Feb 082019
 

Hi friends! I’m so very excited to welcome back author Riana Everly to Austenesque Reviews today! Something I love about this author’s work is the unique angles and twists she gives her stories, and her latest release – Through A Different Lens – is no exception. I love that she created a story that explores Mr. Darcy having Asperger’s Syndrome! Riana is here to share more about the Mr. Darcy in her tale!

I am delighted to be here today, on the final day of my blog tour for Through a Different Lens. Thank you, Meredith, for hosting me.

In this novel, I have explored the possibility of Mr. Darcy having Asperger’s Syndrome, and of Eizabeth Bennet understanding him. Darcy is extremely intelligent and most capable, but has difficulties with some social interactions.

Now, I had hoped to spend some time talking about that gentleman, but I have been unexpectedly called away to attend to an unfortunate incident with a wrongly-accused damsel, a deceased clergyman, and some missing silverware. I hope you won’t mind if Mr. Darcy himself steps in to take my place. He has been working hard at his social skills, and might have a few words to offer about himself!

—Riana

Mr. Darcy’s Lens

Uh… Good day. I was not expecting anybody to be here.

(cough)

I am not very good at conversing with strangers.

(ahem)

However, Miss Elizabeth Bennet has entreated me to practice the art, as she practices scales on the pianoforte, and so I shall endeavour to be pleasant company for the time we have together. I fear I shall say something wrong, but I trust you will forgive me, as you might a wrong note from an inexperienced pianist.

Miss Bennet has been encouraging me to find topics of conversation that might be of interest to my company. I confess, I had not thought seriously of such a thing before, for I had not considered that others might have topics of enjoyment other than my own. But Miss Bennet is, from what I can see, adept at the art of small talk, and so I shall take her advice as graciously as I can.

I find that most conversations I hear flit from topic to topic, touching upon many but settling on none. I cannot understand that at all. My mind seeks to find one topic and explore it in depth, and I find I am often perturbed when distracted from my subject and return to it at once with little regard for what interruption has occurred. This too, Miss Bennet advises me, I must learn to moderate.

I find I most wish, right now, to discuss with you my fascination with lenses. I have a fair collection of them in my workroom at the back of my town house. I have some simple ancient magnifying glasses, and a pair of medieval spectacles, which balanced on the end of the wearer’s nose. These are a fascinating invention, not only for the need to accommodate to the owner’s particular eyesight, but also because of the need to minimise chromatic aberrations, which occurs when different colours of light are refracted differently and do not meet at the focal point. One can make spectacles from tinted glass to provide relief from very bright lights, in the style of the Venetians. Lenses can be combined, or used with mirrors to make microscopes or telescopes. Parabolic lenses are another fascinating… Oh.

18th Centure Italian Microscope

Forgive me. I have fallen into my old habits, and am talking at length about a topic of interest to me alone. We are practicing, Miss Elizabeth and I, the fine art of conversation as a musician practices etudes, but I have many scales still to learn, if I may use such an analogy. But practice I shall, and I hope that upon our next meeting, I will be much improved in my skills.

Perhaps this excerpt from the novel will elucidate where my meagre skills have fallen short. Thank you for abiding my poor company today.

***

~ Excerpt from Through A Different Lens ~

Lizzy began by introducing the topic most dreaded by her student: small talk. He understood the mechanics as a house painter understands the theory involved in mixing pigments. But Elizabeth wished to help him learn the art, so that he might become, if not a Gainsborough of chatter in the salon, at least a creditable imitator.

Goldoni Style Sun specs from 1790

“You might wish to have one or two topics upon which you can converse lightly,” she suggested. “Something of interest to you, but that also will appeal to your companions. Pray, sir, what are your personal interests, that amuse and occupy your mind when none other is there to disturb you?”

“My interests?” he furrowed his brow. “Why should anybody concern himself with that?”

“We seek not only to pass the time with small talk, but to form some small connexion between the participants in the conversation. By exploring whether you might share some common interests, you can create the illusion of getting to know each other without the risk of exposing your true self. You, sir, are a master at protecting your innermost essence, but without the effort of reaching out to others even with the most superficial of topics, you leave the room with only the impression of your pride and disdain. In short, upon first encounter you seem most disagreeable.”

At this, Darcy started and huffed, “I? Disagreeable? I cannot believe that! I say nothing to offend people! Well, most of the time.” He must have reflected upon his rude words only days before, for he turned a rather alarming shade of red. Then collecting himself, added, “I learned that much, at least, from my governesses and tutors.”

