Hola a todos 🙂
I hope everybody is taking care and being safe at home. Let’s enjoy a bit more reading now that we have to remain at home and luckily we may enjoy a bit more of free time.
I am happy to welcome again an author with whom I share mother tongue but, I presume, loves reading anything austenesque in English: Belén Paccagnella. Belén is doing an amazing blog tour with her latest book: When Duty Calls. Let me talk about the cover of this book before getting into the story… in the hypothetical case that you have landed on my blog but have not read anything at all about this novel, what do you think about the cover? Yes, it is simply beautiful: the colours, the contrast of light and dark but.. they are kissing! That couple at the front is kissing! OMG! This is the first thing that may shout at you as “this book is promising”.
I know that a lot of JAFF readers only like clean variations and I totally respect that. I actually like almost any variation and, on my top 10 of JAFF books you can find clean versions, they tend to be very sweet. However, let me show you the description of this book and then we keep talking 🙂
The Netherfield ball brings about many changes for the population of Meryton, and more so for the female residents of Longbourn. Mr. Bingley’s departure leaves the eldest, Jane Bennet, heartbroken whilst Mr. Collins’s proposal induces Miss Elizabeth to make a hasty escape. During her flight, she happens upon Mr. Darcy, a gentleman she despises. A moment of solitude in the woods leads to rather improper behavior, and the couple departs with the promise they will tell no one about their minor indiscretion. When their secret is finally uncovered, marriage becomes the only solution to saving Elizabeth from social disgrace. Her other grudges against Mr. Darcy are amplified by resentment and the prospect of spending her life with a man she can never respect. Nonetheless, the marriage takes place, forcing the young couple to deal with their pride and prejudices as husband and wife.
Originally posted online almost twenty years ago, this Regency tale of redemption narrates the struggles of two people, their differences, and their rocky start. But will they succeed in overcoming lies, misunderstandings, and their own errors to finally find love?
So… improper behaviour? Noooo, it cannot be and they are going to keep it secret? I do not know about you but this blurb has totally hooked me because even if I do like a kiss before being betrothed or something similar, although the word “improper” sounds so bad! However, it may not be bad or yes or maybe… I leave it there.
Who is Belén Paccagnella? Let me (re)introduce you to her:
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Belén Paccagnella discovered the world of Jane Austen fan fiction after watching the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. In her teens, she lived in Brazil when her family moved to the city of Curitiba due to her father’s work. She moved back to Buenos Aires a few years later, where she studied agronomy but finally pursued a different career and started working in the development and administration of shopping centers.
In 2001, she began writing both Regency and modern stories, adapting the Pride and Prejudice storyline to different backdrops, merging drama, humor, and adventure while creating characters with unique traits. Almost two decades later, she published Obstacles, a modern variation released in 2018 by Meryton Press.
Belén still lives in the suburbs of Buenos Aires where she shares her home with her pets while spending her time working, reading, and writing.
If you would like to follow Belén, you could do it here:
I do not know how you would feel knowing that Belén is not doing the character interview 😉 Who will interview Mrs Elizabeth Darcy? I hope you enjoy this interview, it is refreshing and gives a few things away…
I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy six years ago, when she came first to Derbyshire soon after her wedding to our dear neighbour, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Elizabeth is a most intriguing character and a truly generous lady when it comes to sharing her thoughts regarding her life as a married woman. Being a fictional character myself, vaguely mentioned once in this Pride and Prejudice variation, I decided I was the right person to conduct this character interview, thus satisfying the readers’ rapacity for spoilers and my own dream of becoming a social columnist. Since Elizabeth’s youth and background has been explored thoroughly in the original novel, I shall focus my questions in her impromptu marriage to the Master of Pemberley and how it affected her life. Thank you, Ana, for hosting my humble attempt at journalism in your blog, My Vices and Weaknesses. Never a name so consistent with my dreams and expectations!
Lady Eugenia Archer
LEA: Fanfiction writers have adapted your story to almost every backdrop and timeline that exists. Their imagination knows no limits when it comes to narrating your love story with Fitzwilliam Darcy. I have read about you in the past, the future, in almost every known culture known or invented by men, either here on Earth or in space. How do you feel about your life and most intimate feelings being exposed or altered for other people’s enjoyment?
ED: (laughs) Delighted! I truly enjoy being a literature icon. As long as I end the story married to my dear husband William, I don’t mind what obstacles these exceedingly creative writers throw in our way.
LEA: Even if they marry you to Colonel Fitzwilliam first?
ED: I would rather marry Richard than Mr. Collins, if you ask. I know there are a few of those out there. (shudders).
LEA: It is universally known that he proposed to you. (arches a knowing eyebrow)
ED: And it’s universally known that I refused him. Most emphatically!
LEA: Which leads us to this particular story, a forced marriage scenario. It starts with you running away from Mr. Collins after he proposes, and you happen upon Mr. Darcy in the woods. How do you feel about what happened between the two of you that day? Do you consider Darcy’s behaviour as faulty as yours?
