Posts Tagged ‘mr. darcy’s secret’

Today, I have the pleasure of welcoming Jane Odiwe to Diary of an Eccentric.  Jane is the author of Lydia Bennet’s Story (my review), Willoughby’s Return, and most recently, Mr. Darcy’s Secret (my review).   I’ve enjoyed Jane’s work because she stays true to Austen’s characters and writes humorous dialogue that I think Austen herself would appreciate.

Please give a warm welcome to Jane Odiwe, who has stopped by to show us her writing space:

Thank you very much, Anna, for inviting me onto your blog today to talk about my writing space.

I’m very lucky to have a room of my own in which to write; I’m surrounded by books, and objects, decorative items and photos that I love or have sentimental meaning. Because my novels are inspired by the work of Jane Austen there is usually to be found a tottering pile of books from which I’m researching – it doesn’t look too bad on the day I took these photos, but I’m sure you can spot the copies of Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy’s Secret. On the bookshelves are all the books that I love – some I’ve kept from my childhood, which include Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Favourite books of mine that I read over and over apart from all of Jane’s novels, of course, include Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Armin, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster, and The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton. Amongst these wonderful authors, I have a box of my own illustrated stories I wrote to entertain my sister and brother, that I did when I was very young, with titles like ‘The Smiles Family’, ‘The China Gentleman’, and ‘The Magic Shop’.

I’m not a very tidy person as you can see, and apart from notebooks and sketchbooks, I have endless pieces of paper on which I jot down ideas as they come to me. I wish I could write them all in my notebook, but I don’t seem to be able to do that very well, and end up searching for ages trying to find one tiny nugget of information that I know I was here somewhere a minute ago!

I love Regency prints, and like to refer to pictures for details of costumes, or sometimes the figures depicted might give me an idea for a character so they get dotted about. I have some special photos of my children as babies, and other family photos including one of me and my lovely sister taken in a park with our Grandmother. She always made her own dresses, she and my Mum were very clever like that. My Grandmother is wearing a soft floral pink frock, a belted style she always preferred, and she has on her beads – how times and clothes have changed!

I am the luckiest person in the world. People from all over the world write to me, I’ve received such wonderful greetings cards and letters, and occasionally someone sends a little gift through the post. One lady in Hampshire found my Effusions of Fancy book in Steventon Church and has written to me ever since. She sent me the beautiful ribbon bookmark and the rosebud box, and an Australian lady who writes regularly sent me the wise owl who sits on my desk along with many useful notebooks and lovely books. I am very spoiled! I have a beautiful hand-made book from a lady in Brazil, hand-made jewelery from an American lady, Regency costume made by my cousin in Worcester, and a gorgeous rag-doll stitched by my sister-in-law when I was ill a long time ago. My Indian dolls are amongst my favourite things – sometimes they like to be together, and at other times, I get the distinct impression that time apart is a good thing. I think they have a love/hate relationship like Lizzy and Darcy; they love each other really, but are both very stubborn!

I love trinket boxes. I have a lovely one bought by my brother and his wife when they went travelling all over the world, and my husband bought me a treasured one with a patch box hidden inside, which has ‘love and unite’ on the lid.

Apart from all the lovely things I have to look at, I have my pots of pencils and paintbrushes, which invariably go astray as we have several artists in the house, and music to listen to when I’m writing. It’s my favourite place which takes me back in time to another world!

Thank you, Anna for asking me here today. I wonder, do your readers have a favourite place to work or create in? I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks, Jane, for sharing your photos!  I like to write and blog in my recliner, but sometimes I have to move around the house to avoid the noise.

Courtesy of Sourcebooks, I have 2 copies of Mr. Darcy’s Secret to offer to my readers.  To enter, please leave a comment answering the question Jane posed at the end of her guest post, and be sure to leave your e-mail address.  Because the publisher is shipping the books, this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian addresses only.  This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks
Rating: ★★★★★

Elizabeth stared at Mr. Darcy in disbelief.  Not for the first time in the last few days did she stare at the man she had married to consider how little she really knew him.  She had been so sure of his character in Hertfordshire and now, for the moment, she could not reconcile any of her former beliefs.  Looking at him, his countenance flushed from his passionate speech, his face solemn and sober, she realised it was useless to debate the matter.

