Monday, 28 January 2013

Darcy, Austen and Me

“If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged.”

That line gets me every time.

It’s 200 years to the day since Pride & Prejudice was published (is that all?) and it’s still being discovered for the first time by readers all over the world. I still regularly flick through the well-thumbed pages of my copy, or listen to the audio book to lull me to sleep. As familiar and reassuring to me as an old dog.

Looks just like my husband! ?!
I’m not ashamed to admit that I spent my teenage years devouring Jackie Collins novels on a beach, rather than Austen novels in a window seat. I mainly obsessed about Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Rob Lowe in St Elmo's Fire and Kiefer Sutherland in Lost Boys. Then I saw Laurence Olivier play Darcy in the 1940s film version and I was hooked. That was it, Darcy was the man for me.

There's just something about aloof, moody, melancholy men, isn’t there?  I'd assumed I've always been drawn to them, but on reflection (writing this post) I'm beginning to wonder how much reading Pride & Prejudice during my hormone-charged teenage years shaped my taste in men forever.

So over the last 20 years I’ve read and re-read P&P and Austen’s other novels, I even went through a phase of writing letters in an Austen-styley, thankfully that's over.

And then I went and married my very own Darcy - dark, brooding, mysterious - at least that’s how I see him (and he’s not keen on me saying that!). He’s a watered down version, with all the bits I like and none of the bits I don’t.

Anyway, I could never have married a Bingley; there isn’t enough room for two smiley, silly people in this relationship.

Happy Anniversary P&P. Sigh. *dreams of Colin Firth*