Aug 202011

Thank you, Meredith, for your gracious invitation to participate in the Austenesque Extravaganza. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts throughout the month. Celebrating Jane Austen every day can’t help but make life brighter.

My first novel, An Arranged Marriage, has recently been published by Meryton Press. It’s a what-if story focusing on my favorite Austen characters, Darcy and Elizabeth. Their strong personalities combined with their unfortunate beginning in Pride and Prejudice set the stage for fireworks. It was not difficult to divert their paths at Rosings Park and picture the conflict a forced marriage could produce.

Just for fun, let’s pretend I have not yet selected which characters I should write about in An Arranged Marriage. Seeking inspiration, I have invited some of Austen’s heroines to tea.


Setting: (Living room of small cottage)

Anne Elliot:Do you have any idea why we have been asked to meet in this place?

Elinor Dashwood:None whatsoever. I do hope whatever it is does not take long, for I was interrupted from unpacking.

Elizabeth Elliot: You do your own unpacking? How horrid! I leave such things to Anne. She has nothing better to do.

Marianne Dashwood:I do not care for this house. It is nothing like dear, dear Norland. Why, there is no pianoforte! What are we to do for pleasure?

Emma Woodhouse:It seems we are left to devise our own amusement. I know a delightful game that Frank Churchill taught me, if only we had a box of letters, but alas, there is none. Or we could create riddles—I excel at solving riddles. Oh, I have it. Are you not all unmarried? My success at making matches is unsurpassed!

Harriet Smith:Oh, yes, Miss Woodhouse is a marvel at matches! She persuaded me to dump my true love in hopes of marrying up.

Emma Woodhouse:(sighs) We do not use the phrase, marrying up, dear, or the word dump.

Harriet Smith: Oh, forgive me!

Anne Elliot:I thank you for the offer, Miss Woodhouse, but in the past, I have suffered from those who interfere in matters of the heart.

Elizabeth Elliot: Oh, pooh! You are not still pining for that seaman, are you? He was totally unsuitable.

Anne Elliot:But I loved Frederick.

Emma Woodhouse:Why was he found unsuitable? Did he have no fortune?

Elizabeth Elliot: A seaman with a fortune? Are you daft?

Emma Woodhouse:Excuse me, Miss Elliot. I have never made matches for seamen, as I seldom leave Highbury.

Elizabeth Elliot:(gives her a derisive glance) There is no need to discuss it now. Anne’s former suitor has sailed. It has been more than eight years since Father and Lady Russell sent him packing. By now, his complexion will be as rough as walnuts. (brightening) My, I sound more like Father every day.

Anne Elliot:Sailors have more wit and warmth than any other set of men in England!

Elizabeth Elliot: Rubbish! And even if Frederick Wentworth should return, he will not look in your direction. You are so greatly altered he would hardly know you.

Elinor Dashwood:(feeling sympathy for Anne, seeks to change the subject) Why have you not married by now, Miss Elliot?

Harriet Smith:Yes, you are becoming rather long in the tooth.

Emma Woodhouse:We do not remark on a lady’s age, dear.

Harriet Smith:Oh, forgive me!

Emma Woodhouse:Cannot Sir Walter arrange a suitable match for you, Miss Elliot? If not, I would be glad to offer my services.

Elizabeth Elliot: Arrange! I have no need of an arranged marriage! We must retren—that is, we are moving to Bath, where I am assured the daughter of a baronet will meet gentlemen worthy of her notice. As Father and I travel in the most exalted circles, I will not settle for anything less than becoming a viscountess!

Harriet Smith:Why, that means you will also move to Bath, Miss Anne. Since your sister will be swimming in men, surely she will share at least one with you.

Emma Woodhouse:We do not say swimming in men, dear. It sounds vulgar.

Harriet Smith:Oh, forgive me!

Elizabeth Elliot: Anne? Why should Anne go? Who will want her in Bath? She must go to Uppercross and tend our sister Mary.

Harriet Smith:Is not Uppercross where the farmers live? I like farmers. (eyes glaze over) I know one farmer who has muscles that would twist your knickers.

Emma Woodhouse:Harriet, you forget yourself! We do not use phrases like twist your hmm, what are knickers?

Harriet Smith:Oh, forgive me!

Marianne Dashwood:Anne, is your sister Mary sick again? Oh, but when is Mary not sick?

Elinor Dashwood:Marianne! You overlook how often you fall ill.

Elizabeth Elliot:Every time you ramble around in the rain, so I hear.

Marianne Dashwood:(flounces off to gaze out the window) Oh, how I long for Willoughby!

Elinor Dashwood:It would be much more prudent if you married Colonel Brandon.

Emma Woodhouse:Shall I arrange a match between Marianne and the colonel?

