Posts Tagged ‘a short period of exquisite felicity’

I’m delighted to welcome Amy D’Orazio back to Diary of an Eccentric today to celebrate the release of her latest novel, A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book, and after absolutely adoring The Best Part of Love, I know I must read it! Please give her a warm welcome:

Good morning, Anna. Thank you for hosting me again at Diary of an Eccentric. Today I am looking forward to sharing this post with your readers about one of our favorite characters in JAFF, Colonel Fitzwilliam, especially since he plays a crucial role in A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity — as he does in many Austenesque stories! One thing I’ve realized is that the good colonel has taken on a life of his own through the Jane Austen fandom. People have ardent opinions on what his name is, what exactly he does in the military and even who he should marry! But how much of what we “know” about him is based on Jane, and how much is our own creation? 

Five Things You Need to Know about Colonel Fitzwilliam

Fact vs Fanon

 1. His Christian name was… not Richard!

Long story short — Jane didn’t see fit to give the Colonel a name.

If you ever want to spur a debate, ask people if the colonel should be called Richard. Some defend it passionately — so many stories have him as Richard it just feels strange when he is called something else. Just as many people feel that it should NOT be Richard — after all, Jane Austen hated the name Richard, or so it’s been said.

It’s hard to trace back where “Richard” began. Some people mention early stories that posted in the Derbyshire Writers Guild going as far back as 1997 or 1998 (20 years! Gulp!)  For whatever reason, writers adopted it quickly, much as they did Thomas for Mr. Bennet, Madeleine for Mrs. Gardiner and Fanny for Mrs. Bennet. But Jane never called him that, and in fact, never called him anything at all but Colonel Fitzwilliam.

For my stories, I do tend to opt for Richard. Why? During the life of Jane Austen, there was a Viscount Richard Fitzwilliam (1745-1816). He was the founder by bequest of the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge and donated priceless works of art as well as funds sufficient to build the museum itself. So perhaps not such a bad namesake!

2. He was not good-looking.

We want him to be good-looking, don’t we? It seems like it should only be fair, he has no money, no house, and not much else to woo a lady; surely he’s handsome?

But alas, no, right in chapter 30, Jane Austen has written:

“Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman.”

So there you have it. The good colonel has only his personality to win a girl over.

3. But he wasn’t really that poor

I am certainly no expert on the military and their pay during the Napoleonic War times, but most things I have read suggest that the purchase price of your commission needed to be less than your personal fortune. This was to ensure that (gasp!) you weren’t entering the military to make money.

So it is likely the colonel had a bit of money behind him, certainly nothing like his father’s fortune or Darcy’s, but he wasn’t exactly penniless.

4. Darcy’s bosom buddy?

Fanon often paints the colonel as Darcy’s dearest friend. But how much of their relationship was true friendship and how much was simply the business of family?

While it is true he shared guardianship of Georgiana with Darcy, there is a legal reason for this. It is likely that some or all of Georgiana’s fortune came from the Fitzwilliam side of the family and therefore it was a convention to appoint a guardian for her from that side of the family that would protect those financial interests.  It made sense legally and was customary at that time. So the shared guardianship was not necessarily a statement about the closeness of the two men; likely it was a legal necessity.

Other family matters brought the two men together as well. Colonel Fitzwilliam was one of the executors of Darcy’s father’s will. Furthermore, the two men paid an annual visit to Rosings together. Was this duty of some sort? Overseeing their aunt’s business? I think we can all say that it was likely not out of preference! 

Moreover, even apart from the colonel’s legendary slip up regarding Bingley, the colonel does, on several occasions, throw a little shade his cousin’s way. When Elizabeth teasingly asks why Darcy is unable to recommend himself to strangers in a ballroom, the colonel tells her Darcy “…will not give himself the trouble.” The colonel is also quick to inform her that Darcy, “…likes to have his own way very well.” Merely teasing him? Or was there a little jealousy there?

However, that said, in his letter to Elizabeth, Darcy says the two men have a “near relationship” and are in “constant intimacy” so it is entirely possible that the two men were, in fact, close friends in addition to being relatives.

5. He did have some romantic feelings for Elizabeth

Colonel Fitzwilliam seemed really glad to see them; any thing was a welcome relief to him at Rosings; and Mrs. Collins’s pretty friend had moreover caught his fancy very much.

No one can deny that the colonel certainly flirted with Elizabeth while at Rosings, but was it ever more than that?

“But in matters of greater weight, I may suffer from the want of money. Younger sons cannot marry where they like.”

“Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think they very often do.”

“Our habits of expence make us too dependant, and there are not many in my rank of life who can afford to marry without some attention to money.”

I’ve always held to the opinion that Colonel Fitzwilliam likely kept himself in check to avoid any sorts of runaway romantic feelings for Elizabeth Bennet. That he liked her and enjoyed flirting with her is clear, but for myself, I can never tell if he was just flirting to amuse himself during a tedious visit to his aunt, or if, in other circumstances, it might have become something more.

So there are my thoughts on Colonel Fitzwilliam! I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!


About A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity

Is not the very meaning of love that it surpasses every objection against it?

Jilted. Never did Mr. Darcy imagine it could happen to him.

But it has, and by Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who first hated and rejected him but then came to love him—he believed—and agree to be his wife. Alas, it is a short-lived, ill-fated romance that ends nearly as soon as it has begun. No reason is given.

More than a year since he last saw her—a year of anger, confusion, and despair—he receives an invitation from the Bingleys to a house party at Netherfield. Darcy is first tempted to refuse, but with the understanding that Elizabeth will not attend, he decides to accept.

When a letter arrives, confirming Elizabeth’s intention to join them, Darcy resolves to meet her with indifference. He is determined that he will not demand answers to the questions that plague him. Elizabeth is also resolved to remain silent and hold fast to the secret behind her refusal. Once they are together, however, it proves difficult to deny the intense passion that still exists. Fury, grief, and profound love prove to be a combustible mixture. But will the secrets between them be their undoing?

Buy: Amazon | Amazon.UK


About the Author

Amy D’Orazio

Amy D’Orazio is a former breast cancer researcher and current stay at home mom who is addicted to Austen and Starbucks in about equal measures. While she adores Mr. Darcy, she is married to Mr. Bingley and their Pemberley is in Pittsburgh, PA.

She has two daughters who are devoted to sports which require long practices and began writing her own stories as a way to pass the time she spent sitting in the lobbies of various gyms and studios. She is a firm believer that all stories should have long looks, stolen kisses and happily ever afters. Like her favorite heroine, she dearly loves a laugh and considers herself an excellent walker.

Connect with Amy: Facebook | Meryton Press | Goodreads | Twitter



Meryton Press is offering 8 ebook copies of A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity as part of the blog tour. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link. This giveaway is open to entries from midnight ET on February 21 until midnight ET on March 8, 2018. Good luck!

Terms and conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once each day and by commenting daily on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached to this tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented.

Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international. Each entrant is eligible to win one eBook.


Thanks for being my guest today, Amy, and congratulations on your new release!


Read Full Post »