Monica Fairview is an ex-literature professor who abandoned teaching criticism about long gone authors who can't defend themselves in order to write novels of her own. Monica can be described as a wanderer, opening her eyes to life in London and travelling ever since. She spent many years in the USA before coming back full circle to London, thus proving that the world is undeniably round.
I’m delighted to be here visiting the RNA blog to celebrate the release of my latest Jane Austen-inspired novel – Steampunk Darcy.
How do I describe Steampunk Darcy? I’d love to say (as they often advise you to do in cover letters: compare your book to something familiar) that Steampunk Darcy is Monty Python meets Jane Austen, but Monty Python is so much funnier than I am, it isn’t a joke.
There is just the teeniest weeniest hint of truth in it, though, in that there is an element of the burlesque in Steampunk Darcy. Not so much on the parody side, because the novel is really a tribute to Jane Austen rather than a parody, but in the sense that, like the burlesque, it’s rooted in the Victorian period. Perhaps a good word for it might be a Victorian Extravaganza. Steampunk Darcy is a romantic retro-Victorian extravaganza about a descendent of Fitzwilliam Darcy who happens to encounter a woman who challenges him (as Lizzy does Darcy) as no other woman did. Seraphene is not a doormat, and she isn’t going to put up with his arrogant assumptions. Darcy, being a Darcy and a powerful Boss, is not going to let her get away with being cheeky.
But what would Jane Austen have thought about taking her sacred Mr Darcy and turning him into a Steampunk Darcy, into a Victorian Extravaganza? Wouldn’t she have been appalled?
My answer is: Not at all. Have you read Jane Austen’s “The History of England”” as written “by a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant Historian”? It’s parody at its best, an experience in rewriting the past to suit her purposes, while at the same time making fun of historians and the way history portrays its heroes. I will slyly insert here that her book is actually an alternative history (which is often how Steampunk is described). Since I adore Austen’s early work, I can’t resist posting a short excerpt.
Henry the 6th
I CANNOT say much for this Monarch's Sense -- Nor would I if I could, for he was a Lancastrian. I suppose you know all about the Wars between him and & The Duke of York, who was of the right side; If you do not, you had better read some other History, for I shall not be very diffuse in this, meaning by it only to vent my Spleen against, & shew my hatred to all those people whose parties or principles do not suit with mine, and not to give information.... There were several Battles between the Yorkists & Lancastrians, in which the former (as they ought) usually conquered.
If you think of Jane Austen as the austere, saintly maiden aunt that her Victorian nephew tried to make her out to be (Victorian, again), then that Jane Austen would be horrified. She would be as prudish as Miss Jenkyns in Cranford.
But if we’re talking about the fifteen year old uninhibited young girl (who has been described as “boisterous” and “anarchic”) who wrote “The History of England”, then she might well enjoy the burlesque aspects of Steampunk Darcy. She might appreciate that Steampunk Darcy is an alternative history, a 21st century novel about a retro-Victorian Darcy descendent who idealizes Fitzwilliam Darcy as his model of a gentleman.
She might even approve of the romance. [gasp!]
Or does he? Seraphene wasn’t born yesterday. She can smell a rat, particularly when it stinks all the way up to her airship. She knows Darcy is hiding something. But with the Authorities after her and her other options dwindling by the moment, the temptation of genuine English tea and a gorgeous Steampunk gentleman are very difficult to resist.
But what if Darcy’s mystery job courts nothing but trouble? What if Darcy is harbouring a secret to kill for? When kiss comes to shove, will Darcy’s secret destroy Seraphene, or will it be her salvation?
Join us on a romantic adventure like no other in this whimsical Pride and Prejudice-inspired tribute, featuring Darcy (of course) Wickham, dirigibles, swash-buckling pirates and a heroine with fine eyes and an attitude.
Previous novels include: An Improper Suitor, The Other Mr Darcy and The Darcy Cousins (both published by Sourcebooks)
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