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Monica Fairview | When Caroline Bingley Spoke I Listened

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On what must have been an ordinary day in my life, I woke up with a strange idea. I ignored it, got on with my usual routine, and hoped it would go away. But it didn’t. So on that perfectly ordinary day, I made a fateful decision: I was going to write about Caroline Bingley. Yes, Caroline Bingley, the woman in Pride and Prejudice that everyone loves to hate.

Surely not? I really had someone rather different in my mind for my next novel. I’d finished An Improper Suitor, a regency romance, and I’d had such a wonderful time writing it that I was all geared up to continue with one of the characters. But Caroline had wormed herself into my mind, and she refused to go away.

The thing is, I was probably one of the few people on the planet that didn’t really dislike her. Which is probably why she’d come to me to plead her case.

"I have been ill treated, Ms. Fairview," she said to me. "Most abominably so. I have lost the object of my affections to none other that Miss Elizabeth Bennet, who has little enough to recommend her but a pair of fine eyes, and now I am despised by all my acquaintance. I do not know how I will hold up my head in town."

I eyed her closely. For a brief second, I thought I could see a tear-drop glimmer at the corner of her eye, but she turned away from me so quickly I couldn’t be sure.

That was when I knew I would write her story. She needed me, and I couldn’t fail her.

"I will help you," I said.

I expected gratitude, at least. But that would not have been Caroline. "Very well, then," she said, "I will send round a carriage for you tomorrow at 11:00."

And that was that.

So on that fateful day I took on what seemed then an insurmountable task. How on earth was I to make Caroline into someone readers would care for? Even worse, how was I going to find her a gentleman who would be willing to get beyond her prickly exterior and try to discover the real Caroline, even assuming there was something behind the facade?

I needed a man who would not object to cactus plants. It would have to be either someone with very thick skin, or someone who could see beyond the surface of the cactus to the moist plant that lay within. He would have to be an outsider, someone that wasn’t part of her usual group, someone who would compel her to expand her horizons.

That was when I conceived of the American Mr. Darcy, Robert, the perfect hero for Caroline. He is a Darcy, so he was raised thoroughly understanding the social order, and he could function within its parameters. But he was also an outsider, and so he could break the rules and plead ignorance whenever he pleased. Which was very convenient, for him and for me. He had to be a gentleman, but not quite the kind of gentleman Caroline was used to. Someone who would confuse her, trip her up, and make her uncertain of her ground. Someone she couldn’t just dismiss.

And then it went on from there. Soon everyone was clamouring to be in the story. Lydia wanted her moment in the spotlight, and I had to give it to her. Mrs. Bennet insisted on helping me with matchmaking. Mr.Bennet found the whole thing vastly amusing, and Fitzwilliam Darcy did his best to protect Elizabeth from the sudden appearance of a houseful of guests who seemed to care little that she was unwell. I was very happy to see them gather around, as though accepting that Caroline was entitled to be there among them.

I will not claim it was easy to work with all the people who insisted on having a role in the novel. But they were old familiar friends, and it’s very difficult to say no to good friends. When I started to feel overwhelmed, I went back to Jane Austen’s text and studied it closely, tasting the words of the characters on my tongue, and repeating them to myself until I was sure I understood their flavour.

And so, what started as an ordinary day ended entirely differently, as I undertook the formidable task of bringing back to life characters from a remarkable book published almost 200 hundred years ago.

The Other Mr. Darcy-in stores October 2009!

Did you know that Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?!

In this highly original Pride and Prejudice sequel by British author Monica Fairview, Caroline Bingley is our heroine. Caroline is sincerely broken-hearted when Mr. Darcy marries Lizzy Bennet--that is, until she meets his charming and sympathetic American cousin...

Mr. Robert Darcy is as charming as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud, and he is stunned to find the beautiful Caroline weeping at his cousin's wedding. Such depth of love, he thinks, is rare and precious. For him, it's nearly love at first sight. But these British can be so haughty and off-putting. How can he let the young lady, who was understandably mortified to be discovered in such a vulnerable moment, know how much he feels for and sympathizes with her?

About the Author As a literature professor, Monica Fairview enjoyed teaching students to love reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized what she really wanted was to write books herself. She lived in Illinois, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Boston as a student and professor, and now lives in London. To find out more, please visit www.monicafairview.co.uk

 

 

Comments

13 comments posted.

Re: Monica Fairview | When Caroline Bingley Spoke I Listened

Thank you so much for hosting me here. This is such a wonderful site!
I'd be happy to answer any questions.
(Monica Fairview 4:22am October 16, 2009)

What a wonderful premise for a book. It sounds great.
(G S Moch 10:19am October 16, 2009)

This will be an exciting story. I love a book that goes beyond the bounds of a known story and expands our understanding of the characters. Congratulations for having the courage to do this.
(Rosemary Krejsa 10:42am October 16, 2009)

Sounds like an interesting story! What an undertaking!
(Kelli Jo Calvert 10:48am October 16, 2009)

I can't wait to read your book. I am so glad you were willing to listen to Caroline when she came to you with her story. Thanks !!
(Robin McKay 11:23am October 16, 2009)

Pride and Prejudice has always been one of my favorite novels. I love to read anything involving the characters, because for me it rounds out the story. Writing about Caroline is a great idea. I never hated her, I just thought she was misunderstood. She was a product of her time.
(Theresa Buckholtz 11:43am October 16, 2009)

Thank you all for your encouraging words. Thank you for coming to visit me and Caroline.
(Monica Fairview 3:53pm October 16, 2009)

What a wonderful idea....Caroline's story. It would be fun to know how Caroline's love life fares with another Mr.Darcy !! How delicious...can't wait to read the book.
(Armenia Fox 4:38pm October 16, 2009)

I love the storyline. I always felt sort of sorry for Caroline. Can't wait to read thsi book.
(Josie Roetemeyer 5:07pm October 16, 2009)

I adored Pride and Prejudice. I look forward in reading this.

Thanks.
(Tracey Dent 5:13pm October 16, 2009)

I am very interested in this
story, if only to see that there
is a good side to every person!
(Margay Roberge 6:18pm October 16, 2009)

Hi Monica! Your book sounds great! I love Pride and Prejudice and even if I have thought of what have been of many of the characters, I really never imagine Caroline's future. Going to visit your site now to find more about the book.
(Julia Blanco 7:30pm October 16, 2009)

What an unusual book! I would like to read it.

Thanks for the contest!
(Brenda Rupp 11:02pm October 16, 2009)

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