Obstinate, Headstrong Girl

Elizabeth Bennet Darcy  1789-1855

This portrait of Lady Selina Meade was the inspiration behind the portrait of Elizabeth Darcy which is mentioned frequently in the book.  Elizabeth is married to Fitzwilliam Darcy and the mother of Fitz, James, Mabel and Francis; she is the six times great-grandmother of her namesake, Lizzy.

The character of Elizabeth Bennet is one of the most well-loved in English literature, how did you develop the character to fit within this new narrative.

We meet Elizabeth again six months after her marriage to Darcy, even though the verbal sparring is still there we can also see the development of a deepening affection between the newlyweds. As the narrative between Darcy and Elizabeth covers such a great span of time, we see the traumatic birth of their first child and the marriage of Georgiana, as well as having a catch up with some familiar characters; Elizabeth is tested with the strains and demands of being Mistress of Pemberley, and initially these cause tension in the marriage as she grows into the role of Mrs Darcy of Derbyshire. It was vital to still recall the spark and vibrancy of Jane Austen’s heroine whilst remembering  that this new character is not Elizabeth Bennet, but Elizabeth Darcy.

Are there any surprises in store for Elizabeth?

Pride and Prejudice is very much a fairytale ending for Elizabeth, but I was always interested in what happened after she moved to Pemberley. The Darcy’s marriage is very well-matched in certain aspects, but there will always be friction between Fitzwilliam and his impertinent wife! Becoming parents is possibly the largest challenge that they face as each Darcy child comes with their own unique set of tests and trials.

Pride and Prejudice plays a large part in the whole story, how did you incorporate this into Elizabeth’s story arc?

The whole premise of the story is that Pride and Prejudice was based on true events, and I have directly incorporated this into the narrative when Mabel, Elizabeth and Darcy’s only daughter, finds a copy of the book in the library and confronts her Mama about it. The scenes with Mabel and Elizabeth have been my favourites to write because they are so similar, even if she does have the Darcy temper!

How does Elizabeth fit in as Mistress of Pemberley?

I think she brings her own lightness to the role, but it does alter her over time. She does become a little bit more serious, more mindful of social protocols. Whilst Pemberley is a happy family home, the Darcy children are raised with a firmer hand than the Bennet girls, and Elizabeth understands the reasons for this, even if she doesn’t always agree.

So is it really happily ever after for the Darcys?

Yes, but they also have a real marriage complete with all the complications, arguments, and disagreements that come with it.

And the love, of course, all of the love.

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