Marianne Dashwood:Never! I would rather die than be forced to marry that stuffy old colt’s tooth! (flounces to the divan)

Elinor Dashwood:But the colonel is an honourable gentleman, while Willoughby is nothing more than a rake!

Marianne Dashwood: I like rakes.

Elizabeth Elliot:You sound like Lydia Bennet. (snort)

Harriet Smith:Which one is Lydia?

EmmaWoodhouse:She is not here, dear. Do not ask impertinent questions.

Harriet Smith:Oh, forgive me!

Marianne Dashwood:(takes a turn about the room, flouncing the entire time) What about you, Miss Woodhouse? When shall you arrange your own marriage with someone like Mr. Knightley?

Emma Woodhouse:Oh, how you jest! Mr. Knightley and I would kill each other! I could not tolerate being told daily how spoiled I am.

Harriet Smith:(giggles) He does know how to throw a hissy fit. Badly done, Emma, badly done! (giggles again) What about Mr. Frank Churchill? Did you not set your cap at him?

Emma Woodhouse: I have never set my cap at any man. Besides, I think Frank Churchill favors you.

Harriet Smith:(blushes)

Marianne Dashwood:You would do better to arrange a marriage between Miss Smith and Mr. Elton, for I have heard that Mr. Churchill is secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax.

Emma Woodhouse:Secretly engaged! Frank Churchill would not do such a thing. That sounds more like Edward Ferrars. Did he not commit himself to Lucy Steele and tell nary a soul?

Marianne Dashwood:What a spiteful thing to say! Elinor esteems Edward highly!

Harriet Smith:(looks puzzled) Is that her way of saying Miss Dashwood has the hots for the man?

Emma Woodhouse:(lifts eyes to ceiling)

Harriet Smith:Oh, forgive me!

Elinor Dashwood:I find this conversation entirely devoid of sensibility. As Anne asked in the beginning, why have we been called together?

(Door opens, and Elizabeth Bennet enters the room)

Lizzy Bennet:(out of breath) Pray, forgive my tardiness. I am attempting to elude a certain persistent authoress, and once I tell you of her, I feel certain you will wish to do the same.

Anne Elliot:Do tell, Miss Elizabeth.

Lizzy Bennet: Her name is Jan Hahn, and she is searching for characters to place in an arranged marriage.

Harriet Smith:Is that anything like a shotgun wedding?

Emma Woodhouse:(big sigh, shrugs shoulders) I give up!

Harriet Smith:(giggles)

Lizzy Bennet:She wants to force me to marry Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy, of all men! Does she not remember that I said he was the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry? Who knows what she will try to do to you? I fear she may be deranged. We must make haste and depart this place at once!

(Hurriedly, all leave, chattering nervously)

(A few moments later, one of the ladies returns. She seats herself, straightens her skirt, and pats her hair)

(Jan Hahn enters)

Jan Hahn:(looks around, appears shocked) Where is everyone? Are you the only one willing to enter into an arranged marriage? (her face falls) I . . . uh . . . I’m so sorry, but even I can’t dream up a man I could force to marry you, Miss Elliot! Good day.


Marriages of convenience and arranged marriages, often loveless, were common in Jane Austen’s time. Do you like to read stories of forced marriages, and if so, why? Besides Darcy and Elizabeth, can you imagine any of Austen’s other couples entering matrimony in such a manner? Did a marriage have to be a love match to be considered successful, or was producing “an heir and a spare” enough?

I’d love to know what you think.



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  34 Responses to “Spotlight Saturday – Jan Hahn”


    I usually prefer love marriages but I have come across the book Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy The Last Man In The World. It does end happily 🙂 I guess happy endings do it for me 🙂

    What if Marianne and Willoughby were forced to marry? It does not seem like a bad thing since both of them have feelings for each other. After all, Willoughby married someone else for practical reasons. The only problem is that they would have problems with their finances.

    What if Fanny were forced to marry Henry? I think she would be terribly unhappy since she is in love with Edmund and also because she has misgivings about Henry’s character.

    What if Catherine were forced to marry John? I think she would be trapped and unhappy in the marriage.

    Jane’s marriage to Collins has been explored in the show Lost In Austen and I love the way she finally stands up to him nearing the end of the story 🙂

    If you notice, all my female characters are mostly those who are timid, so that they can fit the category of a forced bride.

    To me, a successful marriage needs to be a love match, as teamwork and mutual communication are essential qualities the couple must possess in order to make the marriage work. If there is hatred involved, the marriage will fail, since such qualities will not be exhibited. However, I know that in the Regency era, marrying for procreation was important.


