Today I am launching our “Salute to our Veterans” blog event, where I will feature, review and giveaway JAFF books whose main story lines center around Colonel Fitzwilliam.
The inspiration for this event comes from multiple places within my own life. First, I am the granddaughter of two veterans, who fought for the U.S. during WWII. As their granddaughter, I was reminded throughout my childhood of their devotion and deep affections for our nation, as well as the principles they held so dearly, as they served their country in and out of uniform. Their beliefs and their actions always reassured me about the greatness of our nation, along with the people who served our nation in the various branches of the Armed Forces.
Secondly, I have been fortunate to organize a Veterans Day event through my work, where we recognize and celebrate local veterans. The reaction throughout our community regarding this event has been tremendous, as some people have cited it as our finest celebration. Through this event, we connect U.S. citizens of all ages at a ceremony that includes speakers, musical performances and a significant monetary donation to a local charity that serves homeless veterans.
Finally, as a dedicated JAFF reader and a tremendous fan of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,’ I have always been intrigued by Colonel Fitzwilliam. Austen herself portrays him as friendly and amiable, as well as a close friend and confidant to Mr. Darcy. We should also believe that he is considered trustworthy and loyal, due to his shared guardianship with Mr. Darcy, of Miss Georgiana Darcy. Austen also created him as a second son, who has chosen to serve as a military man during the Napoleonic Wars.
When he meets Elizabeth in Kent, he lets her know that as a second son he intends to consider his own monetary needs when he selects a wife. Yet, he’s warm and comfortable from his earliest acquaintance with Elizabeth, while also recognizing her finest attributes. So when he divulges that Mr. Darcy has prevented Mr. Bingley from a disadvantageous marriage, what are his true intentions? Is he honestly hoping to paint Mr. Darcy in a flattering manner, or does he have an ulterior motive?
The books that I am spotlighting this week have been written by wonderful JAFF authors who Have written stories that I have loved, not only because their plots and characters are well-crafted and engaging, but because they have shaped Colonel Fitzwilliam in original and plausible ways, using hints (some stronger than others) from Austen to drive their character development.
It was pretty early into my discovery of JAFF (and after several viewings of the 1995 Pride & Prejudice) that I started to wonder about the possibilities of Elizabeth forming an attachment to Colonel Fitzwilliam. Some JAFF hinted at this too, while others focused their plots around this intense, and often painful love triangle. Other JAFF books have taken the colonel’s character and moved him along a completely different path, while selecting a new love interest for him and/or divulging deeper into his role as a military man. Throughout these choices, he remains loyal to the British Crown , as he serves his country during a long and brutal war against France.
Therefore, it is fitting to remember him, (as well as the thousands of men and woman, who have served their own countries,) as a devoted military man, who risked his life in the name of honor and duty. For it is his commitment to this role that resonates through all of the JAFF I will share throughout the next eight days.
I also want to thank the talented JAFF authors who joined me this week to provide our readers with this event. Their generosity greatly contributed to the fabulous blog event we have created for our Just Jane 1813 readers!