Hi readers!! I’m so excited to welcome back Sophie Turner to Austenesque Reviews today! Sophie, is the lovely author behind the Constant Love series, a series of wonderful Pride and Prejudice sequels. But today Sophie is here to talk about her newest release, which is actually a variation! Sophie has prepared a very special and thoughtful post about her characterization of Mr. Darcy. We hope you enjoy!
Thank you so much for hosting me again here, Meredith! I always love visiting Austenesque Reviews, and I’m excited to tell readers more about the thoughts behind some of the characterizations in my latest book, Mistress: A Pride and Prejudice Variation, with Parts Not Suitable for Those Who Have Not Reached Their Majority.
I often look up words during my editing process to ensure that they’re actually period appropriate. Sometimes words that I would have thought were more modern surprise me and go back to the 14th or 15th century. Sometimes, I’m surprised to learn that words I would have thought in use during the Regency did not come in until much later.
One of the biggest surprises was “empathy.” which Merriam-Webster lists as having a first known use of 1909. This was a bit of a blow to me: ever since I’d learned the difference between sympathy and empathy, I’d always considered it important to distinguish between them, but now I had to use sympathy to encompass both.
But since we’re in the modern world and the word has been invented, it’s the concept of empathy I want to talk about, and how it applies to the two men who have the greatest influence over Elizabeth’s life in Mistress. I suppose I should say three men have a strong influence over her life, for it’s Mr. Bennet’s untimely death that first drives the plot.
The first of the two men I primarily want to talk about, though, is Mr. Collins, who times his proposal to Elizabeth after her father’s death in such a way that she cannot help but accept, for to do anything otherwise might force her family into genteel destitution. The timing is so bad that it shows a shocking lack of empathy, and yet it felt entirely in-character, for Collins. Continue reading »