    LOL! Harriet cracks me up. 🙂 And as for arranged marriages, I love them. They are my favorite kind of P&P retellings. I guess I like to see the tension that results when they are married, thrust into close quarters and how that works itself out into true love. And “An Arranged Marriage” is one of the best!


    So enjoyed your post! Will find your book and enjoy reading it! Keep on writing! Jennifer G.


    oh Jan you had me laughing out loud over this scenario ”) too funny and soooo accurately characterized! the closing is perfection “)
    thinking of lydia’s arranged marriage – probably not a good thing! just a coverup and not based on a solid marriage foundation which makes a mockery then of the purpose…
    but i do know they have worked out for the good as emotions are not to be counted on for a lifetime commitment!


    should probably clarify that last statement-
    i do know arranged marriages have worked out for the good when the two recognize the vallue of marriage – takes a good amount of maturity – and certainly can be for the better over marrying on the shaky ground of emotions alone…
    so to answer your query, no, “marriage doesn’t have to be a love match to be considered successful”
    and, no, “producing “an heir and a spare” is not enough!


    I enjoyed reading your post! I can’t wait to read your book,



    Thanks for commenting, Pseudo, and hope you don’t mind that I shortened your name just this one time. What a lovely, long post! I agree with forcing Austen’s timid girls into marriage to the wrong men – bad idea. As for Marianne, I would hope Willoughby would love her enough to be true, but I have serious doubts as to his character.

    Hi, Araminta! I’m glad you liked Harriet. She reminds me of one of my kids always asking questions during a movie.

    Thank you Jennifer and Felicia. I hope you like the book.

    And Faith, I enjoyed your comments. Recognizing the value of marriage and commitment is as important as love.


    “even I can’t dream up a man I could force to marry you, Miss Elliot! Good day” Poor Miss Elliot! 🙂 I agree with Faith Hope Cherrytea that if the two people recognize the importance and value of a good marriage, are willing to make sacrifices and be mature, that marriage has a great chance of working out!
    I cannot wait to read your book Jan!


    What a fun post and I too, loved the end! I guess I am a true romantic at heart. Having a love match, realizing the value of marriage and producing an heir…that is a match made in heaven! Granted that is not always the way of things but it is nice to dream.

    I enjoyed your book so much! (and can’t wait for the next one in October) I loved the arranged marriage between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Her slow realization of her true feelings and his patience were exciting to see you develop in the book. It was also very nice to see more of Georgiana and learn more about her character, as well as Colonel Fitzwilliam’s.
    I truly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.


    Well since people rarely had love matches then I do not mind arranged marriages. And of course Mr Darcy is the one I really can see do it and his sister.

    As for the women…maybe Eleanor


    I just finished your book and truly enjoyed it. The romantic in me, like Jane Bennet, says, “do anything rather than marry without affection.”. But with the divorce rate being what it is, I think arranged marriages may have some merit.


    Jan – were you Emma Woodhouse in your former life? 🙂
    I personally love FMS – as long as they end happily – which they probably didn’t in reality most of the time.
    Lovely post!


    I would prefer no arranged marriages. They seem forced but of course this was common place then. Another couple that should have been arranged was Mr. Collins and Mary. They seemed as though they were made for each other. I think it would have to be a love match. That’s what we look for today is love.


    Jakki, thank you for your comments! I hope you like the book.

    Janet, dearest, wouldn’t it be grand if we could make RL turn out like our favorite books?

    Blodeuedd, I had never thought about forcing Elinor into marriage, but she’s so practical that I can see her making the sacrifice if it would aid her family.

    Bonnie, I’m a romantic through and through, but unfortunately you have a point about today’s divorce rate. Thank goodness we can escape into Austen’s world.

    And Karen, I could have been Emma! How did you know? My father spoiled me and so did my husband, and I confess I have made a few matches that turned out well.

    Oh, Margaret, I think almost all of us can see that Mary was made for Mr. Collins, but I doubt that Mary would need to be forced.


    Really enjoyed your post…Am adding your book to my TBR list….Harriet was hilarious…and poor Elizabeth even you can’t find a man for her…


    Thank you! I’m so glad I don’t have to write about Elizabeth Elliot!


    Stories about arranged marriages can be interesting since for most today we have the choice of whom we marry. It’s interesting to think of Elizabeth and Darcy finding themselves in an arranged marriage. What would Lady Catherine say? I must read your book.
    I’m of the opinion someone should have arranged a marriage between Mary Bennet and Mr. Collins. They’d do so well together.
    Probably, at the time, the fact that a woman married well and produced an heir was enough of a driving goal to call a marriage successful should it happen, but I couldn’t conceive of being married to someone I couldn’t love or didn’t love before getting married. That doesn’t sound like happiness to me. But I guess we can contribute that to having more options than women of that time.


