Howdy, Delighted Readers!
We have author, Ginger Monette, visiting us today to talk about her latest release, Darcy’s Hope: At Donwell Abbey, through a Q&A she provided us.
Q: What inspired you to write Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey?
Matthew Crawley of Downton Abbey! The war dealt him a tragic blow that played an important role in the storyline of season 2. I was really fascinated at how wealthy English families offered their lavish homes as hospital facilities during WW1. I began to imagine Darcy with his own wartime tragedy, then mixed it with the characters and homes from Austen’s works and, voila, Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey was born.
Q: You’ve described Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey as a ‘stand-alone sequel’ to Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes. That sounds like a contradiction of terms. Can you explain?
A: Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey picks up moments after Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes ends. For those who have read Beauty from Ashes, the story will seem like a seamless continuation. For those that have not read book 1, book 2 can be enjoyed on its own, as the backstory from book 1 is woven into the content of Donwell Abbey as part of the dialog and internal thoughts of the characters. Some readers may experience minor confusions at the beginning, but soon the story moves into its own realm, making the specific backstory details somewhat inconsequential.
Q: Why did you break it up into two novels instead of just making it one continuous novel?
A: I chose to make them two novels because both books are complete stories on their own—with a definite beginning, middle, and end. And although Donwell Abbey can be read by itself, consensus among reviewers is that the overall experience is more enjoyable if Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes is read first.
Q: That brings up another question. Some readers may be hesitant to read Beauty from Ashes due to its wartime setting. What would you say to those who “don’t do war stories?”
I would say it isn’t a war story : ) The Darcy’s Hope saga is very much a romance in a wartime setting. Just like Downton Abbey, the war provides a dramatic backdrop against which the romance unfolds. The war’s fast pace and ever-changing situations meant that nothing was predictable, and things could (and did) change in an instant. Readers have commented that they couldn’t predict where either story was going! And much of that is due to the volatile nature of the setting.
Q: Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes is primarily set on the Western Front of WW1. Can we expect the same in Donwell Abbey?
A: Although Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey opens with Darcy still in Belgium, the setting quickly shifts to England. Most of the story takes place at Hartfield and Donwell Abbey, homes from Austen’s novel Emma. And yes, the two homes are still in the Knightley family, and the descendants of George and Emma Knightley are important characters in this story.
Q: Did you face any particular challenges in writing Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey?
A: Yes! Writing to accommodate the tragedy that befalls Darcy was an enormous challenge. But if I tell you what the injury is and the accommodation it required, I would be giving away a major spoiler!
Q: I see your notable characters list contains several characters familiar to fans of Austen and Gaskell. Can you elaborate?
A: Elizabeth Gaskell’s John Thornton “saves the day,” and readers will catch a glimpse of his romance with Margaret Hale. And Austen’s Colonel Brandon and Marianne Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility make an appearance.
Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey also contains some original but “familiar” characters as well. Sarah Knightley is a spirited descendant of George and Emma Knightley, a couple from Austen’s novel Emma. Dr. Matthew Scott is a creation of my imagination who debuted in my first book Tree of Life. I liked him so much, I’ve given him a similar role in Donwell Abbey. And finally, readers are treated to matriarch extraordinaire, Mrs. Knightley, who is on par with none other than Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
Q: Why only glimpses of these budding romances?
Because I have plans for all of the couples to have their own Great War Romance! If you would like to be kept abreast of the progress of these dear couples, please join my low-volume newsletter family at GingerMonette.com. (And if you like period drama, Downton Abbey, and Jane Austen, join me on Facebook at Ginger Monette Author.)
Q: Anything else you would like readers to know about Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey?
A: Yes, three things:
- Rest assured the story focuses on Lizzy and Darcy and has a happily-ever-after ending.
- It’s a clean romance that will keep you guessing until the very end! But do know that tense moments can occasionally prompt mild language, and there are some references to war that might be too intense for sensitive readers.
- And finally, in April of 2017, America will commemorate its 100thanniversary of participation in WW1. If you’re like me, you learned almost nothing about this period of history in school. The Darcy’s Hope saga is an entertaining way to get a glimpse of what our great-grandfathers experienced, and will give readers some context as they will undoubtedly be hearing a lot about this pivotal event that ushered the world into the modern era as we know it.
I hope readers will give the Darcy’s Hope saga a try! I don’t think they’ll be disappointed : )
Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog!
Glad to have Ginger today talking up her book.
Darcy’s Hope at Donwell Abbey
- Amidst the chaos of WW1, Captain Fitzwilliam Darcy has won the heart of Elizabeth Bennet. Finally.
Then she disappears.
Still reeling from the loss, Darcy is struck by a battlefield tragedy that leaves him in a dark and silent world.
Sent to Donwell Abbey to recover, he’s coaxed back to life by an extraordinary nurse. A woman whose uncanny similarities to Elizabeth invite his admiration and entice his affections.
His heart tells him to hold on to Elizabeth. His head tells him to take a chance with his nurse.
But Donwell Abbey holds a secret that just might change everything.
Escape to the era of Downton Abbey in this enthralling stand-alone sequel* to Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes that includes appearances by John Thornton, Margaret Hale, Colonel Brandon, Marianne Dashwood, and descendants of George Knightley.
- *May be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, but readers may experience some minor confusions without the context of the mystery of Darcy’s Hope ~ Beauty from Ashes.
- Has a happy ending for Lizzy and Darcy.
- Romance is clean. Minor language and some recollections of graphic war scenes.
About the author
The teacher always learns the most. And in homeschooling her children, Ginger Monette learned all the history she missed in school. Now she’s hooked—on writing and World War I.
When not writing, Ginger enjoys dancing on the treadmill, watching period dramas, public speaking, and reading—a full-length novel every Sunday afternoon.
In 2015, her WW1 flash fiction piece, Flanders Field of Grey, won Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s “Picture This” grand prize.
Ginger lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she happily resides with her husband, three teenagers, and two loyal dogs.