(from Mr. Darcy’s Secret, page 151 in the ARC)

When I turned the last page of Mr. Darcy’s Secret, my first thought was that Jane Odiwe has done her homework.  She knows Jane Austen and the much beloved characters from Pride and Prejudice inside and out.  I knew Odiwe was a master of the Austen sequel when I read Lydia Bennet’s Story, and Mr. Darcy’s Secret is even better.

In Mr. Darcy’s Secret, Elizabeth and Darcy are newly married, and Elizabeth must learn to navigate the massive estate that is Pemberley, meet the townspeople of Lambton, and impress the elite couples that have come out in droves to check out Darcy’s wife.  Trust soon becomes a huge issue when Elizabeth hears about a scandal involving Darcy’s mother’s maid many years ago and stumbles upon love letters indicating that Darcy had a romantic life before Elizabeth.  She is curious about the gossip, but she doesn’t feel comfortable asking her husband to share his secrets.  However, her inability to confront the issue ultimately threatens the reputation of the Darcy family.

Meanwhile, Darcy’s shy sister, Georgiana, is ready to come out into society, and her brother is ready to make her a suitable match.  Although Darcy married for love — with Elizabeth’s low social status angering his aunt, Lady Catherine — he refuses to consider Georgiana’s feelings about her potential husband.  After preventing an elopement with the scoundrel George Wickham, Darcy is worried that fortune hunters will seek out his sister, and he is determined to get Georgiana married off to a man who will provider her with a comfortable life, both financially and socially.  Although the mystery surrounding Darcy’s past is interesting, Georgiana’s story grabbed me right from the start.  Georgiana learns what it means to be in love, and she questions the idea of women as property.  She is torn between duty and love, and she must either call out her brother for being a hypocrite or submit to his wishes.

Odiwe stays true to Austen’s characters — Elizabeth is still witty and outspoken, Darcy is still proud and noble, Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are still obnoxious, and Lady Catherine is still haughty.  However, she makes them her own, especially Georgiana, and even introduces new faces, including Tom Butler, a charming landscape gardener; his mother, an old friend of Elizabeth’s Aunt Gardiner; and Viola Wickham, a sister of the horrid George Wickham.  Odiwe’s use of language brings readers back to Regency England, though with a more modern feel, and her lively dialogue make the story feel like something Austen would have written or at least enjoyed.

Elizabeth, now close to exploding with mirth for the image conjured in her mind of Lady Catherine reciting her poetry before an audience all trying to outdo one another with romantic idylls, tempests, and spontaneous lines addressed to nature was all too much.  “Oh dear,” she could not resist adding, “do you suppose we shall have to communicate in verse when we meet?”

“Lord, help us all,” muttered Mr. Darcy under his breath, but not so quietly that the whole company could not hear him.  “Bingley, I hope you know the difference between an Epic and an Epigram, or I feel you’ll be cut and snubbed by all of the new Lake society!  Mrs. Bingley, be most careful when you are out walking this afternoon in case you feel a sonnet coming on, and Mrs. Gardiner, Mrs. Butler, beware the ballad and the ode!”  (pages 242-243 in the ARC)

Mr. Darcy’s Secret was a pleasure to read because Odiwe breathes new life into Austen’s characters without altering their personalities too much.  Elizabeth and Darcy, like all couples, encounter some bumps in the marital journey, and the way they deal with such strife seems true to who they are.  Darcy was a changed man in Pride and Prejudice, and Odiwe makes his alteration feel authentic with some slip ups here and there.  Mr. Darcy’s Secret is one of the most seamless Austen sequels I’ve ever read.  Odiwe’s love for all-things-Austen shines through.  A must-read if you love the Austen variations as much as I do.

Disclosure: I received Mr. Darcy’s Secret from Sourcebooks for review.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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