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Reader’s Perspective by Evie Cotton — 56 Comments

  1. Sorry for the reason Dave is on leave, but welcome Evie.

    My goodness! What a to-do! I read through this and see that perhaps I’m a bit more accepting of the pace. It didn’t feel too fast to me. Perhaps I had little patience with Elizabeth’s stubbornness to see past her prejudice all those weeks at Rosings and so was happy to have Georgiana’s words and Darcy’s actions with Theo finally work on her. I wasn’t so convinced that she shunned the entrapment of the marriage so much as being trapped in marriage with her perception of Darcy. I think she got so stubborn about things because she did feel a spark of attraction which is why his seeming rejection caused such a reaction from her.
    I think two weeks is plenty for Elizabeth to be able to quietly move about the house a few times.
    I do agree that Anne’s reappearance at Rosings took me by surprise b/c I thought she would get a town adventure before returning home.
    And yes…Lydia will definitely stir up more trouble unless she unwittingly finds herself paired with a stern drill sergeant.

    Personally, I feel there can be quite a bit more if needed. Lady C is not quite done scheming to have Darcy for Anne, Mr. Bennett would still need more convincing, and Theo needs his own HEA even if he is reconciled with Darcy. Maybe a girl back home at Pemberley? They haven’t all met up at Pemberley yet and I could see something of the remaining Darcy siblings visiting Sebastian’s grave now that they are all reconciled. So much more can happen. And hey, Wickham might escape and go for vengeance leaving Theo and Monty to save the day again.

    Nice discussion! Thanks!

    • Who says the COMPLETE story must be told in one setting? We had always hoped for sequels and spinoffs if this first one went well.
      I loved your scene, but we must remember that Austen never really told us how Elizabeth came to her understanding of Darcy. In my Darcy’s Passions, it was a moment in his mother’s conservatory, which was the defining moment in Elizabeth’s transformation, but Austen never tells us that. Nor does she include a kissing scene. It is only we “modern” women who want to see a masterful Darcy, who want to believe the myth created by Andrew Davies in the 1995 mini-series. For next week’s chapter, I have a section which defines this Elizabeth’s growing ardor.
      That being said, this is the story of the “Darcy Brothers.”

      • Regina, I am pleased that you liked my scene. It is true that we never get to see kissing in Austin’s novels, but I do rather enjoy it when we as modern readers are left in agony until the very end. Will they, won’t they? Its that moment when an electric shock of love runs through Elizabeth’s body and eyes meet. The “Is he feeling what I am feeling?”, moments bring a sense of longing to the readers. I want to swoon.

        And I must say that you have caused me to blush on several occasions. 🙂

        • Okay, Regina and Evie, I’m going to argue with both of you, since I’m firmly in the camp that thinks Austen did include kissing in her novels, and modern readers just don’t understand the linguistic tricks a single female writer was forced to use in Regency times. If you’re not allowed to use the words kiss, touch, lips, or other body parts, how can you describe a kiss except to say, “He expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to do.” And that’s why Elizabeth, who could argue with Lady Catherine, was too embarrassed to look him in the eye as he THEN told her about his feelings.

          • I never read it that way before, but you can be sure I will never read it any other way now! Of course he kissed her! How could he resist?

            • Thank you for enlightening me. I was never quite sure what that meant…..but now it is wo obvious,

          • I always read it that way…and the same sort of thing shows up in North and South–after several minutes of delicious silence…I do enjoy the creative innuendo of both authors. 🙂

            • I’m still trying to figure out what Elizabeth is doing when she “immediately, though not very fluently, gave him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so material a change, since the period to which he alluded, as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his present assurances.” Elizabeth is nothing if not fluent with her words, so if she’s not fluent, that’s a hint. And she “gave him to understand” – another hint. But what would a slightly improper but well-bred Regency young lady do? My best guess so far is that she took his hand and gazed up at him with her fine eyes, but I’m really not sure.

    • I think part of my problem is that I cant figure out exactly how much time has passed from the time Lizzy arrived at Rosings to her gun shot to this chapter.

      I do agree with you. Lizzy must have been attracted to Darcy from the first time she saw him and had her pride hurt. That in itself is enough to Stunt their relationship.

