Darcy among the Luddites — 57 Comments

  1. That’s really a change for you and for JAFF in general. We’ll be looking at the wider world instead of only the story on a little bit of ivory.

    • It’s a change for me, certainly! I’m under the impression other JAFF writers have brought in other parts of the world, especially the wars, but it was fascinating to look more at the parts of British history we don’t see so much of.

  2. Very interesting, Abigail. Looking forward to reading this book. A time of serious unrest. Thank you so much for sharing the excerpt.

  3. Fantastic. This extract has really whet my appetite for your story. I grew up in a village not far from Cromford, where the Industrial Revolution started with Arkwright’s first mill. My mother comes from a village very near Chatsworth and my father from the wool towns of Yorkshire so I grew up close to the great estate of Chatsworth and the slums of the workers cottages in Yorkshire albeit it 160 years later in the 1970s. We were taught about the Luddites during History lessons and it was part of our examination curriculum for our O levels aged 16. What a terrible period in British History (yes, another one!) where workers felt they had no other option but to resort to violence. I like how Darcy’s journey will be physical and emotional. Can’t wait!

    • Interesting! I did some reading about Cromford, particularly since it was so close to Matlock. One of the challenges of writing this book was to help American readers understand that the Luddite Rebellion was more complex than it is taught in our schools – a pretty quick mention about them destroying machines, and not much discussion of the more complex issues that led to their problems, like the Enclosure Acts, the bad harvests of 1810 and 1811, the horrible conditions in the mills, the tariffs and trade blockades, etc. They really did have almost no options.

  4. This looks fascinating, Abigail. I’ve always been interested in the Luddites and their cause (also from History O levels, Debra) so I’m really looking forward to seeing Darcy and Elizabeth in such a turbulent context. I lived in Manchester close to the bombed out slums in the 1970s as well, with its constant reminder of the Mills and their workers, though not as old as the original cottages Debra is talking about. Looking forward to Darcy’s new adventure.

    • Thanks, Monica! It’s been fascinating research. One part which really struck me was how there were a few people in the upper classes who really did support reform to help the Luddites, and what a huge gap in understanding there was between those few and the rest of their society. In the US, I often drive past the old mills of Fall River and think about what the people who worked there went through.

  5. Oooh, this is why I love historical Romance so much – these books give us insight into fascinating times, long, long ago – sometimes it feels almost like looking into a chrystal ball. I already read about those unruly times in some other P&P-Variations and have always been a little bit disappointed that the topic itself was only hinted at… But now we’ll go right into it- YES!! Thank you, Abigail, for spending so much time and effort on your research, I know we will all love your new book with all its intruders. I cant’t wait to read it 🙂

    • Glad to hear you’re interested! One of my worries about the book is that some readers will think I’m making up the events because they seem so extreme when I’ve been very careful to stick to the facts. As usual, I got carried away with how much research I did!

  6. Oh this sounds exciting! This is my first time hearing about the Luddites and I’m looking forward to reading your new book!

  7. Very much looking forward to this book. It sounds action-packed and with lots of opportunities for ODC to learn a lot, especially about each other and themselves.

  8. A new book! Can’t wait! Mr Darcy’s Refuge was the second of your books I read after To Conquer Mr Darcy. I have since bought all your others and have read them many times so I am desperate to read this one. I love the excerpt and the blurb. I much prefer to learn about history from novels such as this – much more easily understood.

  9. Romance and history mixed together has always interested me. Part of what makes people tick is the world around them. Even if they are not physically affected by a situation, they can be emotionally or financially so. Some Austen characters are well informed and have clear opinions, others are shallow. I’m sure I will encounter both in this book with yours!

    • Odd you should mention it – one thing in the book that I’m expecting to be somewhat controversial is about my Bingley. His fortune is from manufacturing, but he was raised to be a gentleman and to keep his hands clean from that source of his fortune, so he did nothing to supervise his mills and simply trusted the managers his father had appointed. Without supervision, conditions in his mills became very bad, and this was a huge shock to him. Even good, well-meaning people could end up being part of the problem!

      • Now that is unteresting! I can see Charles as being shocked and angered at having his trust and the people abused. Unfortunately, I can also see Caroline not giving a damn about their plight, and encouraging her brother not to get involved. Time for him to grow a backbone.