ED: The blame is almost entirely his. I say almost because William insists that I have been flirting with him since the beginning of our acquaintance.
LEA: Were you?
ED: At least not consciously! Men can be clueless at times and interpret women’s attitude to their own convenience. But, in his defence, I can say I had always enjoyed teasing him, stirring the hornet’s nest, if you understand my meaning. And considering how much he fancied me at the time, in retrospective, that might have given him the wrong impression. William is a very passionate man, quite impulsive, and sometimes he fails in reigning back that passion, like it happened that day. If you don’t believe me, ask Lt. Wickham. It was William’s incapability to withhold his temper what made him attend his own wedding with a purple eye. Which, by the way, became a fashion statement. I have been told it matched the colour of my sister’s gown.
LEA: You’ll tell me about that later (smiles). We already know the author’s thoughts on forced marriage stories, since she shared them in Janet’s interview posted at More Agreeable Engaged. Would you like to tell me yours? How did you feel about being forced to marry a man you disliked so much?
ED: I was very angry. I could not imagine how we would manage to achieve a decent degree of happiness with my hatred for him and his family opposing the match. The anger dissipated a bit during the engagement, but when I learned what he did to my sister, I was truly despondent. The first weeks of our marriage we were both immersed in great sorrow. At the time I felt I would be miserable for the rest of my life. Fortunately, all that was reversed as we became better acquainted.
LEA: I noticed there was something amiss between the two of you when I first met you, the night you dined with us at Thornaby Hall. That was quite early in your marriage. Although I did not perceive any particular animosity, there was a distance between the two of you that was unusual for a newly wedded couple.
ED: We were just beginning to understand each other at the time. Although I was already in love with him, I had not made my feelings known to him yet. I was not certain about his sentiments either, so I was at loss of what to do. My thoughts at that time are reflected on the excerpt the author posted for the Valentine Special. Later that day, William, Georgiana and I happened upon Lord Archer on the streets of Lambton, and he invited us to dine at your home. That was a turning point for me. Although unintentionally, that day William said something that broke my heart. It made me realize how much my words had wounded him. From them on, I tried my best to show him that I truly cared for him. It took us some time to finally become a couple in every sense, but that was the starting point for my change of attitude. Now neither of us can understand life without the other.
LEA: Does your sister’s marriage to Lt. Wickham have to do with this delay?
ED: Indeed! The news of Lydia’s elopement reached me the day we shared our first kiss after our wedding. Well, perhaps it was not precisely the first one. We had shared a couple of kisses before that one, but those were merely stolen kisses that took the other by surprise. I don’t think they count as the first kiss. Then he left for London for a fortnight, and I began to have doubts about how Lydia’s reckless behaviour would affect our marriage. At some point I feared he might—
LEA: I must stop you here and say spoiler alert! Let us not give away too much of the plot, shall we? However, since this scene has already been posted online during the blog tour, at Savvy Verse & Wit, would you tell me the anecdote about Wickham’s blue eye? How did that happen?
ED: (laughs) I cannot tell you much about it, for I did not have the pleasure of witnessing it, and William did not share with me the details of why he punched Wickham on the face. All I can tell you is of my husband’s broken hand. Which, by the way, earned him a lecture from his boxing master. He’s quite a conscientious teacher and never fails to chastise his pupil when he does something wrong. You can read more about my husband’s fondness for pugilism on the 8th stop of this blog tour, at Austenesque Reviews.
LEA: One last question so the readers can learn more about you after the story ends. I heard the author decided not to include an epilogue for this published version of When Duty Calls, although I know there was one, originally. You are now reaching the end of your confinement. I imagine you must be exhausted, taking care of your husband and two children while assisting your sister Georgiana in the preparations for her wedding. How do you find the strength to do all that while keeping your fresh, beautiful countenance? What’s your secret? My feet were so swollen during my confinements that I could hardly put my shoes on!
ED: (laughs along) Long walks and a loving husband who rubs my feet every night! And, of course, a battalion of servants ready to satisfy my every whim. Being the mistress of Pemberley has many benefits, and wealth is just one of them (winks and rubs her belly).
What do you think? Have you enjoyed it? I have really liked Lady Eugenia Archer’s interview to Elizabeth. I think it helps having another character who has been there, even if briefly.
I cannot wait to read about Wickham’s blue eye and about how they got to be forced into a marriage and, most importantly, how love was born!
If you cannot wait either, you can but the book on different places, such as:
If you have liked or loved this character interview as much as I have, in case you have not done it before, check the rest of the entries on this tour, they are awesome! If you do not know where to start, go back to the character interview and check all the blogs mentioned 🙂 (you have all the entries on the links below)
Meryton Press is giving away 8 ebooks of When Duty Calls to eight fortunate winners.
Click on the link below and follow instructions. Good luck!