* * *
Hello everyone! Thank you, Ceri, for hosting me. I was here at Babblings of a Bookworm two years ago with my first release, Dearest Friends, and am so happy to be back for the sequel. In my previous visit, I shared a deleted scene that showed the Fitzwilliam family at their improper, drunken finest as they mortified Darcy in front of Elizabeth. They are a wild bunch, those Fitzwilliams, so why is it that the very proper and dutiful Mary feels closer and more comfortable with them than with her own sisters? Below, we see just one of the instances where Mary contemplates her family and her role within it.
“So much for a joyous celebration,” Richard, who sat in a corner with Anne and Mary, looked on the spectacle with irritation. “Can Lydia not be happy for five minutes without that woman making it all about her? Forgive me, Mary, but I do not understand why your mother is so determined to bring misery with her wherever she goes.”
Mary sighed. “It is true. Mama can only express emotion in excesses. Either she has never been happier or the world is coming to an end, with the latter occurring most often. I will say, though, that when she was travelling more, she was more tempered. She has been with Jane for a while now, and in that time, she has become more like the woman I knew in Hertfordshire.”
“Perhaps there is some foul, evil thing in the air there that makes people behave abominably. Or perhaps she and Jane just bring out the worst in each other.”
Mary took a sip of tea and nodded. “I think you might be right, Anne. I asked Mama how she kept busy at Netherfield, and she said that she and Jane mostly sit and talk about the neighbors. I am not surprised Mama would do so, but Jane was the victim of such malicious gossip. You would think she would be more circumspect.”
Anne shrugged. “Perhaps you should say something to her.”
“I did,” Mary said flatly. “She merely rolled her eyes and said, ‘We are not all meant to be saints, Mary.’ Of course we are. What is the point of this life if it is not to learn and grow in goodness?”
Richard laughed. “You must always remind us of that, Mary. You are our only hope for salvation.”
His dry, teasing tone pulled at her, and though she smiled, her mind wandered somewhere else momentarily. She looked around at all the faces assembled before her. This was the first time in many years that her entire family was gathered together in the same place. In spite of all the time passed and changes they all had been through, old hurts always surfaced when she was with them. In truth, Mary never felt lonelier than when she was with her family.
Of course, she realized part of that was her own fault. She had played the role so well that her mother and sisters still saw her as the self-righteous, sermonizing girl she had been at Longbourn, at least in some ways. Seeing past the pieces known of each other in childhood is difficult, especially when adulthood is spent so far apart. In some way, in one another’s eyes, Lydia would always be a flirt, Kitty a follower, Jane a thoughtless beauty, and Lizzy a sarcastic wit. Those small prejudices were ingrained and, in Mary’s case, kept them all at a distance, and this she did not mind. Past injuries were easier to forgive without reminders, and she feared that no matter how much time passed, seeing them all together would always remind her of a childhood spent on the outside.
Not wanting to become mired in melancholy thoughts, she returned her attention to the conversation with the Fitzwilliams, hoping they would not mention the name that would send those melancholy thoughts into gloom.
I have to admit that I love Mary, and she became one of my favorite characters during this process. She never felt like she belonged with the Bennets and, like so many of us, created her own family from those she felt bonded to, not by blood, but by acceptance. So, tell me your experience. Do you have a particular friend or group that has become your family? Comment below for your chance to win an ebook copy of Family Portraits. Thanks again, Ceri, for welcoming me back to your wonderful blog. Happy reading, everyone!
* * *
In Dearest Friends, Pamela Lynne drew complex and interesting characters who joined Darcy and Elizabeth on their road to happily ever after. But, what happened after ‘the end’? Did Lydia survive her time at Rosings? Did Jane find fulfillment as Mrs. Bingley? Did Mary and Sebastian adhere to duty or allow their hearts to lead them? Follow the Fitzwilliams, Bennets, Gardiners and Darcys through portraits of their lives at two, five and ten years after the Darcys’ marriage. Their canvas is studded with heartbreaking loss, new beginnings and, through it all, the indelible bond of family.
Buy Links for Family Portraits:
Connect with Pamela Lynne:
Thank you so much for that excerpt, Pamela! So much in this excerpt rings true, I think people often keep their perceived role in the family long after things change. Sometimes this can be a nice, comfortable thing, but other times people can feel themselves to be pigeonholed in a way they wouldn't like. Poor Mary!
Author Pamela Lynne is kindly offering to give away an e-book copy of 'Family Portraits' to a commenter on this post. To enter, just leave your answer to Pamela's question, whether you've found family outside your actual family, or if you prefer, leave a comment on the excerpt. Please include a way for me to contact you in case you are the lucky winner. This giveaway is open to international commenters, who leave a comment before the end of the day on Monday 26 September 2016.