Dec 062017
 

GP

Hi friends!  I’m always so happy when authors come and pay a visit to Austenesque Reviews, especially when they are new authors!  🙂  Today I am very happy to have author Andreea Catana as my guest!  Her new Pride and Prejudice variation Meant to Be was just released recently, and I love the sound of it because Darcy and Elizabeth meet for the first time at Rosings rather than at Meryton!  I can’t wait to see how that changes their story! 😉  Andreea is here to share her first encounter with and impressions of Jane Austen.  We hope you enjoy!

I have met Jane Austen and I have written a book. It’s called Meant to Be.

Yes, I have met Jane Austen.

Of course, not in my lifetime, nor in hers, – for such travels are for the moment impossible – but I can confidently say that we have met. I shall try in the course of a few pages to tell you how I have known her and what she has thought me.

I made Jane Austen’s acquaintance when I was ten and she was already famous for more than a hundred years. My mom adored her (and her books) and naturally thought that I might like her as well.

However, my first impression of Jane Austen, which I got from the picture at the end of the book, was that she seemed like a lady who was a little bit too severe, like a scolding aunt that never allows you to play at will or expects you to behave a certain proper way. And since my reading interest had been up to that moment mostly stories about the wild Indian jungles and about inspiring, yet melodramatic Victorian orphans, I was a little bit cautious that I might enjoy the story my mother presented to me. Pride and Prejudice The very title sounded mature for me, with some concepts I did not fully comprehend.

But I opened the book and there it was, the most famous sentence in literary history:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” 

After that, I read the book in just a couple of days, eager of course to know what would happen to Elizabeth Bennet in the end. It was not the romantic part that got my attention at the time of my first reading, but rather Elizabeth Bennet’s personality. I was fascinated how courageous and clever she was. She always, always knew what to say, whether it was to her mother, or Lady Catherine, or Mr. Darcy. I wanted so much to be like her… that self-confident and witty, and sure of everything. I wanted to be her friend. To be sisters, like she and Jane were. I was so glad that she had “won”, that she was the heroine of the story and not some young man, who traditionally seemed to get all the adventure of life. It was like a dream come true.

After I finished Pride and Prejudice, I looked at Jane Austen’s picture again at the back of the book, and I swear I saw someone different. A much more encouraging Jane Austen and she was, this time, smiling at me, as though saying: “My dear, I never write what other people expect of me.”

I loved Jane Austen ever since and never doubted her again in what the writing is concerned. Always write a story that will inspire others. Write about your values, write about anything that sets your heart on fire.

At the same time, I started wondering what else Elizabeth Bennet could have done in her life. I played being Jane Austen, sometimes my ideas were a little bit out of the Regency era. In a certain sense, Meant to Be was conceived at that time, with all those “What would Elizabeth Bennet do” ideas I was considering at the time. But unfortunately, I never had the confidence to write, not even for fun.

Some things happened in my life which parted me from considering further the idea of writing, but in 1995, I re-discovered Pride and Prejudice, when I happened to see the BBC mini-series featuring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

Do I have to say I was smitten? Not only by Colin Firth’s good looks but by Mr. Darcy’s inner world which appeared before my eyes like never before. Thankfully, the Romanian television broadcast each episode once a week, which gave me plenty of time to revisit the book, thus making the experience much more enjoyable.

And this time, I felt fully the extent of love between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

There have been said so many things about Mr. Darcy along the time, but for me, it meant only one thing. In a world where women had so few rights, there was someone who made them his equal by love. It was magical to know that Jane Austen had written about a man who was capable of changing himself before the very eyes of a lady. I mean, this must be true love! To be this vulnerable and allow the one you love to see you as such. And I also discovered that in spite of the lack of kisses and physical touches, their relationship is quite erotic, but in the way they communicated with each other.

Or how Jane Austen put it much more cleverly than me in a different novel:

If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more”

Oh, my! When I think of perfection in love, I think of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Whether they met at Netherfield, or at Rosings Park (a possibility I explored in my variation Meant to Be), or in some other part of England (or time for that matter) their love is always too strong not to overcome whatever difficulties they might encounter. My personal experience has thought me that if a thing is meant to happen, it will eventually come to be no matter the circumstances.

When I was writing Meant to Be I intended to explore the idea that a fresh start is not always a smooth easy road ahead. We sometimes assume that taking an alternative road is an easier choice, that somehow will take us faster to where we want to go, but we also forget that each journey is filled with perils and dangers that one must rise above. This is the fun of appreciating what you get at the end of the journey.

