Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Win a Book! Definitely Not Mr. Darcy - Karen Doornebos



The Author of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy, Karen Doornebos, is my lovely guest today and she 
raises the Question: Is There An American Equivalent to the English Mr. Darcy?

 Comment below and share on Facebook or twitter for a chance to win a signed copy, two teabags, and two coasters that ask the rhetorical question, “Coffee? Tea? Or Mr. Darcy?”

Jane, thank you for hosting me here as I celebrate the launch of my debut novel, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. I’m thrilled to be here, in virtual England with you!

Let me introduce myself as an American author that has been, since childhood, enamored of all things English, all the way from Winnie the Pooh and Alice in Wonderland to the latest incarnation of Dr. Who (or more accurately Downton Abbey). No surprise then, that I traveled to England to live and work, after graduating in (what else?) English Literature. That was some twenty years ago, yet the obsession (along with many others, I assure you) continues.

I’m not alone. Here in America there are thousands of members of the Jane Austen Society of North America, and plenty of card-carrying Jane Austen fans that partake of festivals, Jane Austen teas held at libraries, and consumers a-plenty to buy “I Love Mr. Darcy” mugs, t-shirts and tote bags galore.  

I have often wondered that Americans have fabulous, hunky film stars like George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, or Johnny Depp, but do we have a literary hero that comes close to Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy?

Hmmmm. Perhaps Rhett Butler of Gone With the Wind…but does Rhett or Jay Gatsby hold a tallow candle to Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy? I’m curious to know what the readers out there think, because frankly my dear, I’d choose Mr. Darcy in a heartbeat.

Thank you, Jane Austen, for providing us with him! Captain Wentworth, Colonel Brandon, and Mr. Tilney do come close to rivaling your Mr. Darcy, but not quite.

There is of course, Mr. Rochester, but wait a minute, he’s English too! And he doesn’t intentionally change for his heroine, as Mr. Darcy changes his behavior because of, and with a remote hope over winning over, Elizabeth. And, so, in one fell swoop, Mr. Rochester is bested by our Mr. Darcy.

I do blame some of the Mr. Darcy obsession on the fact that Pride and Prejudice has been, for decades now, on required school reading lists across the nation. At very impressionable ages, American girls are introduced to the natural charms of Mr. Darcy. He becomes, essentially, our first literary love. And the fact that he’s so wealthy just feeds into our Cinderella-marries-the-Prince fantasy that we Americans are spoon-fed from birth!

It’s no coincidence then, that my heroine in Definitely Not Mr. Darcy fell for Darcy at an early age. She owns the entire collection of “I Love Mr. Darcy, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Tilney” etc. coffee mugs, too.

I had a lot of fun with my American heroine, Chloe Parker, who really is more Austen-obsessed than I, and feels as if she were born two centuries too late. Chloe joins what she thinks is a documentary set in Jane Austen’s England…but soon discovers that she’s up to her stays in a reality dating show…competing to snare the “Mr. Darcy” of the show. The only problem is she can’t get two other men on the set off her mind!

Yes, there are three potential heroes in Definitely Not Mr. Darcy. But is one of them a real Mr. Darcy? I leave that for you to decide!

I enjoyed having a 21st-century American navigate (or not navigate!) the social intricacies of upper-crust 1812 English society. I also enjoyed the wish-fulfillment aspect of bringing my heroine’s fantasy to life—will her beloved Jane Austen’s England be everything she’d hoped? As the back of the book says:

This is no ordinary Regency romance. It’s reality.

Chloe Parker was born two centuries too late. A thirty-nine-yea-old divorced mother, she runs her own antique letterpress business, is a lifelong member of the Jane Austen Society, and gushes over everything Regency. But her business is failing, threatening her daughter’s future. What’s a lady to do?

Why, audition for Jane Austen-inpsired TV show set in England, of course.

