Happy Monday, friends! As you may recall I read and reviewed the anthology all about bad boys, Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues, last month and I liked it just a teensy bit (okay, I absolutely adored it!) Today, I have one of the authors of that lovely anthology stopping by for a visit! Jenetta James has written some remarkable works (her Austen-Inspired story The Elizabeth Papers was one of my favorites for 2016!) and was thrilled to see her lovely story in Dangerous to Know!
Thank you Meredith, for having me back to Austenesque Reviews. It is always a pleasure and an honour to visit your lovely blog. This week, I am talking about my short story “The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot” in the anthology Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues. Those who have read the story will know that Meredith is actually in it in recognition of her generous support for Hurricane Relief.
The idea of the anthology was to take each of one Austen’s baddies, (as my children would call them), and give them a back story. Readers will recall the fortune hunting, scheming, opportunist Elliot from Persuasion. He is a character who appears to pick up his relations when it is to his advantage and drop them without a care when it is not. Of the gallery of cads on offer, he struck me as among the least redeemable characters, and that is what appealed to me about him. I can’t say that my story redeems him, I don’t think it does. But I suppose that it is an attempt at explaining the man behind the roguery.
I have always loved theatre and since I see William Elliot as a man constantly putting on an act, I decided to give him a pre-Persuasion story in the world of the stage. During the Regency, there were three theatres in London with “letters patent” (that is to say that they could call themselves “Theatre Royal”). Amazingly, they were lit entirely by candlelight (until 1817 when gaslight started to be used) and were enormously popular. There were stars of the stage, just as there are now and a rich tradition of noblemen and wealthy patrons becoming romantically entangled with those stars. So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from my story, in which Mr William Elliot, gentleman and widower steps into the world of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane…