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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Mary Lydon Simonsen: Elizabeth Bennet--the Good, the Bad and the Other Woman

Linda Banche here. My guest today is Mary Lydon Simonsen and her latest Pride and Prejudice retelling, A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Here she elaborates on why we love Elizabeth Bennet--she was wrong about Darcy, admitted her mistake and changed her mind. Mary also tackles the question of what could have happened if Darcy had already committed himself to another woman.

Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win the copy of A Wife for Mr. Darcy which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Mary will select the winner. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winner within a week of selection, I will award the book to an alternate. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.

And the winner Mary selected is cyn209! Congratulations, cyn209, and thanks to all for coming over.

Welcome, Mary. Happy to have you here.

Mary Lydon Simonsen:

Hi, Linda. Thank you for having me back at Historical Hussies, one of my favorite historical blogs. You have asked me to write about the good and the bad of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and the “other woman” in my novel, A Wife for Mr. Darcy.

Like most of us who were born without the Mother Teresa gene, we have our good side and our bad side. Elizabeth Bennet was no different. When she first met Mr. Darcy, she was greatly insulted by his comments and his rude behavior at an assembly in Meryton. Because her pride had been wounded, she was determined not to hear any good of him. She did not ask herself why a man of the landed gentry, and someone with such high connections, would befriend Charles Bingley, a man whose family had made its fortune in trade. Nor did she take into consideration that poor Mr. Darcy had spent endless afternoons and evenings at Netherfield Park with Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst, two felines who always had their claws out. Even after she learned of his devotion to his sister or that he visited his autocratic aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and her sickly daughter, her opinion of the gentleman remained unchanged. Why? Because Darcy had wronged her. It wasn’t until Mr. Darcy revealed all in his letter following her rejection of his proposal at Hunsford Lodge that she took a step back and reviewed the whole of their acquaintance, and when she did, she didn’t like what she saw.

But that is the beauty of Elizabeth Bennet. Unlike Wickham or Mr. Collins or Lady Catherine, she is capable of correction. When presented with an opportunity to set things right, she does. By the time she meets Darcy at his estate in Derbyshire, her opinion of the man has undergone a sea change, and because of that, the ground is fertile for the seeds of romance.

Now, as to the other woman in A Wife for Mr. Darcy. Her name is Letitia Montford, and she is everything that an accomplished woman of the Regency Era should be. She draws, paints, does needlework, sings, plays on the piano-forte, and knows the modern languages. She is an excellent dancer and performs well in public. What’s not to like? At first that is Mr. Darcy’s conclusion as well, and since he is of an age when a man’s thoughts tend toward taking a wife for the purpose of producing an heir, he seeks her out at the different venues during the season. Because Mr. Darcy had paid sufficient attention to Miss Montford, rumors are circulating that the gentleman from Derbyshire has found a wife. But that was before he had set eyes on Elizabeth Bennet. So what is a man to do? You’ll have to read the novel to find out.

What do you think about Lizzy Bennet? Did she make other mistakes? For example, why was she so willing to believe Mr. Wickham, someone she hardly knew, when he was telling lies about Mr. Darcy? I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading my post.

A gentleman should always render an apology...
When Mr. Darcy realizes he insulted Miss Elizabeth Bennet at the Meryton Assembly, he feels duty bound to seek her out and apologize...

When he has insulted a lady...
But instead of meekly accepting his apology, Elizabeth stands up to him, and Mr. Darcy realizes with a shock that she is a very different type of lady than he is used to...

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit and, where she regularly contributes.


Linda Banche said...

Hi Mary, I think part of the reason we like Elizabeth is because she does have flaws, although not disastrous ones, and she learns from her mistakes. And just like the rest of us, once she forms a bad opinion, it takes a lot for her to change it. Good thing Darcy was persistent!

catslady said...

Ahh me thinks she is a better person and I lol. I think that makes her very endearing. I'm pretty stubborn and once wronged, I don't know if all could be forgiven. I try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt but he sorely wounded her pride and we all know how hard that is to overcome. Sounds like a wonderful take on Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I look forward to reading your version!

MarySimonsen said...

