Good morning! Last year I had the pleasure to read and review Miss Darcy’s Companion, which I just adored and today I am thrilled to dish out the scoop for my readers as I reveal my exclusive interview with the young lady who helped to bring Darcy and Elizabeth together in this story, Miss Georgiana Darcy.
Meeting up for a tête-à-tête at Pemberley was a highlight of my Austen-packed year. You can also meet her in the newly released audiobook, Miss Darcy’s Companion.
Please join me in welcoming Joana Starnes back to Just Jane 1813…
Thanks for having me as your guest, Claudine, Just Jane 1813 is such a fun place to be! I’m coming back today to celebrate the release of Miss Darcy’s Companion in Audible. It was produced by Stevie Zimerman, and her narration is exquisite, as always. You can listen to the sample here, to discover just how amazing her Mr Darcy is. A recent review said it so beautifully: ‘She has the perfect voice for Darcy, deep, vulnerable, and intense.’ How are we ever to resist a vulnerable and intense Mr Darcy?
Those who have already read the story will know the plot, and if not, the title rather gives the game away, because who else could be Miss Darcy’s Companion in a JAFF novel, but Miss Elizabeth Bennet? So, this is the premise:
“Miss Georgiana Darcy is need of a companion, and she would much rather not have Mrs Younge. The recently bereaved Miss Elizabeth Bennet is in need of a position. When she accepts the one Mr Darcy offers, she finds herself in his near-constant company and gets to know him at his best. Not as he would present himself to strangers in some remote corner of Hertfordshire, but as his nearest and dearest know him. An excellent brother, landlord, master. A wonderful man, noble, kind – and impossibly handsome. So, who falls in love first? What of Mr Wickham and his dastardly ploys? And how is a lady’s companion ever to have a future with one who could marry into the best houses in the land?”
And since Miss Darcy was the one who changed the course of history in this variation by trying to have a say in her brother’s choice of a companion for her, I think she should be the one to tell you more.
I was over the moon when I heard she came across Claudine in Lambton, at Madame Lanchester’s, the milliner – good old Sally Lancaster, to you and me. As soon as she heard Sally addressing Claudine by name, Miss Darcy asked for the pleasure of an introduction, and invited her for tea at Pemberley.
So glad you had this chat with Miss Darcy, Claudine, and I hope you lovely ladies had a great time!
A CONVERSATION WITH MISS DARCY
Claudine (glancing around as she sips her tea, then sets her cup down): I love this room, Miss Darcy. And it’s so nice to have tea with you. Thanks for inviting me.
Georgiana Darcy: The pleasure is all mine, I assure you. I am so happy you could come. A pity you did not arrive last Monday, when Lizzy and my brother were still here. She will be so disappointed to have missed you. She reads your delightful journal with great interest.
Claudine (wide-eyed): Does she? How?
Georgiana Darcy (leans closer to whisper in great secrecy): She had acquired a fascinating instrument a while back, from a wild-haired old man who keeps a most curious little shop in York. It is shaped as a spyglass, but unlike any spyglass I have ever seen. I would have liked to show you it, but sadly Lizzy took it with her. She did not wish to miss anything you might publish while she was away, you see.
Claudine: Great to hear that. But it makes me very curious, too. Do you have the address of the shop, Miss Darcy? Maybe that wasn’t the only spyglass the old man had. I wonder if it works both ways.
Georgiana: I will be sure to look for it before you leave. But pray do call me Georgiana. May I call you Claudine?
Claudine: Of course, and thanks for the chance to talk. I’ve got to say, it was a surprise.
Georgiana (nodding): I see your meaning. You thought me rather shy. Nay, nay, do not protest. I know I have given myself a reputation in that regard. A well-deserved reputation, truth be told. I am shy. Or rather, I used to be.
Georgiana (smiling widely): I met Lizzy, of course. You must have heard a little of the story. When her dear father passed away, Lizzy took a position as a governess to my cousin’s children. But sadly, my cousin’s wife is the most–– Ahem! Well, the least said, the better. Suffice it to say that Lizzy came to live with us.
Claudine: Oh, yes, I heard about that. You made all the difference.
Georgiana (startled): Did I?
Claudine: Sure! You told your brother you’d rather have Miss Bennet as your companion, not Mrs Younge.
Georgiana: Whoever would not choose Lizzy over Mrs Younge, and indeed over almost anybody? Besides, there was something sinister about Mrs Younge. Something that spelled disaster. (Shudders, then tries to laugh it off). Pray forgive me. You will think me quite foolish. I am not often given to superstitious fears.
