Monday, April 4, 2016
Alarmingly Charming by Debra Marvin ends April 11th
Help Debra Pick the Best Austen Hero!
Mr. George Knightley.
Nightly, or daily, George is the big brother we all wish we had, unless you can’t get past the Angelina Jolie connection. The fact that he’s seventeen years older than Emma—basically could be her father in this day and age—should be ignored. He’s obviously the perfect tempering agent for one Miss
Woodhouse. He’s the true example of loving someone by helping them become their best, true self, if that includes a bit of scolding now and then. But why, I ask, has it taken Mr. K (or allow me to call him Mr. N?) so long to fall for Emma? Was it truly nothing more than platonic affection all this time? Was he hindered by thinking of her as a little sister? (he brought up that brother-sister thing after all. A bit creepy?) Perhaps he’s been molding a spoiled, short-sighted girl into a proper wife? Why was George still a bachelor? And did he ever leave the house other than to wander to the Woodhouse’s wood house? (Wait. I think it was brick.) Frankly…wealthy, single men who barely leave their library have a bit of the gothic about them, don’t you think?
Henry is a ‘soul of patience’, or has he simply made it his life’s work to avoid all controversy and tension? Clearly, he’s the good guy in a family of thoughtless men. While a knowledge of muslin doesn’t rank high enough in our modern lives to justify marriage, he does show a fine empathy for the weaker sex. Considering that I wrote a novella based on Northanger Abbey’s characters, I feel I can speak candidly. Were his expectations for a wife low, or did he just think a silly girl with an over-active imagination was a good choice? (perhaps Mr. Tilney needs to speak with Mr. Bennet about that). I know… I know. Catherine Morland had a lovely kindness to her and the truth is, I adore them both. She has such enthusiasm and lack of guile. Mr. Tilney does come with a lot of family baggage, so where does he fall in your ratings? Did you enjoy his sense of humor or was he just a bit too beige for you?
Put your adoration for Alan Rickman aside, and Colonel Brandon does still warrant hero status. But Marianne had good reason to be put off. The Age Difference. The lack of luster. Good thing she didn’t know he saw her as a replacement for an old love. What? You disagree? An old love from decades ago… Oops. Another man in his mid-30s, making him middle-aged in Austen’s day. But let’s skip the 20 year age gap. With his unequaled long-suffering (emphasis on suffering) devotion, he places high in husband material. Sadly he only shines when compared to the brash, hot-blooded and very thoughtless Willoughby. Is Brandon your favorite hero? Kudos to the Colonel! After all…he was still capable of carrying the never-failing-ever-falling Miss Marianne! Quote some poetry for her and all is well.
Edward, the mysterious “Mr. F.” is a good match for Elinor. She’s sensible enough to fall for a gentleman based on his kindness, not his looks (in the book…ahem. Remember we heard nothing about having piercing blue eyes like Matthew Crawley.) Shall we blame his poor choice in Lucy Steele on having a witchy mother, a hit-or-miss libido (perhaps that was good for a man destined for the church), or just youthful inexperience? But having to face his mistake, one wonders if keeping a promise to a woman he doesn’t love was all that heroic? (Shouldn’t he have just manned up and married the woman he loved—the woman with whom he was written to be a perfect match?). I must say he’s not strong hero material, but I think we love him simply for hanging on long enough for Lucy to mess up and win his frightful older brother instead (and that horrid sister-in-law). Was Mr. F wimpy or wonderful?
Here’s Miss Austen’s true self-made man. Eight years after having his heart broken by Anne Eliot, he’s a bit harsh on her. Was it all intentional? Hmmm. The navy made him a man, but he wasn’t quite mature enough to be kind about the fact she’s listened to her elders and avoided running off with a penniless—if good looking--nobody. A few cold-hearted remarks and some flagrant flirtation with her sister’s sisters-in-law set him up for trouble. Oh, what luck. Good old Anne is there to pick up the pieces (not referring to Louisa’s skull, by the way). By now, we’re wondering if maybe she’s better off without him. But no. All’s forgiven when he realizes he’s been a schmuck. Prodded along (like most men) when it’s almost too late to fix things. Ooops, did I say that? Anne might have been weak eight years prior, but he was weak eight days prior. He makes up for it with a perfectly written love letter (thanks to Jane Austen writing it for him). And who cares if he’s a bit weather worn? He’s going to take her away from that loony family!