Hi Linda. I agree. Elizabeth is not perfect, and that makes her approachable.

Catslady, Fortunately, D&D were thrown into each other's company enough so that they were able to change their opinion of each other, and love blossomed. Thanks for stopping by.

Margaret said...

Please count me in on the giveaway! So glad to have discovered another great blog on this tour. Thanks!


Debbie Brown said...

It sounds like a fascinating story! Life just isn't that simple. Of course a tall, dark, handsome and terribly rich man would not be that easy to catch, especially with the complications that arose from Elizabeth's being offended. What's a man to do?

Carol Burge said...

Hi Mary,

I think one reason Elizabeth Bennett was so eaily taken in with Mr. Wickham's lies about Mr. Darcy is simply because Mr. Darcy had wounded her pride and she was furious at him. The lies sort of confirmed her negative feelings towards him.

I think she sort of convinced herself that if Darcy was the kind of man who went around insulting ladies, he must be the kind of man Mr. Wickham described, right...?

Also, I think Elizabeth Bennett was a little ticked at herself for being attracted to Mr. Darcy, in spite of all this.

A WIFE FOR MR. DARCY sounds like a wonderful read. I'd love to get my hands on that book!

Best of luck!

(Carol Burge 4 AT g mail dot com)

Margay said...

Another intriguing take on the Darcy/Elizabeth love story - count me in!


cyn209 said...

thank you for visiting, Mary!! good luck & congrats on A Wife for MrDarcy!!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!!


MarySimonsen said...

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. Please tell your friends about the giveaway.

BeckyC said...

Elizabeth had her pride wounded and she allowed herself to stubbornly see nothing but negatives when it came to Darcy. She is adored because she is real. She makes mistakes and she learns from them.

Mary, I really looking forward to this one! I am excited to see where you take D&E on their way to happiness.

Please enter me. thanks

Jessica said...

Elizabeth may have been quick to believe Wickham, but I think Darcy helped her (and everyone else) out, by being proud and, in some cases, rude, everywhere he went. Of course, this was probably due to a mixture of pride, shyness, and distress over Georgiana's recent situation, we as readers know this, but Elizabeth wouldn't have ;)

Thanks for the chance!

ArtaMisa said...

Hi Mary,
First of all I had to congratulate you for the beautiful choice of book cover illustration. It's so romance inspiring. And secondly, for the impressive literary work, and success you achieved so far.
So, to answer to your question: we all love Elizabeth even though she's not highly accomplished or not flawless, but rather because she's smart, intelligent, witty, and sociable. How could she not believe a militia officer who plead his claims so gentlemanly and toned with bits of sweet filtrations, while the other [Darcy] slight and offended her almost publicly? Can some one blame her for the rendition at the consequent (fiasco) proposal? Not by me, in any case.
Thank you for the chance to win a copy of your book offered through this blogg.

Chelsea B. said...

Hi, Mary! Your new book sounds great! Elizabeth Bennet did, of course, make mistakes, which I actually think made me like her even more. But, like all great heroines, she redeems herself :-)


Megan said...

I LOVE reading 'Pride & Prejudice' retellings and sequels. This is a book that I have wanted to read for quite awhile. Please enter me in the giveaway. Thank you for this opportunity!

lovetoread205 [at] gmail [dot] com

MarySimonsen said...

Thank you, Ladies, for stopping by. Best of luck in the giveaway.

ArtaMisa, I love this cover. It's my absolute favorite.

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

thank you , Mary, for sharing your gift with us ~ not only the writing but the writing of more of our dear jane! another new adventure to anticipate is delish ") THANK YOU! from one happy fan! infuse at live dot ca

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

~ about Lizzy Bennet? Did she make other mistakes? For example, why was she so willing to believe Mr. Wickham, someone she hardly knew, when he was telling lies about Mr. Darcy?
i think Lizzy was still young and generous hearted - letting her emotions or attractions determine her responses. not yet having the learned knowledge and skills to see through facades. perhaps a sheltered life kept her innocent of ill meaning persons and their manipulative ways... especially with the spiritual training upon which she would have been raised.