      As for the length of the story. I will admit that often I get to a place in a novel where I feel like everything is wrapping up and I become a disgruntled reader. Then I realize that there are 100 more pages. What could possibly fill those pages?

      • Abigail, could she have kissed his hand the way that a man would have? It would show both affection and respect.

  2. I hope Lawayne feel better so she can leave the hospital soon. Hang in there, Dave!

    I think there is plenty more story left. We still haven’t seen Theo in action as a barrister, we still don’t know about Monty’s true “rakishness,” we don’t know about Sir Lewis’ will and why Anne and her mother are upset over it, Anne hasn’t had her adventures in London, Lydia hasn’t reformed (although Lady Cat might take on that challenge), Georgiana has barely appeared, and of course Lizzy and William need some action.

    Evie, that was a lovely scene for Lizzy and William! Yay, you!

  3. June thank you! What do you suppose could be so troubling in Sir Luis’ will? Do you think it is the reason Anne has been held captive for so long?

      • Lady Cat married to a Spaniard – no, I don’t think she would….

        I think the will gives Rosings and all the de Bourgh money to Anne, who now has the right to evict Lady Cat and send her off to a small London townhouse that formerly was used by Sir Lewis’ mistress. The will might say that Lady Cat is guardian for Anne’s inheritance “until Anne is able to manage her finances on her own” – which Lady Cat says is never, and Anne says is NOW.

  4. I think the Will says it is all Anne’s and that Lady C has to move to the dower house upon Anne’s majority which has been some years now. I also think it says that she shouldn’t marry Darcy unless they love each other. Who knows. 😉 But Lady C taking over Lydia, I see a comical pairing there! Good job, Evie. I didn’t not feel rushed with this chapter. As a reader, I expect some things to happen behind the scenes. That she loves Darcy is no surprise, except to her and upon hearing of Lydia’s disgrace and then immediately thinking herself abandoned, it is no surprise that the light bulb went off.

    • I love the idea of Lady C and Lydia! I know Regina is working hard on the question of what’s in Sir Lewis’s will, and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with. My favorite theory is that Sir Lewis was afraid of his wife, so he told Lady Catherine it left everything to her, but that it actually said something quite different. 😉

      • I did a little bit of research last spring and found several girls reform schools that were established in the very early 1800s. Most of them put an emphasis on the womanly arts but there were a few that actually educated girls in a similar way to a boys education. Music schools for instance. I would like to see Lady Catherine as a sponsor for one of these reform schools. I can see all kinds of interesting developments from this.

  5. Wow, what a fun exchange! My very first impression was to wonder if Abigail, Susan and Maria still felt “poor Evie” after reading this! 🙂 You all are very good and brave to ask for comments and suggestions, I think, and we get to enjoy it all! The scene with Elizabeth and Darcy is wonderful and especially loved your use of Shakespear’s lovely sonnet… I could hear Marianne’s plaintive quoting in the Sense and Sensibility Movie. Very emotional and here given a sweet and positive turn! Oh, please don’t let Wickham escape! A nice trial with Theo triumphing would be great! And it would be nice if someone could help Lydia grow and reform, though it doesn’t seem consistent with her character… But what are “Variations” for but to make it all come out how we would like?!! 🙂
    Best wishes to Dave and Lawayne!

    • Hey, I wrote “Poor Evie” after reading it! I think it takes a lot of courage for a reader to criticize something that’s been written by writers she knows, and I doubt she expected to be in that position when she took it on. I’d have to be very vain to think that everything I write comes out perfectly the first time, and even more so when under time stress. 😉

      • My first draft did not have any negative remarks. I instead emphasized the different types of relationships in the chapter. Different kinds of love and friendships. But in the end I felt like that was unfair to both the readers and the authors. In truth I greatly esteem all of the authors and their friendship has meant a great deal to me over the past couple of years so it was nice to not know exactly who wrote what. What we see here on Austen Variations is a labor of love most certainly, however with the time constraints involved with this type of writing I fully understand that things will not be perfect. I dont expect them to be but even so the quality of writing on here is exceptional.