What Chloe thinks is a documentary turns out to be a reality dating show set in 1812. Eight women are competing to snare Mr. Wrightman, the heir to a gorgeous estate—and a one-hundred-thousand-dollar prize. So Chloe tosses her bonnet into the ring, hoping to transform from stressed-out Midwestern mom to genteel American heiress and win the money. With no cell phones, indoor plumbing, or deodorant to be found, she must tighten her corset and flash some ankle to beat out women younger, more cutthroat, and less clumsy than herself. But the witty and dashing Mr. Wrightman proves to be a prize worth winning even if it means the gloves are off…

 You can learn more about Definitely Not Mr. Darcy at Karen's website become a fan of mine on Facebook or follow me on twitter @karendoornebos.

But in the meantime, I do have to ask:

Is there an American literary equivalent to the English Mr. Darcy? Leave a comment for your chance to win! Increase your chances by sharing this post on Facebook or twitter!

Huge congratulations and thank you, Karen for joining us today. I've enjoyed hearing all about your book, as I'm sure my readers have too. Don't forget to leave a comment to win a copy of the book. The competition will run until October 10th and the winner's name drawn from a hat to be announced on October 11th 2011.


26 comments:

cyn209 said...

i can't wait to read your book!!! thank you for the giveaway!!!

good luck & many congrats!!!!!

cyn209(AT)juno(DOT)com

ps....sharing on FB!!!

Adalgisa SD said...

I truly enjoyed this blog entry. It made think how much I do love Mr Darcy. However, I am primordially a Captain Wentworth gal myself...I love him!!! Hehehe. Persuasion being my most favorite of all Jane's masterpieces. Now I truly have to say your question in regards of having a Mr Darcy counterpart in America actually had me thinking. I love how I cannot seem to find an equal to Mr Darcy anywhere out of the literature world... I was/am a bit amused. The thought of a very "popular" not very sophisticated enough for us "Janeites" per sé, but whose popularity has gather much momentum among teens, their moms and etc. That person is "Edward Cullen" or actor "Robert Pattinson" .... Please don't laugh as I did at 1st. This 109 yr old character-vampire has become sort of a romantic hero of modern America, as well as worldwide phenomenon.....the thing is as you have mentioned - as our Mr Darcy, Mr Tilney & my Captain Wentworth- He is English :)
Thanks for the article. To my dear friend & mentor Ms Jane O., thanks for another great piece. Love you!!!
Ciao from my bed in a grey, cloudy, foggy & very humid day in America :) God bless!!!!
Adalgisa

Karen Doornebos said...

Hello Cyn & Adalgisa--

Thanks for your comments! Adalgisa, I hadn't thought of Edward Cullen, but you're right, he has taken America by storm, and he was dreamt up by a writer mom in Utah! He has gained almost rock star status as a literary figure, but I'm not sure he has the staying power of Mr. Darcy or your Captain Wentworth (I adore him too). Another 200 years will tell! Very thoughtful comment, thanks!

Adalgisa SD said...

Karen thank you!!! I agree with you nobody can touch Mr Darcy....or my Captain Wentworth for that matter :) not in a million yrs. I truly wish you the best with your writings; I am sure you will have much success!!!

Jane Odiwe said...

Hello Adalgisa and cyn209 - thank you for your comments, and Karen, it's lovely to see you here!

Karen Doornebos said...

Hello Jane, thanks for hosting me! You have such wonderful company here!

Lúthien84 said...

American equivalent of Mr Darcy? I can't think of someone who can eclipse Darcy's popularity and fame for 200 years and counting. But like Adalgisa, I'm also a fan of Wentworth.

Posted on my FB wall

Nancy Kelley said...

An American Mr. Darcy? I'm afraid I'm not nearly as well read in American literature as I am British literature, largely due to Jane Austen and Mr. Darcy. However, I can tell you that my attempts to find a living, breathing, American Mr. Darcy have been wildly unsuccessful.

I would love to win a copy of this book to have and re-read!

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

This is one of those books I'm definitely looking forward to! :o)

Hmm...an American Darcy...I don't think it's Rhett though. Hmm...I'd say maybe Gilbert Blythe - but he's Canadian...the only American figure close to Darcy in MY opinion is Alamanzo Wilder, haha...

It's amazing, isn't it, that one country can have such a strong dominance in the hero department...

Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

Oh, and I shared the post on my blog's facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/AWordsWorthBlog/posts/166477736770824

Jane Odiwe said...

Luthien84, Nancy, and Rebecca, thanks so much for your comments! I'll add your names to the hat!

Karen Doornebos said...

Hello Everyone! @Luthien, I also have a soft spot for Wentworth--who doesn't adore a man who can write a good love letter? @ Nancy, keep the faith! Your Mr. Darcy is out there... @Rebecca, thanks for mentioning Alamonzo Wilder! Ha! Yes, he's on the list...

I love hearing everyone's comments on this one!

Monica Fairview said...

A great post, Karen and Jane. Enjoyed the idea of searching for an American Mr. Darcy. Of course, ahem, since I couldn't think of one myself I invented one in the Other Mr. Darcy.
Okay, okay, it's not the same thing, but they're blood relations, and Mr. Robert Darcy's American...
A real flesh and blood equivalent? We can all keep looking. Let me know if you find one.

mrsshukra said...

Congrats, Karen! Can't think of an American Mr. Darcy but I've always preferred Mr. Knightly from Emma!

mrsshukra said...

http://twitter.com/#!/mrsshukra/status/118755472672165888

Karen Doornebos said...

Hello Monica! Hilarious post! And, mrsshukra, I like Mr. Knightley as well!

MarySimonsen said...

Hey Jane and Karen, stopping by to say "hello."

ReneeRearden said...

Karen (and Jane),

Great article. I discovered and fell in love with the fabulous Ms. Austen and her men in eighth grade. (I was strange child...read jaws in the fourth grade.)

Anyway, when I read your question about a current Mr. Darcy (no laughing) I thought of Anthony Hopkins. He has such an old world, gentlemanly air in almost every character he plays (homicidal, or otherwise)...and the accent clinches it! =D

I can't wait to read Definitely not Mr. Darcy. The premise sounds fantastic! Thank you so much for the giveaway.

Twitter link: http://twitter.com/#!/ReneeRearden/status/118797161084362752

ReneeRearden@yahoo.com

Jane Odiwe said...

Monica, I have a feeling that a true life Mr. Darcy could only ever be a figment of an author's imagination-I wonder who you had in mind when you invented your American version?

Mrsshukra, Mr. Knightley is also a very good choice!

Hello Mary, it's lovely to see you here!

Renee, I suppose Anthony Hopkins just about counts as he became a US citizen, but his roots are in Wales, which accounts for those dulcet tones!

Lieder Madchen said...

I don't think there is any American who comes close to Mr. Darcy. I have been thinking and thinking but nothing is coming to mind. I am going to have to cheat and say Calder from The Man Who Loved Pride and Prejudice. I thought he was a perfect American version of Darcy. :)

Thank you so much for the giveaway! I can't wait to read this book. :)

liedermadchen(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you, Lieder, for your comment! It is difficult isn't it? I must admit I liked the actor who played Darcy in Bride and Prejudice-not sure if he is American, must look him up.

Margay said...

I think the closest America can come to a Mr. Darcy is Rhett Butler from Gone With The Wind - though he is a much more flawed character than Mr. Darcy!

Margay1122ATaolDOTcom

Karen Doornebos said...

Hello Mary, and Renee, I don't think it was strange that you read "Jaws" in fourth grade! Lieder, I agree that Calder was a wonderful American Darcy! And Margay, yes, Rhett Butler--much more flawed than Mr. Darcy.

Thank you everyone, for your fabulous comments!

Jane Odiwe said...

Margay, I think you might have a good point there!

Renee, I meant to add I don't think you were strange either- you were clearly a highly intelligent little girl! And I love Anthony Hopkins-love him in Howard's End.

Lúthien84 said...

Karen, I must disagree with you about Wentworth writing good love letter. He writes a great love letter. :P

Jane, if I remember correctly about the Darcy actor from Bride and Prejudice, his name is Martin Henderson and from New Zealand.

Jane Odiwe said...

Luthien84 - I knew there was a reason he hadn't been mentioned before!