    I really enjoyed your post! Harriet was so funny! I can’t wait to read your book!


    Thank you, Amanda and Kelli! I hope you both have a chance to read my book, and I’d love to hear what you think after doing so. It contains angst, some humor, a bit of intrigue and, of course, romance.

    I, too, can’t think of having to marry someone I didn’t love. I love to read about the 19th century, but I’m certainly glad I don’t live in it!


    Poor Miss Eliot! But I think a quick rereading of Persuasion should set me to rights about her. I loved Harriet, so funny and innocently profane (for the times). I’m rather curious how it came about that Darcy and Elizabeth wound up being in an arranged marriage.


    LOL! I love your post! What fun to bring all these characters together!


    hahahahahahahaha, I loved the conversation that took place! So wonderful – esp Harriet’s so very slang-y interjections, hahahahahahaha…

    I’ll always be a fan of love matches – while arranged marriages sometimes work out fine, there’s just something…special about a love match :o)


    Thank you, Melora, for your comments! To satisfy your curiosity, here’s the blurb from the back of my book.

    Can a marriage of convenience ever lead to true love? Immediately after Elizabeth Bennet refuses Mr. Darcy’s proposal at Hunsford, her father dies, leaving Longbourn entailed away and little fortune to sustain his widow and daughters.

    Six months later, the Bennet family receives a visitor with a most unusual offer that promises to save the family from financial and social ruin. Elizabeth’s sense of duty forces her to enter into an arranged marriage with a man she does not even like.

    Told from Elizabeth’s point of view, An Arranged Marriage is a compelling twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Can Elizabeth overcome her feelings of anger, resentment, and suspicion toward her new husband and – the most bewildering sensation of all – a growing attraction for the last man in the world she ever wished to marry!

    Thank you Becky and Rebecca! I’m glad you enjoyed the post, and I’m with you about love matches. They’re they best.


    I bet Mrs. Bennet, who loved picking out suitors for her daughters, would have been a big fan of arranged marriages. She probably would have looked on it as an efficient way to get the girls married. She would have loved Emma Woodhouse!


    I am just about to begin reading An Arranged Marriage so I can’t yet offer specifics on how I like it.

    I think arranged marriages can work if both people are honest and patient and really want to make it successful. But it would be terrifying to not know what exactly you’re getting in a mate until it’s too late. You just have to hope that the people doing the arranging have your best interest at heart and wouldn’t want to shackle you to a cruel awful person just for monetary gain.

    I’m looking forward to Lizzy and Darcy’s path to love.


    Thank you for commenting, Deborah and Monica! I had never thought of Mrs. Bennet and Emma having common interests, but I can see it now. I do hope by the time Emma has children, Mr. Knightly has persuaded her not to plan matches for them. It would be very difficult for me to be forced to marry anyone and especially just for money.


    I just finished reading An Arranged Marriage (in one sitting- I am quite obsessed when I read) and I loved it. I could see the legitimacy in both their feelings but I just wanted to knock their heads together! Lol particularly Lizzy for not speaking out more and leaving him ignorant of the torrent of things going thru her mind. I’m not used to reading from Lizzy’s 1st person pov and I liked it;her thoughts made for a little comic relief at times. Anyway, well done 🙂


    My, but you must be a fast reader! Thank you for your kind comments, Monica, and sometimes I wanted to knock their heads together, so I certainly understand your feelings.


    I enjoy the interview, it’s funny and hilarious. So where is Catherine Morland and Fanny Price?

    Most romance stories falls under two categories: love match and marriage of convenience before falling in love later. So for me it’s more enjoyable if I get to read about the latter category. In my opinion to have a successful marriage in those days does not mean that husband and wife be all lovey dovey. If they respect, honour each other and produce an heir and spares, I think it would be enough.

    But not so in our world since we get to choose whom to marry, of course we would only marry for love. I mean who wouldn’t?


    Jan, I enjoyed your post – very clever! Congratulations on your publication with Meryton Press. Wishing you all the best.



    I was laughing the entire time I read this–and as I was at work, I had to keep saying, “Oh, forgive me!” An Arranged Marriage was one of the first JAFF I ever read, and now I remember why I loved it so much–Jan is an excellent author.


    Arranged marriages are fun to read about in romances, because you know the couple will fall in love– and even quicker, lust 🙂 I am not sure about Jane Austen’s other characters, though!


    Thank you, Luthien, Susan, Nancy, and Chelsea! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. As for Catherine Morland and Fanny Price – Catherine was too busy snooping around Northanger Abbey to respond to the invitation, and Fanny was, as usual, panting after Edmund, while she waited for him to come to his senses.


    this kept me LOL’ing throughout–both poor Emma and poor Harriet! Thanks for sharing!

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