* * *
Darcy vs. Thornton
Thanks for having me Ceri!
In 2013, I found Jane Austen Fan Fiction by way of the 2004 BBC North and South Miniseries. I saw it on Netflix, having never read the book, and Richard Armitage as Mr. John Thornton haunted my dreams. For the first time in almost a decade, Mr. Darcy was replaced in my mind. What I loved the most was that I could relate to working and rubbing shoulders with the poor so much more than being lord of the manor.
After seeking out Elizabeth Gaskell’s book, Barnes and Noble began recommending JAFF to me. I had known of it before and stayed away, but had recently been given a Nook and was enjoying reading Jane Austen in ebook format for the first time. The rest is history. I gobbled up every bit of JAFF I could find, both published and free and then began writing my own stories.
My academic background is history, and I’m currently a few credits short of a master’s degree. While writing Sufficient Encouragement, I got to a point where I just didn’t feel very connected to the story. Last summer, I recognized that I was missing the historical aspect that I loved writing in my other stories. I had planned to have Wickham leave Hertfordshire by having the Militia Regiment be taken to the North to deal with an insurgency against the factories.
Once I began researching the Luddites, as these rebels now are called, I was fascinated. Everything came to a head in the autumn of 1811. Historians recognize the French Revolutionary Wars/Napoleonic Wars as the dawning of the Modern Era. Napoleon implemented a method known as total warfare, meaning it included political and economic ramifications for the entire nation.
Rising debt from forming coalition after coalition while attempting to defeat Napoleon and restore aristocratic order to France stretched Great Britain to the financial max. Napoleon decreed that none of its “allies” should trade with Great Britain. America instituted an embargo, a cessation of trade, against Great Britain due to some of its survival tactics during the war. The King had been declared mad, the Prince of Wales made the Regent, and the political environment unstable. Inflation on everyday goods climbed to record highs. And instead of a tenant farmer being able to process his wool and weave it in his home as his father had done, factories working large looms — far too big to fit in a cottage should a tenant even be able to afford one — were manufacturing the same product faster and at a lower cost. All the while harvests suffered.
The average Northern farmer felt desperation creep in from every corner. Many resorted to forceful means of breaking into the factories and damaging the machinery. They claimed to follow a General – or even a King! – named Ned Ludd. Factory owners fought back hiring guards and securing local Militia; even regular army troops were sent. In February 1812, “frame breaking” became a capital offense.
The following quotes from North and South illustrate the problems that arose in this early time as men went from cottage weavers to factory owners overnight.
Raw, crude materials came together; men of the same level, as regarded education and station, took suddenly the different positions of masters and men, owing to the mother wit, as regarded opportunities and probabilities, which distinguished some, and made them far-seeing as to what great future lay concealed in that rude model of Sir Richard Arkwright’s.
‘I only name such things to show what almost unlimited power the manufacturers had about the beginning of this century. The men were rendered dizzy by it. Because a man was successful in his ventures, there was no reason that in all other things his mind should be well-balanced. On the contrary, his sense of justice, and his simplicity, were often utterly smothered under the glut of wealth that came down upon him; and they tell strange tales of the wild extravagance of living indulged in on gala days by those early cotton lords. There can be no doubt, too, of the tyranny they exercised over their work people.
I soon realized I had to address this historical event in more detail and so Bingley comes from a wealthy manufacturing family. Darcy is his silent partner. One of their mills comes under attack, just as Darcy and Elizabeth seem to have everything settled and Wickham’s Regiment is tangled up in it all.
Different characters feel it best to address the issue in a variety of ways. Some are supremely optimistic, some ignore it, some encourage it, some desire to assist the poor, some just want to keep the peace. I also use the conflict to highlight matters in the primary plot line for Elizabeth and Darcy such as the desire for independence, equality and acceptance.
Of course, Bingley and Darcy aren’t harsh task masters, but they are victims of a movement reacting against others who are. Darcy, like Mr. Thornton, considers the plight of those he previously thought beyond his scope of interest because of experiences with a strong-minded female. And like Mr. Thornton, this Mr. Darcy displays his honor, compassion, integrity, and drive while addressing the concerns of the financially insecure.
If you’ve ever struggled with deciding if you loved Mr. Darcy or Mr. Thornton more, then Mr. Darcy of Sufficient Encouragement is the perfect answer! I finally feel like I don’t have to choose!
If you’re interested in more details about the Luddites, check out my blog post on Austen Authors.
We are all fools in love…
Some say a lady’s imagination is very rapid. Such is the case when Elizabeth Bennet overhears that Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy admires her eyes. She thinks nothing for herself, but immediately considers her dearest sister’s growing attachment to Mr. Darcy’s friend. If Elizabeth spurns such a wealthy—and proud—gentleman, he might do everything in his power to separate his friend from her sister.
Raised in a world of expectations and pedigree, Darcy knows Elizabeth Bennet can offer him nothing of material value. As his attraction for her grows, he becomes increasingly convinced his feelings are nonsensical. Still, he might forsake it all if only he had true encouragement.
Misunderstandings lead to betrayals and the couple soon learns falling in love takes courage but staying in love requires forgiveness. Traversing from the groves of Hertfordshire to the drawing rooms of London to the complexity and danger of Luddite revolts in Yorkshire, Sufficient Encouragement follows Darcy and Elizabeth’s journey of love and forgiveness.
*This story contains a scene of nonexplicit sexual violence.
About the When Love Blooms Series
“Love is like a flower, for it is well worth the toil to cultivate it.” She shrugged her shoulders,
“Love is beautiful.”
Take a stroll in the garden of love and enjoy the unique blooms of the intersecting lives of the Bennet, Darcy, Fitzwilliam, de Bourgh and Bingley families. Sufficient Encouragement follows Darcy and Elizabeth as they fight to save their love from an unexpected frost while Jane and Bingley’s love grows strong roots. The companion story, Renewed Hope, adds depth to the bouquet with the love stories of Darcy’s cousins and Miss Bingley. The third book in the series, Extraordinary Devotion, follows Darcy and Elizabeth’s marriage while their younger sisters experience a London Season.
About the Author
Rose Fairbanks hears book characters talk in her head. They whisper to her of a time when the sun never set on the British Empire. More than having a love story for the ages, these characters face struggles inspired by historical events such as market crashes, Napoleon, embargoes, Luddites, the Year Without a Summer and more. Merging historical research with the timelessness of Jane Austen, Rose currently has ten Pride and Prejudice variations published with several releases planned for 2016 as well as an original Regency Romance series in the works.
Rose proudly admits her Darcy obsession and addictions to reading, chocolate, and sweet tea. Always in the mood for a healthy debate, she also dearly loves to laugh. Having completed a BA in history in 2008, she plans to complete her master’s studies...someday. At the moment, having a career combining her life-long interest in history and research with her love for Jane Austen and the Regency Era consumes all of her professional time. When not writing or reading, Rose runs after her two young children, ignores housework, and profusely thanks her husband for doing all the dishes and laundry.
Sufficient Encouragement Blog Tour Schedule
16 April: Excerpt & Giveaway at Stories from the Past
17 April: Excerpt at My Jane Austen Book Club
18 April: Excerpt & Review at The Ardent Reader
19 April: Excerpt & Giveaway at Diary of an Eccentric
20 April: Interview & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
21 April: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
22 April: Guest Post at Babblings of a Bookworm
25 April: Review at Just Jane 1813
26 April: Guest Post at More Agreeably Engaged
28 April: Guest Post & Review at From Pemberley to Milton
29 April: Guest post at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice