the beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice.
My new book, just launched, is Searching for Captain Wentworth. I am just as in love with Captain Wentworth and I’ve chosen to move away from sequels with this novel which is about a modern heroine who travels across time to meet her very own Captain Wentworth. I’ve absolutely loved writing this book - it’s my love letter to Jane Austen, Bath, Lyme, and of course, Captain Wentworth!
When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it's an invitation she can’t turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house her favourite author, Jane Austen, lived in. But, the neglected house is harbouring more than the antiquated furniture and nesting mice, though initially Sophie tries to dismiss the haunting visions of a young girl. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie's story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together the tale of Jane Austen’s own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion.
I would like to offer two books for an International Giveaway. If you’d like to own either a copy of Mr Darcy’s Secret or a copy of Searching for Captain Wentworth please leave a comment below stating which book you’d prefer and also telling me who is your favourite of Jane Austen’s heroes.
Twitter -- @janeodiwe