The Author of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos, is my lovely guest today and she
raises the Question: Is There An American Equivalent to the English Mr. Darcy?
Comment below and share on Facebook or twitter for a chance to win a signed copy, two teabags, and two coasters that ask the rhetorical question, “Coffee? Tea? Or Mr. Darcy?”
Jane, thank you for hosting me here as I celebrate the launch of my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. I’m thrilled to be here, in virtual England with you!
Let me introduce myself as an American author that has been, since childhood, enamored of all things English, all the way from Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland to the latest incarnation of Dr. Who (or more accurately Downton Abbey). No surprise then, that I traveled to England to live and work, after graduating in (what else?) English Literature. That was some twenty years ago, yet the obsession (along with many others, I assure you) continues.
I’m not alone. Here in America there are thousands of members of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and plenty of card-carrying Jane Austen fans that partake of festivals, Jane Austen teas held at libraries, and consumers a-plenty to buy “I Love Mr. Darcy” mugs, t-shirts and tote bags galore.
I have often wondered that Americans have fabulous, hunky film stars like George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, or Johnny Depp, but do we have a literary hero that comes close to Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy?
Hmmmm. Perhaps Rhett Butler of Gone With the Wind…but does Rhett or Jay Gatsby hold a tallow candle to Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy? I’m curious to know what the readers out there think, because frankly my dear, I’d choose Mr. Darcy in a heartbeat.
Thank you, Jane Austen, for providing us with him! Captain Wentworth, Colonel Brandon, and Mr. Tilney do come close to rivaling your Mr. Darcy, but not quite.
There is of course, Mr. Rochester, but wait a minute, he’s English too! And he doesn’t intentionally change for his heroine, as Mr. Darcy changes his behavior because of, and with a remote hope over winning over, Elizabeth. And, so, in one fell swoop, Mr. Rochester is bested by our Mr. Darcy.
I do blame some of the Mr. Darcy obsession on the fact that Pride and Prejudice has been, for decades now, on required school reading lists across the nation. At very impressionable ages, American girls are introduced to the natural charms of Mr. Darcy. He becomes, essentially, our first literary love. And the fact that he’s so wealthy just feeds into our Cinderella-marries-the-Prince fantasy that we Americans are spoon-fed from birth!
It’s no coincidence then, that my heroine in Definitely Not Mr. Darcy fell for Darcy at an early age. She owns the entire collection of “I Love Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Tilney” etc. coffee mugs, too.
I had a lot of fun with my American heroine, Chloe Parker, who really is more Austen-obsessed than I, and feels as if she were born two centuries too late. Chloe joins what she thinks is a documentary set in Jane Austen’s England…but soon discovers that she’s up to her stays in a reality dating show…competing to snare the “Mr. Darcy” of the show. The only problem is she can’t get two other men on the set off her mind!
Yes, there are three potential heroes in Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. But is one of them a real Mr. Darcy? I leave that for you to decide!
I enjoyed having a 21st-century American navigate (or not navigate!) the social intricacies of upper-crust 1812 English society. I also enjoyed the wish-fulfillment aspect of bringing my heroine’s fantasy to life—will her beloved Jane Austen’s England be everything she’d hoped? As the back of the book says:
This is no ordinary Regency romance. It’s reality.
Chloe Parker was born two centuries too late. A thirty-nine-yea-old divorced mother, she runs her own antique letterpress business, is a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society, and gushes over everything Regency. But her business is failing, threatening her daughter’s future. What’s a lady to do?
Why, audition for Jane Austen-inpsired TV show set in England, of course.
What Chloe thinks is a documentary turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Eight women are competing to snare Mr. Wrightman, the heir to a gorgeous estate—and a one-hundred-thousand-dollar prize. So Chloe tosses her bonnet into the ring, hoping to transform from stressed-out Midwestern mom to genteel American heiress and win the money. With no cell phones, indoor plumbing, or deodorant to be found, she must tighten her corset and flash some ankle to beat out women younger, more cutthroat, and less clumsy than herself. But the witty and dashing Mr. Wrightman proves to be a prize worth winning even if it means the gloves are off…
You can learn more about Definitely Not Mr. Darcy at Karen's website become a fan of mine on Facebook or follow me on twitter @karendoornebos.
But in the meantime, I do have to ask:
Is there an American literary equivalent to the English Mr. Darcy? Leave a comment for your chance to win! Increase your chances by sharing this post on Facebook or twitter!
Huge congratulations and thank you, Karen for joining us today. I've enjoyed hearing all about your book, as I'm sure my readers have too. Don't forget to leave a comment to win a copy of the book. The competition will run until October 10th and the winner's name drawn from a hat to be announced on October 11th 2011.