“Sir, you say nothing, and THAT is what offends people!” Lizzy retorted. “You leave people with the impression that you have no interest in engaging them in conversation, that nobody is good enough for you. And I recall a conversation you had with your good friend Mr. Bingley, in which you insulted me most cruelly. ‘Not tolerable enough to tempt me,’ were your exact words, I believe!”

To his credit, Darcy bowed his head in remorse. “You were not intended to hear that. It was all I could think of to say to convince him to leave me in peace. You know how poorly I acquit myself with strangers.”

Trying very hard to school her thoughts and her tone of voice, Lizzy agreed rigidly, “That, sir, I can attest to.”

Mr. Darcy may not have been at all adept in deciphering facial expressions, but when he was not hiding behind his protective walls, he was most eloquent in displaying them, and the look of contrition that washed over him was almost enough to bring about Lizzy’s complete forgiveness. “I am most sorry you heard that,” Darcy muttered. “It was not true.”

With a breath to clear her thoughts, Elizabeth returned, “One never knows who hears one’s words. That is why we must always be careful what we say. And, to our topic, it is the reason small talk is of such importance, trivial though it be by nature. It is how we display ourselves to best advantage with strangers, how we replace our impenetrable protective walls with something a bit… friendlier, which will allow those whom we might allow real friendship a safe entrance to our inner essence.”

Darcy pondered these words for a few moments. He had risen, and was pacing the small space of the folly, from one Grecian pillar to the next, as he contemplated this little speech with the determination he might give to one of Sophocles’ orations. “If I understand you, what you are saying is that we suffer through small talk so that we might have a means of selecting those whom we wish to admit as friends and intimates.”

Suppressing a giggle, Elizabeth said, “Well, yes, in a way. You phrase it in a rather mercenary manner, but that is certainly a part of it. We also engage in small talk because it is more polite than staring blankly at people.” Darcy stared blankly at her. Rolling her eyes and taking yet another deep breath, she continued, “And so, let us return to my original question: What are your personal interests? We need a base upon which we can build.”

