Meanwhile, this has been an eventful week for me. As well as having several guest appearances on blogs as wonderful and diverse as Books Like Breathing, The Burton Review, Bloody Bad Books, Austenprose, The Long and Short of It, and Love Romance Passion, I've had a couple of new reviews.
In her review on Bloody Bad, Katrina picked up on an added dimension of Robert Darcy: his position as an American on British soil during the war, and his reliance on Caroline for the nuances of English polite society. Her conclusion: "just what I needed on a rainy Saturday night."
Marie Burton provides a detailed review of the plot and cast of characters which focuses on some of the twists and turns of the novel, and brings out some of its Regency aspects. She characterizes Robert Darcy "as a sexy, steamy kind of guy" and concludes that the novel is "rollicking fun."
The highlight of a wonderful week was a dinner with my publisher, founder of Sourcebooks, Dominique Raccah. The dinner was held at an exclusive former gentlemen's club, The Reform Club, in Pall Mall, just off St James's, which will be of particular interest to the history buffs among you (well worth googling).
As I entered, I felt transported back in time. Established in 1836, with the current building completed in 1841, it was not Regency, but it was grounded in a history not too far away from it, and certainly captured the sense of power and privlege these gentlemen had. Membership was exclusive to those who supported the Great Reform Act of 1832. This was where some of the biggest reforms of the Industrial Era were discussed and eventually implemented. History was made here. Some famous names that trod those halls were J. M. Barrie, E. M. Forster, Henry James, Lord Palmerston, William Makepeace Thackeray, and H. G. Wells. I was on hallowed ground.
My bubble has since been burst by a friend of mine, who reminded me that the gentlemen in clubs like these were precisely the same type who turned Virginia Woolf away when she walked on the grass in "Oxbridge":
"I found myself walking with extreme rapidity across a grass plot. Instantly a man’s figure rose to intercept me. Nor did I at first understand that the gesticulations of a curious-looking object, in a cutaway coat and evening shirt, were aimed at me. His face expressed horror and indignation. Instinct rather than reason came to my help; he was a beadle, I was a woman. This was the turf; there was the path. Only the fellows and scholars are allowed here; the gravel is the place for me. Such thoughts were the work of a moment. As I regained the path, the arms of the beadle sank, his face assumed its usual repose, and though turf is better walking than gravel, no very great harm was done." Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own.
The Reform Club, despite its reformist tendencies, did not allow women to become members until 1981, and it was the first gentlemen's club to do so.
Alas, (though not surprisingly), I was prevented from taking photos of the amazing interior by a very polite young man who worked there, though no one objected when I took pictures of us in the shining dark mahogany bookroom (very appropriate for us writers), where we had our dinner.
Pride and Prejudice: Question 11
Was Elizabeth Bennet in love with Mr Darcy?