Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Alexa Adams: Guest Post

I have recently become acquainted with the lovely Alexa Adams, author of Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice, when she contacted me asking if I would like to review her trilogy for her. I was very happy to oblige and I am very much looking forward to reading all three stories.

First Impressions:
In Pride and Prejudice, Fitzwilliam Darcy begins his relationship with Elizabeth Bennet with the words: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present togive consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men." What would have happened if Mr. Darcy had never spoken so disdainfully? First Impressions explores how the events of Jane Austen's beloved novel would have transpired if Darcy and Elizabeth had danced together at the Meryton Assembly. Jane and Bingley's relationship blossoms unimpeded, Mary makes a most fortunate match, and Lydia never sets a foot in Brighton. Austen's witty style is authentically invoked in this playful romp from Longbourn to Pemberley.

Second Glances:
“Yes, but he is Darcy, after all. Can you imagine the lady who would reject him?”
Sir James laughed. “I don't know; if he had made a muddle of a first impression upon his wife, as I have on Miss Bennet, then perhaps his gentlemanly status would have undergone similar attack.”
A year has passed since the conclusion of First Impressions, and the marriages made by the three eldest Bennet ladies are prospering. Expectations are high for the two youngest sisters to do equally well. Kitty, having excelled in school, receives an invitation to join Georgiana Darcy in her first London season, leaving Lydia to bear the burden of the classroom alone. Will the most forward Bennet tolerate such inequity?
Kitty arrives in London prepared to be happy, but her delight is marred when she finds a most unwelcome gentleman on intimate terms with her hosts. She has met the reckless Sir James Stratton before and would like nothing more than to never encounter him again, but his acquaintance she is forced to endure. Struggling for firm footing amidst the whirlwind of London society, will Kitty be allowed to follow her heart, or will her family force her hand? Join the reimagined cast of Pride and Prejudice as they pursue happiness amidst the ongoing obstacles of life, love, and interfering relations.

Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters:
"Charlotte smiled from across the room at the man’s obvious devotion to her friend. Such attachment was very charming, undoubtedly, and when it came to an end, as it was most certain to do, they would have abundant good fortune to keep the inevitable aggravations with each other to a minimum."
Both a Christmas celebration and conclusion to Tales of Less Pride & Prejudice, Holidays at Pemberley begins where First Impressions ends, with the marriage Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, and spans the course of Second Glances to conclude their story. As the Darcys enjoy their first years of marriage, Charlotte Lucas is often invited to join them. Watching as the Bennet sisters, one by one, marry to both outrageous advantage and with great affection, her only ambition remains independence and respectability, stubbornly blind to the virtues of a love match. Miss Lucas thinks she has found an acceptable husband in David Westover, rector of Kympton and determined bachelor, but he remains oblivious to the implications of befriending a Miss Lucas. It may mean some heartbreak, but if Mrs. Darcy's pragmatic friend will only surrender to Cupid, she may find wild fantasies do come true, even for ladies dangerously close to thirty.

Before I come to read the stories I was interesting in asking her the reasons behind her trilogy and what spurred her to write them, and this was her response...

"Mrs. Darcy graciously asked here to describe how I came to write my Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice trilogy, but I honestly never set out to write a series at all. My first book, First Impressions: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice, was written very quickly, completely by hand, and without any intention of showing it to anyone but my husband. The story was inspired by the enormous quantity of Austenesque I reading at the time, and my ongoing quest for a book that would fulfill my dreams and hopes for Elizabeth and Darcy. Much of First Impressions is a reaction to the many overly dramatic and highly sexualized interpretations of Pride and Prejudice I came across, when all I wanted was a book that would give me more of Lizzy’s laughter (I’m in the right place!) and Darcy’s smiles.

I poorly imitated Austen’s habit everything up nice and tidy at the end of the book, “impatient to restore everybody, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.” Mostly because I did not know what to do with her and needed a neat ending, Georgiana Darcy’s fate was left unresolved. I really had no intention of continuing her story until readers started requesting I do so, but Second Glances: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Continues quickly became more about Kitty than Georgiana. It’s a rather raucous tale, intentionally silly and lighthearted, and in no small part inspired by the Georgette Heyer historical romances I was plowing through at the time. I did try to impose a bit more drama and conflict than can be found in First Impressions, also at the prompting of readers, but I don’t think it diminished the humor of the story.

I wanted to provide Charlotte Lucas (who never married Mr. Collins in my version of events) with her own happy ending during the course of Second Glances, but I cut her almost completely from the story in editing, as I just couldn’t make the timeline fit. This inspired Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes, which was just released this fall. The story spans the previous two books and focuses on Charlotte’s trips to Pemberley for the winter holidays over the course of three years. The Darcys have a long tradition of hosting a Twelfth Night ball, and I used this time of gathering for family and friends to bring Charlotte together with her hero, while also resolving a few other fates left unsettled. We all have our own expectations for Austen’s characters, and this trilogy is a projection of mine. I am entirely indebted to those authors who pioneered the genre, as well as the nurture and support of the wonderful online community of Austen fans. As long as they keep asking for more of my stories, I will continue writing them, for there’s no such thing as too much Darcy."

Again, I am looking forward to all three stories. And thank you again to Alexa Adams for providing me with the opportunity to review these stories! Keep watching for the reviews which I will post in the next few weeks.

Your affectionate friend,
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