It is so interesting to see Mr. Darcy’s character in this light (or perhaps I should say – through this lens!) 😉 It is a very plausible explanation for his thoughtless comment about Elizabeth during the Meryton Assembly and discomfort/awkwardness with the art of conversing. I’m really eager to see more of Darcy and Elizabeth’s exchanges together in this tale! Thank you for sharing, Riana!

~~~

Connect with Riana

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Author Bio

Riana Everly was born in South Africa, but has called Canada home since she was eight years old. She has a Master’s degree in Medieval Studies and is trained as a classical musician, specialising in Baroque and early Classical music. She first encountered Jane Austen when her father handed her a copy of Emma at age 11, and has never looked back.

Riana now lives in Toronto with her family. When she is not writing, she can often be found playing string quartets with friends, biking around the beautiful province of Ontario with her husband, trying to improve her photography, thinking about what to make for dinner, and, of course, reading!

Riana’s second novel, The Assistant, was awarded the Jane Austen Award by Jane Austen Readers’ Awards, and her debut novel, Teaching Eliza, was listed on a list of 2017 Favourite Books on the blog Savvy Verse & Wit and was honoured with a Discovering Diamonds review. For all of these, she is delighted and very proud!

Giveaway Time!!

Today Riana is generously giving away five lovely ebooks of Through a Different Lens in conjunction with her blog tour!!  Woot woot! 

     

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment and fill out the rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Riana!
  • This giveaway ends February 10th! *Act Fast*

 

~ If you missed any of the other stops of the tour, check them out below ~

Blog Tour

Jan 21 ~ Diary of an Eccentric
Jan 22 ~ Author takeover at Historical Reads and Research with Leila Snow
Jan 23 ~ Rose Fairbanks
Jan 24 ~ Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
Jan 25 ~ Babblings of a Bookworm
Jan 28 ~ So Little Time…So Much to Read
Jan 29 ~ My Love for Jane Austen
Jan 31 ~ Half Agony, Half Hope
Feb 5 ~ From Pemberley to Milton
Feb 6 ~ More Agreeably Engaged
***Feb 8 ~ Austenesque Reviews***

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  41 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Riana Everly!!!”

  1.  

    That was a very intriguing excerpt. Will wait patiently to see the outcome of Elizabeth’s lessons.Thank you for the giveaway.

    •  

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed the excerpt. Darcy will still give Elizabeth a few headaches along they way, and perhaps she has a few things to learn as well! Good luck in the draw.

  2.  

    Well so far I have loved every post that I’ve seen on this tour. I am really anticipating reading this book. I hope Elizabeth is successful in teaching Darcy how to communicate (but hopefully not enough to attract many other women!)

  3.  

    Wonder what Darcy says to Carolina Bingley

    •  

      I can just imagine what he’d say! Or rather, what he wouldn’t say. He would sit and ignore her, and she’d be perfectly happy as long as she could still dream of his bank account!

  4.  

    Very intrigued by this premise. Congratulations on such a wonderful idea!

  5.  

    Mr Darcy has Aspergers! What an interesting concept! I never would have thought of it. I’d very much like to win and read the book to explore the subject for myself. Thank you for the opportunity!

    •  

      There are a few hints in Austen’s text that she knew someone with Asperger’s, and used some of those traits in creating her Darcy. I took these and went a bit further with them. Of course, there was no awareness of the autism spectrum as a “thing” then, but the characteristics would have existed nonetheless. Good luck in the draw, and I hope you love the book.

  6.  

    Asperger’s Syndrome makes perfect sense for Darcy. I have one son who is definitely on the spectrum, and another who is borderline.

    I am really hoping to win a copy of this book; it looks amazing!! And Darcy’s interest in lenses is awesome; I want to see the medieval set!!

    I noticed in your bio that you have a Master’s degree in medieval studies. My MA in English was concentrated in medieval lit, 19th century British lit, and poetry. 🙂

    Congratulations on the release of your most recent book!! I can’t wait to read it!!

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

    •  

      I also have a son on the edge of the spectrum. As much as he seems “normal” most of the time, he very clearly thinks differently!
      Yes, my MA is in Medieval Studies. I concentrated mostly on Music and social history, since music doesn’t exist in a vacuum. I did a bit of literature as well, mostly Arthurian. I loved Chretien de Troyes, but wasn’t so keen on Geoffrey of Monmouth. What were some of your favourite works?
      Good luck in the draw, and I hope you love this story.

  7.  

    This is bound to be a good book, as Riana Everly is definitely one of the better new writers out there. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway.

  8.  

    Oh this sounds wonderful! My son is borderline as well. Would love to win and read this book and compare the signs to my son.

    •  

      There is another character, Lizzy’s twelve-year-old cousin, who is on the spectrum too. He’s the reason Lizzy knows a bit about this “different” way of thinking. Good luck in the draw, and if you read the book, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the characters. You can always send me an email or a note on my FB page.

  9.  

    I am very eager to read this book. When I read about Aspberger’s I immediately think about Darcy. This was a lovely excerpt, Riana. It really made me feel for Darcy’s situation, his misunderstanding and his discomfort. I could also see Elizabeth’s frustration and also her patience. Thank you so much for the generous giveaway chance. Thank you Meredith for hosting this stop on Riana’s blog tour. Isn’t this just a yummy sounding book?

    •  

      I’m pleased you enjoyed this little scene. Yes, there are going to be ups and downs for both characters as they learn to work together. Of course we can’t really diagnose Austen’s character, but I think she gives clues that she knew someone on the spectrum, and used some of that person’s traits in her stories. Good luck in the giveaway, and I hope you love the story.

    •  

      I so agree, Michelle! It seems such a plausible explanation for some of Darcy’s ‘foot in mouth’ moments. I’m really excited to see this premise explored!

  10.  

    I like all the photos of old items in the article and I think I’ll like the full story even more. thanks for the drawing.

  11.  

    Poor Mr. Darcy and small talk do not go together.

  12.  

    Great excerpt! I’ve learned so much about the background of this book and gotten the intriguing excerpt snippets. Definitely hooked me in to wanting to read it.

  13.  

    I read this as an unpublished work and mean to reread it so that I can post a review. I enjoyed this story. Thanks for a chance to win.

  14.  

    Fascinating discussion. That collection of lenses must be interesting to see. I’m intrigued. Thanks to Riana for the generous giveaway. Thanks to Meredith for hosting [say hello to your Mr. Bingley]. Blessings on the success of this work.

  15.  

    Intriguing possibility! Why not?
    I’m looking forward to reading this… Good luck with the release!

  16.  

    This was a lovely excerpt, really nice.

  17.  

    Loved the interview and excerpt. I know this will be a great read and I’m looking forward to your new book. Thanks Riana and Meredith. Jen Red

  18.  

    A great excerpt to what I’m sure is a very intriguing story! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  19.  

    This seems like a very clever plot twist, My Darcy is more painfully shy than a snobbish jerk. I think I will enjoy your Darcy with him being on the Autistic spectrum very much. Look forward to meeting this Darcy.

    •  

      Thank you. Yes, I’ve always seen Darcy as very shy and uncomfortable in social situations, and this sometimes comes out as rudeness because he just doesn’t know what to say! I hope you really enjoy this book.

  20.  

    Great except!!

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