I have seen Jane Austen’s official picture many times in this life, and curiously enough there is always something else about Jane Austen. She is never the same woman you expect or you think you know before starting to read. She is a friend, a very trusted friend ready to take you to your best self, either in life or in writing.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, Andreea!! I love your thoughts about Elizabeth Bennet – she is awe-inspiring, isn’t she?  I wish I had her confidence or ability to know what to say!  And I agree with you about feeling Jane Austen is a trusted friend.  It is not feeling you get with every author.

~~~

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Today Andreea generously brings with her ONE copy of Meant to Be (ebook) for me to give away to ONE lucky winner!

To enter this giveaway, leave a question, a comment, or some love for Andreea below!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Andreea!
  • This giveaway ends December 13th
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  59 Responses to “Guest Post + Giveaway with Author Andreea Catana”

  1.  

    Wow sounds absolutely fabulous and I love your own personal story of how you came to love P & P. I absolutely adore the front cover of the book too. Thank you.

  2.  

    Glob, yes! The 1995 adaptation was golden wasn’t it! 🙂 My one hang up about it is that, like you, I love Lizzy and Colin Firth’s (brilliant imo) portrayal of Darcy overshadows her. No matter. I’m excited to see what you envision for Elizabeth!

    •  

      Yes, I do believe that each adaptation is worthy in its own right, (unless it is beyond terrible ), but the 1995 adaptation is timeless. Each time I see it, it feels like magic. After all, it is the moment I fell in love with Colin Firth and it’s been great ever since. I hope you’ll like the story of “Meant to Be”! Many thanks for your kind words.

  3.  

    Thanks for sharing your story with us. Well said. I look forward to reading more excellent words from you in your book!

  4.  

    Thank you for sharing your story on how you came to love P&P. I am eager to read this book, it sounds wonderful! Thank you for the giveaway! 🙂

  5.  

    I agree that there is something about Elizabeth and Darcy that I never get tired of reading JAFF. Your premise of their meeting at Rosings sounds great. Is there an insulting remark? The more I learn about Jane Austen’s life and the restrictions on women, the more I am utterly astonished over the undertones in her writing. The cover is stunning. Thank you for the giveaway.

    •  

      well, I did kept the spirit of their first encounter and if there is a terrible insult, it remains to be seen :))). I hope you’ll like the story, it has much of my heart in it!

  6.  

    Such an interesting post Meredith and Andreea. I was lucky enough to win this book from Claudine’s post a while ago however for some reason I couldn’t get it. Andreea sent me a gift code from Amazon.com (I have had a number of gift books using this method) but when I tried to claim it I got the message that it wasn’t available in my country???? This was an e-book and when I checked I could have bought it from Amazon UK. Next time I tried it had no options at all on .com. I let Andreea know so I really hope they didn’t charge her for the book.

    •  

      So glad you enjoyed Andreea’s post, Glynis! Sorry to here about the amazon troubles – I hope it will be resolved for you! 😉

    •  

      I am so sorry Glynis for your misfortune; I shall send you right now the book since Amazon has been so complicated for this. I still wait for an answer from them, but I think it has passed enough time for them to come with a solution. Warm hugs!

  7.  

    What a lovely post! Congrats for following your dreams, Andreea, and I hope they take you to wonderful places! Best of luck with ‘Meant To Be’, and I hope it’s the first one of many.

  8.  

    Thanks for sharing your story with us and congrats on the release of Meant to be. The premise sounds wonderful and the cover is lovely.

  9.  

    There is bound to me some insult from Darcy towards Elizabeth espcially with her connection to the foolish Collins

  10.  

    Loved your thoughts here about Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet, and Mr. Darcy, Andreea!! I am crossing my fingers, hoping for that e-book!!

  11.  

    This story sounds lovely, thanks for sharing your story with us. Would love to read it! Thanks for the giveaway.

  12.  

    I agree with you, the picture of JA seems to change each time I read her books. I appreciate the opportunity to WIN your book (I hope I do:))

  13.  

    I do so love reading how people came to know and love Jane Austen and her books. Congrats, Andreea! I am intrigued by your premise of another path for Darcy and Lizzy still being a bumpy road. 🙂

    •  

      My love for Jane Austen is eternal. She has been a very good friend in very difficult times. And I love my friends for ever! Thank you, Sophia! 🙂 Thank you!

  14.  

    It is always amazing how authors first came to love Jane Austen’s work. Many were very young and grew up with Austen and her books. When Fan Fiction hit the genre… a whole new world opened up for readers. Oh-My-Goodness… what would we do without JAFF [Jane Austen Fan Fiction]? I love reading P&P read it every year. I see something different every time I read it. It is timeless. Thanks to Meredith for hosting and thanks to our author for the generous give-a-way. Blessings on the launch of this story and we wish you much success.

  15.  

    I agree with you on being attracted to Elizabeth’s wit and always knowing what to say. I love the cover of the story. You had me especially when you mentioned Romanian television. Romania has a special place in my heart after being there in August. Sounds like a good read.

  16.  

    I cannot imagine any other P&P than 1995 BBC production. I can hardly wait to read this!!

  17.  

    Looking forward to reading this, giveaway or not! Thanks for writing…

  18.  

    What a delightful way to be introduced to Jane Austen! I look forward to reading your book

  19.  

    Thanks for sharing. Your book looks great and I would love to read it!

  20.  

    What a beautiful cover! Thank you for the giveaway!

  21.  

    Congratulations on your first novel! I so loved your thoughts on Jane and how she inspired you.

  22.  

    Really looking forward to reading this book. Love hearing about how others became fans of Jane.

  23.  

    Jane and her Elizabeth Bennet have been my friends for so long. When you’re feeling down and get lost in her stories, everything seems to make sense again 🙂 Your book sounds lovely btw Andreea!! Would like to have the chance to read it myself.

  24.  

    This sounds so intriguing! Thank you so much for the interview!

  25.  

    I love to hear authors story, how they met Jane Austen and how she change their lives.
    Thank you for the giveaway, I like the plot of your story and I surely want to read it!

  26.  

    I love the premise and variation for my favorite couple and I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for sharing the interview Meredith and thanks for the giveaway Andreea. –Leslie

  27.  

    Lovely post, Andreea and Meredith! I have long known about Andreea’s journey in discovering JA and still read it with eagerness. 🙂

  28.  

    Love how Jane Austen inspired you to write “Meant to Be”. I’m looking forward to reading your debut novel. Congrats!

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