🎄 🎅🏻 Happy #Blogmas #Day16
Pride And Prejudice And Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz modernizes Jane Austen’s classic Pride And Prejudice. She turns the characters on their heads by switching the roles: Fitzwilliam Darcy, the male protagonist in the original novel becomes Darcy Fitzwilliam, the female heroine in the new novel, while the female lead in the original, Elizabeth Bennet, has become the male hero, Luke Bennett.
Darcy Fitzwilliam is twenty-nine and extremely career oriented. In the first half of the book she is not very likeable with a self-centered streak that appears snobby and selfish. She has not been home in eight years avoiding the pressure by her family to settle down and get married. But this changes after Darcy gets a call telling her that her mother has taken ill. She immediately flies back to Pemberley, Ohio to see to her mother and spend the holiday season with her family. At her parents Christmas Party she and Luke Bennet share a heated drunken kiss under the Mistletoe. In the next few days, they constantly spar to hide the true affection that grows between them. Darcy might remind readers of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol because she is rich and self absorbed, disdainful of others not like her. But it is Luke who covertly shows her how to be humble, and that there is more to life than her profession, leaving her to wonder if she could have a chance at love. This is definitely a modern day fairy tale.
Elise Cooper: Why this modern-day twist on Austen’s Pride & Prejudice?
Melissa De La Cruz: I have always been a fan of Pride & Prejudice. I found it sad that the original female lead, Lizzie, did not have many options. If the male Darcy did not marry her she would have been a spinster or had to marry the boring Mr. Collins. At that time a woman was very dependent on a man’s affections. As a girl growing up in the 20th Century I found it shocking and decided to turn Lizzie into a strong female character with the world at her feet. I found it very intriguing to switch the roles.
EC: What were some of the changes you made?
MC: The person with limited options in my story is Luke, the male lead, and a hometown boy. He is satisfied with his life unlike Lizzie in the original story. He is the one with the embarrassing family whose brothers are juvenile delinquents. It was fun for me to change the Bingley character, my Darcy’s good friend, and make him gay.
EC: There is a lot about wealth and success. Please explain.
MC: This is part of our American DNA, to become successful. Everyone who is honest realizes they want to be rich. This is why I put in the quote, ‘It’s not a sin or crime to be driven and aim for success, nor is it a crime to achieve that success.’ I definitely want to convey that Darcy is someone who is comfortable with her wealth, ambition, and profession.
EC: But it is also a book about family values?
MC: She is grateful for the love of her family and close friends. Darcy gives everything up for her career and has an empty life. People have to balance their professional and personal life. I read an article where children who came from affluent homes were at risk for neglect, just like poorer children. It is necessary to find a balance between career and those in your family.
EC: What is the role of Christmas?
MC: I wanted to show that during Christmas most everyone takes a little time off to spend time with friends and family.
EC: Describe the relationship between Luke and Darcy.
MC: I put in this quote, ‘On paper, you are totally wrong for me-you have no ambition and we don’t have anything in common-and yet, and yet I find I love you.’ I like the stories where opposites attract. There is something said about someone’s heart and soul. Darcy has this feeling she cannot put on an excel sheet.
EC: Can you explain the father/daughter relationship?
MC: He wanted her to stay near home. He saw her intelligence, and never wanted to control her. She wanted his approval, but rebelled against it. It was a classic miscommunication where both misunderstood each other.
EC: What do you want readers to get out of the story?
MC: Don’t let your pride get in the way and you should always get over yourself. Darcy built all these walls around her to convince herself that she did not need anyone. She eventually saw she made mistakes and did want to reckon it. It showed real life is not perfect.
EC: Next project?
MC: On December 2nd the Hallmark Channel will air Christmas In Angel Falls. It is about a fallen angel who falls in love and wins back her halo during the Christmas season. Rachel Boston (Witches of East End) will star and Bradley Walsh will direct the film.