Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for another amazing collection of stories edited by Christina Boyd. After The Darcy Monologues, Yuletide, Dangerous to Knowand Rational Creatures she is introducing Elizabeth: Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, and how much do you like it already only with the tiny bit of information that I have given you?
Let me give you some more info:
“Obstinate, headstrong girl!” For over two hundred years, Elizabeth Bennet has enchanted and inspired readers by being that “obstinate, headstrong girl” willing to stand up to the arrogance and snobbery of her so-called betters. Described by Austen as having a “lively, playful disposition,” Elizabeth embodies the perfect imperfections of strong-willed women everywhere: she is spirited, witty, clever, and loyal.
In this romance anthology, ten Austenesque authors sketch Elizabeth’s character through a collection of re-imaginings, set in the Regency through contemporary times. In ELIZABETH: OBSTINATE, HEADSTRONG GIRL, she bares her most intimate thoughts, all the while offering biting social commentary about life’s absurdities. Elizabeth overcomes the obstacles of others’ opinions, not to mention her own flaws, to find a love truly worthy of her—her Mr. Darcy—all with humor and her sparkling charm.
“I think her as delightful a character as ever appeared in print…” wrote Jane Austen in a letter to her sister Cassandra, January 1813―and we think so too!
Foreword by NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare.
Stories by Amy D’Orazio, Jenetta James, Christina Morland, Beau North, Joana Starnes, Karen M Cox, Elizabeth Adams, Leigh Dreyer, J. Marie Croft, and Christina Boyd.
Yes, 10 stories!! and yes, Christina has written one of them and you will really like it 🙂
However, this post is not only for Elizabeth but for a great author that not only entertains me with her stories but she makes me learn about other decades of the 20th century too. Please welcome Beau North!
Beau North is an author and host of the podcasts Excessively Diverted: Modern Classics On-Screen and Let’s Get Weirding: A Dune Podcast as well as a staff writer for The Spool. You can connect with Beau via her website.
Why Elizabeth? by Beau North
Hello readers of My Vices & Weaknesses! Thanks for giving me space to talk about my contribution to this incredibly special project. When setting up this blog tour, editor Christina Boyd asked us to write about what inspired our stories and why we love Elizabeth Bennet. For myself, Elizabeth Bennet is a highly relatable protagonist. As a woman from a small country town that had to grow up with financial struggles, I identified with her more than most of the heroines I’d read. Her somewhat-cynical worldview leads her to make mistakes, but in true heroine fashion, she learns from them and grows as a person. And that’s someone worth rooting for, even 200 years later.
As for what inspired my story, “Love in Limelight”, I owe a great portion of it to my favorite podcast, The Secret History of Hollywood. In his “Bullets and Blood” series, host Adam Roche details the lives of the Warner family and the life of actor James Cagney. The Warner family fled Cossack-occupied Poland and would revolutionize cinema with the invention of the talking picture. It was the story of Sam Warner and his wife—Ziegfeld Girl Lina Basquette—that really captured my heart, and the long struggle that Lina endures after Sam’s tragic demise.
In “Love in Limelight”, Georgiana Darcy (stage name Gigi Duvall) is a tender mix of of Lina Basquette and Shirley Temple, as both actresses found success at a young age but struggled to maintain a career as they got older.
In his follow-up series, “Shadows”, Roche explores the life of producer Val Lewton, who made some of the most beautiful early auteur suspense movies on a shoestring budget. Lewton’s aunt, the great Alla Nazimova, is a slight inspiration for my Eliza Bennet, who began her career on the stage and eventually moved into the world of pictures. Alla Nazimova was the original superstar…think Julia Roberts and Angelina Jolie rolled into one. And while my Eliza only has eyes for Darcy, Nazimova favored the fairer sex. She lived the last few decades of her life openly with her partner Glesca Marshall. There’s even a nod to this relationship in “Love in Limelight”.
I’ve always been fascinated with all of the behind-the-scenes goings on of the people who bring fiction and history to life on screen, whether it’s the producers, actors, even directors of photography have fascinating stories. But how to mix that all with Austen’s most beloved heroine and not lose sight of what makes readers love Elizabeth Bennet? It presented more of a challenge than I’d originally counted on. In the end, all of these characters are a mix of Austen’s characters and real players in Hollywood during the golden age of cinema. You’ll meet a Caroline who is also part Hedda Hopper, a Collins who enforces the Morality Code (also known as the Hays Code or sometimes the Breen Code), a Jane Bennet that is a luckier version of Jean Harlow, a Colonel Fitzwilliam with a dash of Tyrone Power, and as for Darcy…well, I really had to do my best, because there weren’t a lot of studio heads of that era who were really stand-up guys.
I’ll leave with you this and hope that you enjoy “Love in Limelight”:
“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” My eyes met his, saw that he was serious. A peal of laughter burst from my lips.
“Oh, surely not.”
His expression melted from hope to consternation, brows drawing down into one severe line.
“Are you…laughing at me?”
I shook my head. “Sir. You cannot think I would marry you. Not if you were the last man on earth, and I the last woman.”
His stride—athletic, purposeful—had him across the room and at my side in an instant. I put my hand against the silken folds of his cravat. His hands were warm manacles on my arms.
“Do you mean to tell me that you don’t love me? You’ve played me a fool?”
My mouth opened, breath catching somewhere behind my teeth. His chest rose and fell like the swelling of the ocean tide. I searched his eyes. Hurt, wounded eyes. I felt myself sliding into that gaze, swooning against my better judgement.
And then his lips met mine; warm, pliant, and completely still for approximately three seconds.
“Cut! That’s a wrap!”
What do you think about Beau’s excerpt? I really like it, it gives me goosebumps because even if they are acting within a story of a fiction story… it feels great to read it!
Would you like to buy the book? Why not checking on one of these among other places:
The #OmgItsOHG (Oh-my-gosh, it’s Obstinate Headstrong Girl) Blog Tour began February 18 with announcement and cover reveal at Austenesque Reviews, and we hope you will continue to join us and connect with each author about their “Elizabeth” story. We’ve included a Grand Prize package giveaway (a book of your choosing from each of the eleven author’s backlist) as well as additional giveaway: my Silly Austen-inspired blank note cards and coordinating coffee mug. Open worldwide, so be sure to participate. 1) Enter the Rafflecopter for the Grand Prize package of books, and 2) comment on the blog stops to be counted for the additional giveaway (you need not comment everywhere to be entered in that drawing but we hope you’ll have your share of the conversation.) Ends March 31.