Edmund has somehow managed to remain untainted by the wackiest Austen family on record, and I credit that with his companionship with the intelligent, analytical (used to be a wretch) Fanny Price. She sometimes can be a downer and judgmental, but after all, she’s been sleeping in a cold attic room for ten years. Edmund cares for Fanny like a sister, not like a cousin. This should raise concerns, but it doesn’t—we’re used to this, right? Fanny’s not so clueless—she’s long been in love with her good, honest, kind friend who reminds us of Mr. Knightley. They made it through puberty, but it isn’t until a new game in town called Mary Crawford comes along that Edmund struggles with…ahem…passion. Really, Eddie? Did you have to share your school-boy crush on Mary with Fanny? Like.She.Wants.To.Hear.It? After Edmund’s sister wrecks the family reputation, he develops a backbone and has an epiphany. Not the sharpest sabre on the wall, was he? Oh all right. I like him, too.
There’s not much to say about Darcy that hasn’t been said. We have no idea what he really looked like in that wet shirt, but as a man who spends a lot of time glowering in drawing rooms, let’s hope that horseback riding helped. Mr. Darcy had many years of practice looking down on people. His sister, his housekeeper and his flighty friend Bingley thought he was the cat’s meow. Okay, we’ll go with that. But brooding gets old fast and just how long will that humility last? Has that cat changed its spots? Does he still secretly believe he’s too good for her—certainly for her family? Someday Lizzie will tire of being clever, and he’ll tire of being kind. Once past the courting, I think this wealthy, snobby man might just return to form. Darcy has set up countless generations of impractical expectations. Women like moody men? Really? Is Fitzwilliam’s entire worth based upon a very heartfelt proposal…twice…and taking care of the Wickham mess? Convince me I’m wrong! Or is my “heart not easily touched?”
So there you have it, ladies. Please let me know where I’m way off or have pegged our Austen heroes. Who’s your choice for number one? Play along. Humor me. I do love them all. I’m giving away a paperback of Austen in Austin to one commenter, and an ebook of Alarmingly Charming to another (please leave your email address safely) Please mention if you’d prefer an ebook or paperback.
I’m hoping to find the biggest Austen fan ever, and for you, I’m giving away a lovely Jane Austen illustrations calendar 2016. “suitable for framing!”
Austen in Austen from WhiteFire Publishing:
Four Texas-Set Novellas Based on Jane Austen's Novels
Discover four heroines in historical Austin, TX, as they find love--Jane Austen style. Volume 1 includes:
If I Loved You Less by Gina Welborn, based on Emma A prideful matchmaker examines her own heart when her protégé falls for the wrong suitor.
Romantic Refinements by Anita Mae Draper, based on Marianne from Sense and Sensibility A misguided academy graduate spends the summer falling in love . . . twice.
One Word from You by Susanne Dietze, based on Pride and Prejudice A down-on-her-luck journalist finds the story of her dreams, but her prejudice may cost her true love . . . and her career.
Alarmingly Charming by Debra E. Marvin, based on Northanger Abbey A timid gothic dime-novel enthusiast tries to solve the mystery of a haunted cemetery and, even more shocking, why two equally charming suitors compete for her attentions.
Four more exciting novellas will follow in volume 2!
Debra’s contact information and bio: Please consider following her FB page!
LINKS: Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B018QCI2AS Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Debra-E-Marvin-433266640199533 Twitter: https://twitter.com/DebraEMarvin Website: http://debraemarvin.com/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/debraemarvin/ Group Blog- Inkwell Inspirations: http://www.inkwellinspirations.com/
Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She’d like to live just a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.
Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has pretty normal obsessions: fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas and whatever mystery series she’s currently reading. Visit her at debraemarvin.com, the Inkwell Inspirations Blog, @debraemarvin on twitter and Debra E Marvin on Facebook and Pinterest, but not her house because she usually has dirty dishes.