      • I can just see Caroline – “But they don’t feel it as we would, Charles. It’s natural for them to live like that.” Fortunately, Darcy is the one who discovers it, and we know he won’t shut up about it until something is done! 😉

  10. Can’t wait to read this!! Sounds fantastic! Definitely a different area that I haven’t seen done in any JAFF before!

  11. The best way to learn history is through the eyes of our beloved characters in the hands of an accomplished author. I’ll be another fan of yours awaiting the book’s arrival! I also enjoy you telling us about your writing process – how a character leads you in another direction; the character becomes alive. I think that is what helps your characters seem so real. A “formula” author’s plots seem contrived by comparison.

    • Thank you! It drives me a bit crazy when characters hijack my stories, but I also know that’s where my writing tends to come alive, so it’s always exciting as well. I’m worried about the new book I’ve just started because it’s chock full of really strong characters in volatile situations, so I’m expecting it to go all over the place!

  12. I’ve always loved historical fiction with a great romance thrown in for good measure. Adding Elizabeth and Darcy to the mix? Count me in! I can’t wait to read your newest, Abigail!

  13. Can’t wait to read it Abigail! You are my favorite JAFF author for so many reasons- you are always true to Darcy and Elizabeth’s characters and personalities, and your plots are always original. Your Elizabeth is always witty- can’t imagine how hard that is to write! I know little to nothing about the Luddites so this novel promises to be informative as well as entertaining.

  14. P&P variations lately seem to be less about a sweet little romance in a sleepy backwater and more about throwing more and more P&P characters into action related to actual historical events. *Plus* the romance, of course! This one sounds the most exciting yet! Can’t wait to read it — adding it now to my Must Read list. (Disclaimer: Not that there’s anything bad about sweet little romances. But I do like this new sub-genre, and these tales spur me on to do more historical investigations for myself!)

    • When P&P variations first were being published, many writers, including me, liked to find a small point in P&P to alter and make into a new variation, rather than making wholesale changes – what some people called writing a new book and naming the lead characters Darcy and Elizabeth. Now that there are so many variations out there, a lot of long-time readers are getting bored with books that stick too close to canon P&P and want something more in their variations. I’m more of a stick-close sort myself, but sometimes I just need to mix in some new stuff! But there is romance, I promise you!

  15. I can’t wait to read this. Sounds like a totally different perspective on our favorite couple. What adventures await?

  16. I have to agree with others who have posted here as well as your own comment, Abigail. Having read so many vagaries and variations on P&P, I welcome the change in locale when the story moves to the continent and am more than happy to here more about British history, too. When I’m teaching British Lit, my students really seem to enjoy the additional insight into a period I can share with them through my own reading.

    • Sometimes I wish there were a way we could mark P&P variations as either ‘good for new JAFF readers’ or ‘good for jaded JAFF readers.’ But it is nice to have a change of pace sometimes!

  17. I love it when an author incorporates real historical facts in their work of fiction! It really makes one think and gives the story such depth. Thank you for having an amazing imagination and for your research! I’m certain to learn something and that is the best gift an author can bestow.

  18. So looking forward to reading your new book! Adding historical facts and interweaving them into the plot makes for a very good read!

  19. One of the things I love about reading historical fiction is the chance to learn about history in such an immersive way. Thank you so much for taking the time to do all this research. I look forward to reading the story!

  20. A new Abigail story is just what the doctor ordered!!! It’s been awhile and I haven’t been able to find a great summer read yet. I will be first in line to purchase your new book next month…..if it’s not hijacked!!!

    Thank you for the sneak peak.

  21. I so wish to read this as soon as possible! It sounds absolutely amazing!

    Thank you for sharing this excerpt with us!

    Susanne, emerging briefly from all of her Hamlet essays….

  22. OMG! I am so freakin’ excited for this book! You are my favorite JAFF/variations author. “To Conquer Mr. Darcy” is also my most favorite of all your work. I’ve always wondered how JA could reconcile Derbyshire and the Luddites. Bring on the history!!

  23. There is never a doubt that I am going to buy any book written by you, Abigail. I will not pre-order but I will be buying it, none the less. Sounds mysterious and enthralling for both the political arena and ODC. Thanks for sharing.

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