Guest Blogger ~ Darcie Wilde


            I am a Jane Austen fangirl.  

            I admit, I was not always.  But then, like a whole lot of people I saw the 1995 Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, and I was gone.  Lost.   Yourcallisveryimportanttouspleaseleaveamessage.  Gone.

            Since then, I have read Pride & Prejudice multiple times, along with the other Jane Austen novels.  I’ve also read a lot of Austen’s contemporaries, who were between them busy inventing the modern novel and several literary genres, including Romance and Historical Fiction.  A lot of these books are really bad, but some of them a absolutely fascinating, if you’re a history nerd, which I also am.

            For all I credit Austen and her novels as one of the inspirations for the Useful Woman mysteries, I’d never really leaned into the plots and characters of what has become the most famous of her books.

            But, as we all know,  it is a truth, universally acknowledged that the writer of a series set in England in 1820 must be in want of a plot.  And sooner or later, that writer needs to look to the Great Jane.

            But in 2021, was there another version, or vision, left to write?  Pride & Prejudice has been adapted for every genre, and every character seems to already have their book.

            So, what was I going to do?

            Step One: reread the original.  If you haven’t read Pride & Prejudice, I recommend it.  It’s easy to follow and accessible.  Even better, it’s funny.  It’s sharp.  It’s suspenseful and engaging, even after two hundred years and countless adaptations. 

            Step Two: Get mad at Mr. Bennet.  Mr. Bennet is our Heroine’s father.  This is the guy who failed to save any money for dowries, or do much of anything else, like insist the girls get educated, so they could manage for themselves, or contact his relatives to help them get started in society so they actually had a chance of making decent marriages.  

            Step Three: Develop a sympathy for the three younger Bennet sisters.  These are Mary, Kitty and tragic Lydia.  Realize it must have been hard to be a younger Bennet.  Mom’s a hypochondriac.  Dad’s emotionally unavailable.  You’re constantly being compared to your two oldest sisters, and you know you’re never going to measure up because you’re not that pretty and not that witty and you’ve got no money.  So what are you going to do?

            Step Four:  Hear those oh-so-dangerous words in the back of your head What if…

            What if we had a similar situation, where a ne’re-do-well insinuates himself into a family, and tries to seduce one of the sisters?  What if the sister isn’t just a silly little thing with no idea of what she’s getting into?  What if she’s got a plan?  What if she sees this rogue as rout to getting some money of her own and away from her smothering family and perfect older sister? And what if she had help from a sister…?

            What if this situation landed in my sleuth Rosalind’s lap just before the London social season of 1820?

Darcie Wilde is the bestselling, award-winning, multi-genre author of the Useful Woman mysteries.  Her latest title The Secret of the Lost Pearls is an Editor’s Pick on Amazon and a “Must Read” book for 2022 from USA Today.

This captivating Regency-era mystery inspired by the novels of Jane Austen is perfect for fans of Andrea Penrose, Lauren Willig, and Deanna Raybourn, as readers venture beyond the glittering ballrooms and elegant parties of Regency London to the dark side of the city and its unexpected dangers.

Rosalind Thorne may not have a grand fortune of her own, but she possesses virtues almost as prized by the haut ton: discretion, and a web of connections that enable her to discover just about anything about anyone. Known as a “most useful woman,” Rosalind helps society ladies in need—for a modest fee, of course—and her client roster is steadily increasing.
Mrs. Gerald Douglas, née Bethany Hodgeson, presents Rosalind with a particularly delicate predicament. A valuable pearl necklace has gone missing, and Bethany’s husband believes the thief is Nora, Bethany’s disgraced sister. Nora made a scandalous elopement at age sixteen and returned three years later, telling the family that her husband was dead.
But as Rosalind begins her investigations, under cover of helping the daughters of the house prepare for their first London season, she realizes that the family harbors even more secrets than scandals. The intrigue swirling around the Douglases includes fraud, forgery, blackmail, and soon, murder. And it will fall to Rosalind, aided by charming Bow Street officer Adam Harkness, to untangle the shocking truth and discover who is a thief—and who is a killer.

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Darcie Wilde is the bestselling, award-winning, multi-genre author of the Useful Woman mysteries.  Her latest title The Secret of the Lost Pearls is an Editor’s Pick on Amazon and a “Must Read” book for 2022 from USA Today.

One thought on “Guest Blogger ~ Darcie Wilde

  1. What a fascinating article, Darcie. Having read Pride and Prejudice, I asked myself a lot of the questions posed by you. I often am taken aback by how bound by social chains women were, especially the upper classes. Maybe poor women were just as chained in other ways, but it always came back to economics. I never asked myself questions about the younger sisters. Definitely worth thinking about, especially if you want to write a similar story. Thanks and Happy New Year!


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