  6. I like your scene of how Elizabeth gradually fall in love with Mr Darcy. It seems realistic and I hope the writers will consider adding a scene or two to depict her changing feelings. Before reading your explanation, I feel the pace isn’t too fast. But now after taking in your views, I must agree with you. It feels the story will come to an end soon but there are unresolved issues, particularly Anne and Lady Catherine wrangling over Sir Lewis de Bourgh’s will. This should make for an interesting continuation of the story.

    A very good discussion, Evie. I hope you will continue providing another perspective to the weekly tale.

    • There are definitely more to come and there are definitely some unresolved issues. I have complete faith in our authors. They will do a brilliant job of wrapping everything up and answering all of our questions. And hey, this is only chapter 20. There will be at least 20 more right?

  7. I am sorry to hear that your wife is not feeling well, Dave.

    Thank you for your post, Evie. I liked your D and E scene. 🙂 I also understand your feelings about the story seeming to jump ahead. However, I was hoping that it wasn’t so much a final jump as it was a jump ahead with explanations coming later—where are Anne and Richard, what happened with Elizabeth’s illness, what are Jane and Bingley doing, why was Wickham at the flower shop, etc.

    It does leave room for lots of “what if” or “perhaps” scenarios–which are so fun to play with, and once your post got me thinking this morning, my brain has been toying with them all day. 🙂 Here are some of the those thoughts that have been roaming through my brain are….

    Both Darcy and Theo seem shocked by the change in Elizabeth. Perhaps the change has been one that she has made and has not yet explained—to anyone?

    What was in the note that Elizabeth received? It had to be delivered directly to her hands…was there a more interesting reason than it might not be proper for a young lady to receive mail from a gentleman? Did this play into Elizabeth’s current behavior? 😉

    News of Lydia’s travels may have been contained, but can her reputation be saved if she is found to be increasing? She obviously cannot go home yet—we must wait at least a few weeks to see what damage Wickham may have done.

    So what could be done with her? I don’t think she is beyond redemption just yet, but she will be if she has to marry Wickham or if she is sent back to her mother without first experiencing some harsh real-life lessons. Perhaps she could be sent to be a helper/companion for the wife of some strict military officer who has just entered her confinement. She could see what military life is like as well as what it means to be a mother—make her stay through the birth and have her help tend the baby. She is the youngest in her family, and I doubt she really knows what it is to care for a child or to do hard work.

    Perhaps Wickham does not get prosecuted by the law courts, but the matter is dealt with through military channels. Perhaps Richard has a better idea for dealing with him. If Lydia is carrying Wickham’s child, a marriage could be arranged and then he could be sent to some other country to serve—there are always the Canadian colonies or the Far East where he could serve. Lydia could either travel with him or wait for him to return (if he ever does).

    Perhaps Anne cannot claim her inheritance without being married? (Perhaps Richard could help with that?) Perhaps Lady C has altered the documents?

    The story can’t be over yet—the brothers have only just tentatively come to a better understanding. There is still much to be done to strengthen that connection, isn’t there?

    • Eileen, I wasn’t satisfied with Mr. Darcy’s letter either. I was hoping for something that might make Elizabeth blush. I do hope that someone finds it hidden in Elizabeth’s sock drawer and reads it to us. What could possibly have been in that letter to make Elizabeth change so drastically? She was worried, the note appears and all of the sudden she is fine. Hmmm… has he been sending secret messages for weeks now?

      Lydia increasing. The thought hadn’t crossed my mind before but now that I think about it I kind of hope that she is. Perhaps I am a little too angry with her. In the original I was ok with her just being an ignorant teenager with the giggles but in this chapter we have found out that she went into her tryst with “he who shall not be named” with eyes wide open. Is the far east far enough for them?

      • Can you imagine those two (spoiled as they are) trapped on a boat for months with very little company and poor living conditions? It doesn’t pain me at all to think of him suffering so, but I would feel sorry for her. And then there are all those foreign diseases they would be exposed to. I would be surprised if he was killed by another passenger on the way…accidentally falling overboard? Then, the young widow could be returned to England, hopefully a bit wiser for the wear.

