Monday, January 10, 2011

Lake Winandermere in Mr Darcy's Secret

It's just over a fortnight to go before Mr Darcy's Secret launch - I can't quite believe it, but it won't be long before I shall be able to hold my 'new baby'!
When I was researching the book and thinking about the plot, I very much wanted to make Lizzy's dream of visiting the Lakes come true and who better to share the experience than with her new husband Mr Darcy.
At this time the Cumbrian Lakes were beginning to grow in popularity as a holiday destination. The area became the retreat for painters and poets with Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey living and writing in the area. Wordsworth was inspired to pen his most famous daffodil poem in 1802 when he and his sister Dorothy were wandering along Ullswater.
Dorothy wrote in her journal:
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road.

I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever dancing ever changing.

This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway. We rested again and again. The Bays were stormy, and we heard the waves at different distances and in the middle of the water like the sea.
                           

Lake Windermere, or Winandermere as it was known then was not the very busy tourist destination it is today. Prints of the time show it to be a very unspoiled area. Ann Radcliffe made a journey in 1794 to the Lake District and wrote: Windermere is distinguished from all the other Lakes by its superior length and breadth, by the gentle hills, cultivated and enclosed nearly to their summits, that generally bind its shores, by the gradual distance and fine disposition of the northern mountains, by the bold sweeps of its numerous bays, by the villas that speckle and rich plantations that wind them, and by one large island, surrounded by many islets which adds dignity to its bosom. On the other lakes the islands are prettinesses, that do not accord with the character of the scene; they break also the surface of the water where vast continuity is required; and the mind cannot endure to descend suddenly from the gigantic sublimity of nature to her fairy sports. Having said all that, however, she goes on to say that she found the area a little tame for her taste - it was the fashion to be in awe of the sublimity of nature, and the Lake District presented many opportunities for those 'romantics' who wished to be struck by the terror and beauty of all they observed in the stunning scenery.
I thought Elizabeth Darcy would love the Lake District, though perhaps be able to appreciate it with a more tempered and pragmatic eye, but nevertheless enjoy the reactions of certain individuals who wished to be 'overcome' by the dramatic landscapes, and given to painting or writing poetry.
I don't want to give too much of the plot away, but just as she and Darcy, along with Georgiana, Jane and Bingley, are enjoying themselves in the peaceful Lakeside Bellingham Hall, they receive news that a party from London who are tired with the  Season and have become enamoured of a certain new painter/poet are following in his wake, and about to descend. I wonder if you can guess who any of these characters might be?
While everyone else is occupied with following their artistic pursuits, Georgiana finds her own romantic nature in more ways than one, but I shan't say any more! I really enjoyed writing this section of the book, and I hope you will be amused by it!

7 comments:

Sue Wilkes said...

Congratulations on your forthcoming book, Jane! Well done!
I love Dorothy Wordsworth's journals - she should be given more credit for the inspiration she gave to her brother and S T Coleridge!

Renate said...

Congrats on getting your book published! I like writing historical stories so perhaps I should give that a try, too. Is it difficult to get something like that published? Either way, it inspires me to keep trying.

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you, Sue - I agree, Dorothy should definitely be given more credit!

Thank you Renate. Why not have a go? Everybody has to start somewhere, and if I can do it, so can you!

Alexa Adams said...

One of the many places on my list of must visit destinations!
I'm sure your book will only increase my longing to be there. So looking forward to reading it!

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you, Alexa - I know you would love the Lake District - it is beautiful. I hope you enjoy my book!

suzan said...

Your pictures, descriptions and extracts are so amazing. I love your novels and illustrations but these pics are so very lovely. I would love to go there and visit.

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you, Suzan for your lovely comments which are very much appreciated. I hope you get to go one day, it is a beautiful place.