Oct 6, 2009

GIVEAWAY & GUEST AUTHOR: "The Other Mr. Darcy" by Monica Fairview

The Other Mr. Darcy The Other Mr. Darcy: Did you know Mr. Darcy had an American cousin? by Monica Fairview
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 1, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1402225130
Review copy via Sourcebooks
See other Sourcebooks Austen/Historicals
The Burton Review Rating: The Burton Review,4 stars

The Tour Stops:
September 28: Fallen Angel Reviews Guest Blog
September 29: The Review from Here/ScribVibe
September 30: Everything Victorian
October 1: The Good, the Bad, the Unread Guest Blog
October 2: A Bibliophile’s Bookshelf
October 5: Grace’s Book Blog, name change to Books Like Breathing
October 6: The Burton Review
October 7: Austenprose
October 7: Bloody Bad Books
October 8: The Long & Short of It
October 9: Love Romance Passion
TBA but some time this week: Curious Statistical Anomaly
October 12: Good and Bad Books
October 13: Lib’s Library
October 16: Fresh Fiction

The Other Mr. Darcy Synopsis: "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?"


Find it at Amazon
Read my Review which posted yesterday.
Please welcome Monica to The Burton Review with this Guest Post:

Monica Fairview Guest Blog, author of The Other Mr. Darcy

Thank you so much for hosting me. I’ve always found this blog very restful, with its grazing sheep and rolling green hills, so I’m more than happy to be here grazing with you. {{Marie squeals from over here!!}} I’ll admit, though, that the question you posed was challenging. What are the similarities/differences between the two Mr. Darcys? I had to really think about it. But then it occurred to me that the title says it all, in a way.

When I thought of the title, I had in mind an idea of otherness, of being different, as a kind of theme that came up again and again in the novel. From the beginning, Robert is the other Mr. Darcy, with Fitzwilliam as the standard by which Robert is to be judged as a hero. And as heroes go, they really can’t be more different.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is very much the quintessential conventional hero. He is initially arrogant, standoffish, and full of his own importance. He snubs everyone including the heroine. He needs to be brought down a peg or two, and who better than Elizabeth to do it? As she herself puts it, “he had yet to learn to be laughed at.” Jane Austen invented this type of hero, and it was then picked up by Bronte and others after her, and became in many ways the “blueprint” for many of the romances we have now.

In the case of Robert Darcy, his position as conventional hero is shot right from the beginning. In some senses I was toying with that convention when I started. In The Other Mr. Darcy, it’s really Caroline who occupies Darcy’s position. She is arrogant, standoffish, and full of her own importance. And it’s up to Robert to bring her down a peg or two. Robert, in a sense, resembles Elizabeth, who is able to break through Darcy’s reserve and bring out the best in him.

One would expect that, because the novel starts this way, there could be nothing in common between Fitzwilliam and Robert. But then there would have been no need to make both of them Darcys. One of the aspects of writing the novel I enjoyed a lot was playing them against each other, particularly since Robert meets Caroline when she’s shattered by Fitzwilliam’s marriage to Elizabeth.

Fitzwilliam Darcy represents the privileged England gentleman who was spoiled by his parents, and encouraged, in his own words, “to be selfish and overbearing – to care for none beyond my own family circle, to think meanly of all the rest of the world.” He is, however, a well-liked and respected landowner. For Elizabeth, Mrs. Reynold’s high praise of her master means a great deal, since dealing fairly and generously with your social inferiors when they depend on you indicates an inherent sense of integrity and kindness.

Robert, like Fitzwilliam, was raised in privilege. He has had the advantages of the best schooling in Boston and knowing he comes from prestigious families on both sides. But he is a rebel. He takes after his father, who left England because he was an adventurer and because he wanted to engage in trade, something a gentleman of his position wasn’t supposed to do. Consequently, Robert is able to thumb his nose at society, and to make fun of people who follow convention blindly.

However, with a business to run, he is very well aware how quickly a wrong decision can ruin his own and other people’s lives. In this sense, he is like Darcy. He’s aware that his position of power makes others dependent on him, and he takes this responsibility very seriously.

Like Fitzwilliam in Elizabeth’s case, Robert is the kind of person that can be trusted to get you out of a scrape. Which is a good thing, because Caroline gets into a number of them in The Other Mr. Darcy, and Robert shows his resemblance to his cousin in the way he quietly works to extricate her. But then, even Fitzwilliam comes to Caroline’s assistance at one point, in very much the same way that Robert does.

Another apparent difference between the two is that communication and openness are very important to him. He pushes Caroline constantly to talk about herself, and is attracted to women who are unconventional and more open in their manners. In reality, however, he guards his feelings carefully, and doesn’t let people in. He is more private than he seems. We could almost say that Fitzwilliam is less reserved than Robert, because in spite of everything, Fitzwilliam manages to express his love for Elizabeth quite early in the novel.

Along with that, Robert has the Darcy family trait, which is pride. This is so very entrenched in him, that his pride takes over completely at a crucial point in the novel when it’s essential for him to communicate. Funnily enough, in a kind of role reversal at that point, Fitzwilliam tosses convention aside and acts in a manner reminiscent of his cousin. As you can imagine, this really throws Caroline off, since she isn’t used to seeing this aspect of Fitzwilliam’s personality.

But of course, the other Mr. Darcy has to be different from Fitzwilliam. It’s a precondition already set up by the title. Perhaps he is most different in that he is able to find joy in adversity. There’s a cheerful carelessness to Robert Darcy that you don’t find in his cousin, a willingness to laugh at the ridiculous and to laugh at himself as well that brings out the laughter in Caroline, too. He brings to Miss Bingley a great gift; the ability to laugh. Not to mock, not to snark, but to be able to throw back her head and laugh unreservedly. And that is how, quite simply, he wins her heart.

About the AuthorMonica Fairview
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 has 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 http://www.monicafairview.co.uk/

To celebrate the release of The Other Mr. Darcy, Monica Fairview and Sourcebooks Landmark are running a month-long contest in October on her blog!!

Sourcebooks is sponsoring a giveaway for my readers: 1 copy of The Other Mr. Darcy, US and Canada only (no PO Boxes)!

1. Follow Me
2. Comment with your Email Address.
3. 1 extra entry each for a Twitter, Blog Post or Sidebar Graphic Link, or Facebook Share (max. 5 total entries). Please provide links.
4. For an extra bonus +2 entries, comment on my review post. Let me know that you did this, and if you did yesterday let me know that too, additional comment today not required.

Contest ends October 26, 2009, Good Luck and thanks for entering!