        • Im not sure that Lydia would even notice anything amiss with her distressed husband except a lack of ribbons and lace. Her true distress would come from a lack of pin money.

    • In my mind, the letter was just Darcy telling Elizabeth that he was called out of town and apologizing for not calling that day. Also, since they were considered engaged, it would be more acceptable for Darcy to write to her. Having said that, now as I think about it, maybe that letter has something romantic in it in addition to the basic message!

      • Even in the original he was better at showing his feelings in writing…and at that point they weren’t engaged and he had yet to begin his change of attitude…this note could very well make whoever finds it blush.

        • Yes it would have been perfectly acceptable for him to write to her daily. Or even multiple times if he so desired. Perhaps his love letters had become such a habit that the lack of a letter along with standing her up could have caused such an extreme reaction from her. I’d buy that.

          In the original Elizabeth had to deliver the news of Lydia herself and she misinterpreted his sudden departure as a permanent exit. This gave her much more time to contemplate his loss. If she were already farther along in her relationship to Darcy then an abrupt scare and eye opening makes sense.

  8. Dave, I’m thinking of you and your wife and sending fast-healing vibes her way!

    Evie, it was a treat getting to read your thoughts on the latest Darcy Brothers chapter — thank you for all the time you took writing and sharing them with us!! However, I confess, I REALLY want to read the piece you’d tentatively titled: ”Why husbands would prefer a story involving the assassination of all things Darcy”!!! LOL. I’ve got my fingers crossed (oh, please!) that you’ll write that one for us someday, too 😀 .

  9. Thanks for the fun post, Evie, from the husbands & assassination of all things Darcy (LOLOL) to Lydia and the Trials of Sir Theo Darcy. Now, SHE is bound to be one of those trials, and can’t wait to see what Regina brings us next week.

    I’m ecstatic that Wickham didn’t get to be part of the family though I agree, some rich brother in law or the other will have to buy off some poor sod to make Lydia respectable. A reformation, ‘Taming of the Hoyden’ – style, might be fun to read about, but it’s an uphill struggle to ever get Lydia to see sense and have some decency!

    I don’t know what to hope about the story now, it seems we’re getting very close to the end 🙁 and the only way to keep going is to find out more about secondary characters, which is a bit of a shame, as personally I’d like more of Elizabeth, Darcy and Theo. But it’s true, if this story finishes there’ll be another one to take its place, and who can complain about that!

    • When the story does come to an end it will be bitter sweet. I will be sad that it is over but full of much anticipation for the next one. Perhaps we will get lucky and get a comedy of errors. We would need Jack Caldwell to get in on the action of course. Who’s with me? Could we vote on the theme? How about Lydia’s Guide to Finding a Husband?

  10. Hi all! Thanks so much for all the well wishes! Lawayne is out of hospital and to see an electrophysiologist. Wonder if this is the same as palpitations from too much hanky waving? Expected to be well with meds. Again, thanks!

    Wow! Go Evie! 🙂 Have always wondered how Jane would write the love scenes if she were here today – I would hope for middle of the road – we all have Very Good Imaginations to fill in the gaps as we see fit. Caresses, kisses, maybe an occasional touch of knees and maybe thighs? We can go from there. That should be acceptable for the traditionalists in our midst. AVA has to be mindful of the wide tastes of we readers. 🙂

    I agree with Evie and others already posted that Lydia cannot go home anytime soon. Since she has been plucked, the Meryton matrons would know after a single tea – no way she could keep from betraying her inappropriate knowledge. I would lean to Colonel Fitz or Bingley to provide help for her. Either a redcoat where she can follow the drum or shipped off to Scotland at a facility handling recalcitrant used-to-be ladys. Marrying Wicked would be cruel on her side, even though her attitude does not encourage any sympathy for her cause. Hopefully no child – that would be a child raising a child. Will be interesting to see where Regina takes her!

    • Glad that your wife is doing better Dave. I hope that her continued recovery is swift.