Claudine (reaches to squeeze her hand): Not at all. I know just what you mean.
Georgiana: Do you?
Claudine (emphatically): Oh, yes! Mrs Younge sounds like trouble. Sending her off was a very clever move.
Georgiana (beaming): I daresay it was, in more ways than one. This clever move, as you so kindly called it, made me very happy. And my dear brother, too. He dotes on Lizzy.
Claudine (grinning into her cup): Of course he does.
Georgiana (smiling back): They are perfectly suited to each other. What did surprise me a great deal was how long it took my brother to see it, and indeed to discover he was madly in love with her. (Giggles) My cousin Richard still teases him mercilessly about it. My brother does not like it much.
Claudine (hiding another grin): I bet. He wouldn’t, would he?
Georgiana (shaking her head): No, he would not. My brother is not accustomed to being teased, nor with having his views challenged. He is learning to bear the experience with tolerable composure when it comes from Lizzy, but not so much from the rest of us. Goodness, how he glared at me when I took him to task! You know, when Lizzy ran away from Pemberley in that dreadful storm.
Claudine (chortles): He said he’d let you know when he’s ready to put up with his kid sister telling him off. He was ready then, if you don’t mind me saying. He just didn’t know it.
Georgiana (blushing): Perhaps I was too harsh. Do you know, I went as far as to tell him I was ashamed of him! He was dreadfully shocked. I should have found a better way of putting it, but I was horrified to hear how grievously he had misjudged Lizzy. Not to mention undeservedly. She was only trying to protect me, and he jumped to such horrid conclusions!
Claudine (grinning): Well, jealous people are never wise. But I’ve got to say, your brother is so adorable when he’s jealous!
Georgiana (self-consciously, but with great affection): He is, is he not? You know, for so many years I thought him above such things: errors, misconceptions. I thought he could do no wrong. But I think I love him even better, now that I no longer set him on a pedestal. This has brought us closer than ever. And I am overjoyed to see him so happy. If only I could find as much happiness in the married state…
Claudine (warmly): I’m sure you will. May I ask, is there a particular gentleman you like?
Georgiana (blushes scarlet and tries to fudge the issue): The possibilities are endless, are they not? You see, sometimes Lizzy seeks to entertain me with findings from your journal. You know, about the alternate paths our lives might take. She told me about the many speculations about my partner in life. Sometimes ‘tis one of my cousins – Richard, in particular – or some heir to a large fortune. Or a reformed rake. Or the very opposite: some kindly gentleman who rescues me from a scrape. At one time, I was even paired with a dashing naval captain, who came to settle in Derbyshire for my sake. Flattering, all this attention, but more than a little daunting, too. (She gives a self-conscious wave of her hand). But enough about me. Tell me more about yourself and the intriguing place you hail from. Would you care for another cup of tea? Or shall we chat as we take a turn around the garden?
Claudine: No more tea for me, thanks, but I’d love to see the gardens.
Georgiana: Then by all means, pray come, and I will show you all my favourite spots.
(They leave the room chatting, arm in arm)
I hope you liked my little fantasy (and also that I didn’t make you sound funny, Claudine 😊).
So, what would you ask Georgiana if you had a tête-à-tête with her at Pemberley?
Please share, if you would, or just comment about anything that takes your fancy, to win more entries in the GIVEAWAY, and good luck! The giveaway is international, and if you win, you could curl up with Miss Darcy’s Companion in paperback over the holidays, listen to Stevie Zimmerman bringing the story to life, or have your very own bag of goodies from Pemberley, Bath and Chawton. For more chances to win, please follow the blog tour to see your entries add up:
24 Nov 2017 – News Page at www.joanastarnes.co.uk
27 Nov 2017 – Austenesque Reviews
29 Nov 2017 – Just Jane 1813
30 Nov 2017 – From Pemberley to Milton
2 Dec 2017 – Obsessed with Mr Darcy
Huge thanks again for having me as your guest, Claudine, and here’s to Happy Holidays and the best New Year!
Or visit ‘All Roads Lead to Pemberley’ on Facebook, for places, events, and tidbits that have inspired her novels.
I’d like to thank Joana Starnes for her generous giveaway offer and for releasing another audiobook for Austenesque readers to love!!
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Read this post from last year, where I share my love for audiobooks and why you should consider reading with your ears.