This next stop on the blog tour is at Half Agony, Half Hope, where Darcy and Elizabeth talk about music, their new friends the St. Ives, and the devil himself! There’s also a review of the book, so don’t miss it!
Today I am happy to welcome onto the blog Riana Everly and her new book Through a Different Lens which tells of a Darcy with a touch of Asperger’s.
Book Blurb: A tale of second glances and second chances.
Elizabeth Bennet has disliked the aloof and arrogant Mr. Darcy since he insulted her at a village dance several months before. But an unexpected conversation and a startling turn of phrase suddenly causes her to reassess everything she thought she knew about the infuriating and humourless gentleman.
Elizabeth knows something of people who think differently. Her young cousin in London has always been different from his siblings and peers, and Lizzy sees something of this boy’s unusual traits in the stern gentleman from Derbyshire whose presence has plagued her for so long. She approaches him in friendship and the two begin a tentative association. But is Lizzy’s new understanding of Mr. Darcy accurate? Or was she right the first time? And will the unwelcome appearance of a nemesis from the past destroy any hopes they might have of happiness?
Warning: This variation of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice depicts our hero as having a neurological difference. If you need your hero to be perfect, this might not be the book for you. But if you like adorable children, annoying birds, and wonderful dogs, and are open to a character who struggles to make his way in a world he does not quite comprehend, with a heroine who can see the man behind his challenges, and who celebrates his strengths while supporting his weaknesses, then read on! You, too, can learn what wonders can be found when we see the familiar through a different lens.
My Review: When I first heard about this book I was intrigued and it went onto my TBR list. I was ecstatic when I was contacted by the author to be a part of the blog tour. This book hit home for me because my own brother has Asperger’s and while he shares some traits with the Darcy in this story he is a little worse than our hero.
That being said I did love this story. It was unique while keeping mostly to the original storyline. I really enjoyed the new characters and I really loved whenever Richard showed up. The only thing I didn’t like about this story was the length, I would have enjoyed it being longer. This was a fast and satisfying read and I’m excited to read the author’s other books.
Rating: 4½ stars out of 5
A Note about Music
I’m delighted to be here at Half Agony, Half Hope as part of the blog tour for the release of my new novel, Through a Different Lens. Thank you for hosting me today.
In this story, I explore how things might progress if Mr. Darcy had Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of “high-functioning” autism, and if Elizabeth had some insight into his unique mind. While there are, of course, a great many challenges faced every day by people on the autism spectrum, many people with Asperger’s also have considerable strengths. Some have remarkable memories; some have keenly analytical minds or have an intuitive understanding of machinery. Some are writers or artists, and some are gifted musicians. Mr. Darcy has such a talent; he understands music where he doesn’t always understand people.
In the novel, during a stressful evening entertainment at Rosings, Darcy makes the acquaintance of a local gentleman who shares his interest in music, and the two strike up a friendship. They arrange for a musical evening where they might play through some music this new friend has acquired, with Darcy on the piano and St. Ives on violin.
This particular music Mr St. Ives possesses is by a relatively young Italian composer named Niccolo Paganini (1782-1840). Paganini was a gifted composer, but enjoyed most of his fame–or infamy–as a violin virtuoso. His proficiency at the violin was so profound that rumours swirled that he had sold his soul to the devil in exchange for such phenomenal talent. Paganini’s extravagant lifestyle, tall and thin appearance, and propensity to dress in black did little to dispel the stories, which he probably enjoyed for adding to his notoriety and appeal.
Although Paganini wrote only a handful of pieces for violin and piano, he wrote several for violin and guitar, another instrument at which he excelled. A set of sonatas, called the “Lucca” sonatas, were written between 1805 and 1809, and Mr St. Ives’ musical associate could well have come across the music while travelling in Italy. It was also very common at the time for people to make arrangements of existing pieces for different instruments, to suit the available musicians. Many composers wrote music with alternate instruments in mind, and there are several arrangements of Beethoven’s symphonies for two pianos. I envisioned Darcy and St. Ives playing an arrangement of the “Lucca” sonatas with the piano replacing the guitar.
Here is a link to one of these sonatas:
But if you listen to one thing, make it this video. Be sure to watch the screen right about the 3-minute mark. That tells you everything you need to know about this charismatic violinist!
Can you picture staid Mr. Darcy playing with someone like that? I’m not sure I can either!
Here’s an excerpt from Through a Different Lens where Darcy and Lizzy steal a moment away from the crush at the party to enjoy a quiet conversation on the balcony.
Elizabeth peered at him in the cool darkness. “How do you tolerate the noise and activity for as long as you do? You seemed comfortable at the beginning of the evening.”
“The sensation of being overwhelmed by the noise and lights and other sensations does not occur immediately. Rather, it grows imperceptibly, starting from nothing, changing into a minor and unimportant irritation, then gradually becoming more and more present until it is all I can feel. I am so accustomed to this descent that I enter every social situation with such a feeling of dread that I immediately barricade myself. Tonight, I had hoped to put to practise those skills we have been discussing, and indeed, I was easier than I have been in a very long time. But even so, the sensation of being crushed by the activity came upon me at last. I am a lost cause, it seems. I am sorry, Elizabeth.”
“Nay, do not be sorry! If you began the evening at ease, you have made great progress. And I believe I observed you enjoying some conversations. You seemed quite comfortable with Mr. St. Ives, and genuinely interested in his discussion. Do you share similar interests? Bridges, perhaps?” she joked.
Darcy laughed and shook his head. “I did not ask him about bridges, for I know my interest there is unusual. Rather, we discussed music. He is most knowledgeable and professes to play the violin rather well. I, too, have a deep interest in music, for it seems to express the thoughts and feelings that I understand so imperfectly at times. He has come upon some new compositions by a young Italian violinist named Niccolò Paganini. He is still unknown—St. Ives only heard of him from a musical friend who travels for his business—but his works are, apparently, quite fine, and fiendishly difficult. St. Ives and I may attempt them at some point during my stay here. Perhaps you would join us…. You and Richard, and Anne if she will come.”
“You play music?” This was the first Elizabeth had heard of any musical inclination on the part of her companion.
“My mother was a great lover of music. My sister plays very nicely, and I was forced to learn the pianoforte as a child. In truth, I was not forced, for I loved it, even if I did not practise as much as I should.” He looked solemnly at Elizabeth. “In that, we are equals.” Then his gaze softened and he repeated his question. “Will you join us?”
She smiled, recalling her conversation with the man’s wife. “I should be happy to, sir. I enjoyed meeting Mrs. St. Ives and should be delighted to continue that acquaintance. Tell me more, please, about the music you love the best.”
At this, Darcy grew animated, and cast off the last of the weight of the evening’s tortures. He expounded upon his thoughts concerning Mozart’s symphonies and operas, about Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and about new musical styles and compositions coming from parts of the continent. Not even Napoleon could stop the dissemination of music, and Beethoven, the great symphonist himself, had recalled the dedication of his third symphony when the tyrant proclaimed himself emperor. Elizabeth, a music lover as well, found herself enjoying the conversation and her present company very much.