      On Monday evening I eavesdropped on a conversation between two high school girls. These two girls are in the dance class right after my daughter’s so I have begun to know them a little over the course of this school year. Girl number one congratulated girl number two on successfully snagging a particular boy. They talked about their plans to create a big scene at prom showing the world how in love they were and shared lots of giggles. Then girl number one tells number two that she was so glad that the boy finally found a girl who was normal and not crazy like so and so. Apparently So and So is said boy’s baby mama and So and So did not have a maternal bone in her body. In fact So and So abandoned said baby with a family member and has nothing to do with the child.

      All gossip aside, these are modern day teenagers talking matter of factly about kids having kids. Is this what Lydia would be like today? She no doubt would have been the one to abandon her own child. For the sake of the child in question I take back my earlier statement hoping that Lydia was in fact expanding.

      Lydia must marry and move away somewhere where there are no big towns nearby so that she cannot get into too much trouble.

  11. Glad to hear your wife is on the road to recovery, Dave. My best wishes…

    I am in the camp that feels this wasn’t rushed but I also feel it wasn’t coming to an end soon. There are still many threads that need to be captured. As this is a story about the Darcy brothers, they are just getting reconciled and learning how to relate to each other again. We need to have Theo deal with ‘the harpies’ and the Will. I’m thinking that Sir Lewis leaves it to Anne but with strings attached like Eileen mentioned, marriage but by a certain age and is Anne coming to that age very soon? If she doesn’t marry by ‘that age’, then Lady Catwitch gets a bigger portion? We also need a love interest for Theo and that will take time to develop. Then, of course, there is Georgiana who will have to have some part in the reconcilation.

    As for Lydia, as I wrote in my comment on the chapter post just before this, she is self-absorbed, selfish and manipulative. We can’t forget that girls married young and grew up faster than teens today. I liked Susan’s comment that she has her going to India in her WIP! I don’t really know if she could be ‘reformed’ but her family loves her and they would do whatever they could to help her.

    Great post Evie and I too would like the husband story!

    • I will have to tell my husband how much everyone enjoyed his idea!

      As for Theo finding love, I dont feel like that is necessary. It would be nice but where is he going to find a wife in this story? His only available women right now are Anne and Lydia. Both I think would be horrible matches (and I hope Richard doesnt end up with Anne). Lets save the matchmaking for a sequel. We should make a list of all the qualities this fine lady should have. She must be an avid reader of course…

  12. Thank you Evie for taking on this post, well done! Also best wishes to Dave and his wife!

    I wasn’t disappointed in the latest Darcy Bros. installment but I see the point of wanting to know more details and I agree, it feels like we’re winding up. (If this were a conventional book I could look at my kindle progress indicators and happily realize I’ve only read 60% so there must be more story, with likely disruptions by Lady Catherine, Caroline, or Wickham ahead, or be disappointed that I’ve read 92% and we’re nearly done!) I was surprised before when the anticipated theatre outing turned out to be just a mention of something they all went to, and was remarked on later. I guess we never know what’s going to turn out to be more interesting for the writers to tackle. I would like to see more of Darcy and Elizabeth’s conversations as they learn more about each other, and are not just mooning over each other (much as I appreciate those scenes also). I also really want to see more warm family moments between the Darcy siblings. They’ve had that coming to them, and I think the reconciliation has really got to involve the whole family, and include Elizabeth as part of that family. Theo has been such a great character that I don’t mind the focus occasionally moving to him, over Elizabeth and Darcy. Maybe because of Theo we really learned more about Darcy.

    It’s amusing to me that we all don’t know what to do with Lydia — is she to be punished or pitied? There doesn’t seem to be any part of the world to send her to that it won’t involve creating misery for someone (like the unsuspecting people in the other countries)! Even if she were sent away, her loving sisters would worry about her. Maybe it’s better that somehow she be reformed. With sisters like Jane and Elizabeth who are genuinely caring, some of that must have rubbed off, right?

    • Ah, yes, the *#&% theatre outing. I spent days trying to write the theatre outing and it just wouldn’t come to life. Elizabeth wouldn’t be able to go owing to her health, so it came down to Anne making rude observations while Theo, Monty and Georgiana were polite and occasionally exchanging glances about Anne. As I was running out of time, I decided the important part of it was not what happened, but Monty’s reaction to what happened, so I reduced it to that segment. Maybe if I’d had more time, something would have come to me, but I was stuck.

