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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mistaking Her Character & the Art of the Adaptation

So, I read Mistaking Her Character for Austen in August this year, and it made me think about lots of things, which I wanted to talk to YOU about!
Let me know your thoughts on adaptation and retellings, and what you look for, in the comments!

More Austen In August posts with Maria!

Mistaking Her Character 
by Maria Grace
Published May 28th 2015 by White Soup Pres, 380 pages
Lady Catherine de Bourgh is prepared to be very generous when it comes to medical care for her sickly daughter, Anne – generous enough to lure noted physician Dr. Thomas Bennet to give up his London practice and move his family to Rosings Park. But his good income comes with a price: complete dependence on his demanding patroness’s every whim.

Now the Bennet family is trapped, reliant on Lady Catherine for their survival. Their patroness controls every aspect of the Bennet household, from the shelves in the closet to the selection of suitors for the five Bennet daughters. Now she has chosen a husband for headstrong Elizabeth Bennet– Mr. George Wickham.

But Lady Catherine’s nephew, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is not so sure about his aunt’s choice. He is fascinated by the compassionate Elizabeth who seems to effortlessly understand everyone around her, including him. Lady Catherine has other plans for Darcy, though, and she forbids Elizabeth to even speak to him.

As Anne’s health takes a turn for the worse, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together as Dr. Bennet struggles to save Anne’s life. Darcy can no longer deny the truth – he is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. But Lady Catherine will do anything to stop Darcy from marrying her – even if it means Elizabeth will lose everything she loves.

Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful.

She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six cats, seven Regency-era fiction projects and notes for eight more writing projects in progress. To round out the list, she cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only cooks twice a month.


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  1. Now that you have me pondering this 'nature' vs. 'nurture' in retellings/variations...haha. I have been thinking back about my impressions of the years of reading retellings. When I first read them, I had this feeling like I was engaging in something taboo. I was scandalized at the 'wild changes', but yet, entranced. I wouldn't have put them down for anything. Then I read a few that were huge leaps (or so I thought at the time), but later I saw these stories as something of a line up of dominoes in their 'what-if' premises (e.g. if this was changed or this characters' personality was changed, then other changes would have to tumble right behind it). The way you describe this one feels the same except she set a lot of domino rows in motion. It's something you can't get in the typical story that isn't a retelling so in that it makes the retelling and variations unique. I love pondering how each what-if/variation works on a story and its characters and will definitely read oh so many more including this one.

    1. Oh and I love that you tackled this subject. Fun post!

    2. " a line up of dominoes" Yes! That's it exactly, and that's my favorite thing about retellings. I love "if this, then this" scenarios. =D

  2. I definitely agree that most retellings of P&P can be divided into either minor what-ifs which then change the way characters act or their circumstances, OR major upheavals - what you called Alternate Universes where everything is very different and we see how our beloved characters act in such surroundings. I enjoy both types, though I think that few authors have enough skill to insightfully tackle all the issues that come with the second category and I often find myself dissatisfied with the portrayal or actions of a character (or perhaps I'm the one lacking in insight! ;) ) Maria Grace intrigues me very much - I love all her stories as a matter of fact, and it was a great pleasure to read them - If Only I Had Learnt being not yet published and perhaps my favorite. Your detailed analysis of the topic was fun to listen - thank you!

    1. Very much agreed! It's always more of a risk to pick up a "major upheaval" retelling, because you're right, many authors do not have either the skill or the foresight to draw things out to a conclusion that is both logical for the plot and satisfying as a retelling. But I love it when I find one! =)

  3. I enjoy retellings so very much as well as variations. Major upheavels like this book are fun. I loved reading this book and the alterations in some of the characters. Please do not enter me as I already have the book.

  4. I enjoy retellings so very much as well as variations. Major upheavels like this book are fun. I loved reading this book and the alterations in some of the characters. Please do not enter me as I already have the book.

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