      • Maybe since Elizabeth and Darcy have finally come to an understanding and Darcy and Theo are also coming to an understanding we can have a redo of the theater (after Anne’s inheritance is sorted out). This could be a great way to wrap things up.

    • Yes I understand what you mean about Darcy and Lizzy. Making moon eyes is all very well and good but unless you open your mouths and speak the truth of your innermost being it will always be a life of misunderstanding. Take Theo and Darcy. They keep it all to themselves and look where they are. We dont want Lizzy to learn everything about her futer mate from other people. There must be more heart to hearts. Even if we only have them made reference to. I dont need to hear every word of the conversation, I just want to know that it happened.

  13. Dave, glad your wife is doing better and out of the hospital;. What a relief for you,

    If, I am not mistaken it’s been about 2 weeks since Elizabeth’s fever broke and the surgery. I can’t see her laying in bed long once she is feeling better. She would drive everyone crazy and I can see her trying to do more for herself and trying to use the arm. She is very stubborn, not unlike someone I know who pushes beyond what they’re told then can do during recuperation. Just my interpretation here, but Theo was there to see Mr. Gardner about Lydia;s elopement and Lizzy walked in when she heard voice thinking it was Mr. Darcy so she technically wasn’t receiving visitors. Since Lizzy was warming to Darcy a lot can happen in 2 weeks. Maybe Georgiana and Anne visited her a few times and they talked as well as Bingley. And surely her aunt an Jane would have something to say, especially since they saw Darcy’s devotion and emotional response, And of course Darcy’s visits. I kind of enjoyed imagining the conversations, but it would be fun to see one of the author’s interpretation of this. As for Theo’s telling Elizabeth about Darcy’s feelings….Theo and Darcy hopefully became closer during these 2 weeks and talked about Elizabeth…he wants to reassure Elizabeth even though he’s going a little too far,,,he cares about both and so stretches the bounds of propriety. As for Lizzy’s sudden change…maybe everything she’s been (Darcy) when she doesn’t her from him. I think she really loves him but us denying it even to heself;

    I agree I’d love to be a fly on the wall during “the Ruckus at Rosings” between the two harpies with Darcy standing by. It could be funny. Then I’d love to see how Theo solves it. I like the idea stated before that maybe Catherine could have altered the will. This could be very interesting.
    Lydia definitely needs to be away from Mrs. Bennet. One of the reform schools should be good. I think Darcy and Theo could have a hand in finding an appropriate and good school for her outside of London.

    I think Theo should be given a real hard time by Lydia. She is so unreasonable. This conversational argument along with Monty’s discussion with Darcy at the Pub last week should help him understand Darcy’s protectiveness a little more. Maybe a bit of a discussion about this along with a heart to heart about his supposed non- emotional reaction to his parents’ and Sebastian’s deaths. Perhaps, to get their point across they enlist Richard’s help, since he wars a uniform she may be inclined to listen…but then she cannot know he’s related to the Darcys otherwise she won’t think of listening to him.

    Hmmm….I wonder if Wickham escapes and if he does who helps him.

    This can’t end yet. Too many unanswered questions and loose ends. Looking forward to next week.

    As Evie says maybe a spinoff could be Theo and Monty solving murder mysteries,( and even perhaps falling for one of their clients…..)

    • Seems like there’s a lot of interest in The Trials of Sir Theo Darcy. Or perhaps Theo Darcy for the Defense? 😉 And he still needs a few opportunities to annoy and needle his big brother, even if they are reconciled.

      • I think that Lady Catherine altering the will has potential. Perhaps she did enlist Wickham after all. This would have given her enough time to fix the will in her favor (Anne must marry Darcy in order to inherit) and distract Darcy enough to pull him away so that could not intervene. All of the Bennets would have been ruined and Darcy would disdain the lot of them and realize the error in his ways. At least thats what Lady C would have believed. Unfortunately for her she did not realize how strong a character her other nephew was. Now in order to redeem her plan she must stand up in court to defend Wickham. What could she have up her sleeves?

  14. Pingback: How zombies hooked me on Jane Austen - and what I'm doing about it by Evie Cotton - Random Bits of Fascination

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