Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter by Rose Fairbanks + Giveaway!!

*Claps hands* Oh! I am just so excited to announce today's guest author! She is a talented woman who has a passion for Darcy and all things Pride and Prejudice. She loves research, and reading. I have had the fortune of becoming friends with this wonderful woman! Please allow me to introduce to you the lovely Rose Fairbanks and her debut novel, The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter

Hey Jakki and her faithful readers!

It’s so great to be here! Hold on a minute...I need another glass of sweet tea. Why? Because I only average about 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Why? Because I’m horribly, ridiculously obsessed with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

I mean Pride and Prejudice.

No, it’s the five million plot bunnies and research holes I go down.

Improving my mind by reading. Yes, reading. Long before I was a writer, I was a reader, and I would stay up all hours of the night to read “just one more” chapter. That usually ended up meaning finishing the entire book and being up until 2 am...or later. I still do that some nights, but now I also stay up late to work on my own stories, or encourage a friend.

Hang on...gotta feed a kid. Aaannnd, now I need to sweep and mop.

Ok, then. I think I can give you my undivided attention. Possibly.

Actually, I’m probably up late because I can’t start until it’s late.

Well, it’s now three hours after when I first started this post and I can finally return to you.

So anyway, I’ve always loved to read, and I’ve been a Pride and Prejudice fan since I was seventeen. Apparently I lived under a rock because I did not know about fan fiction until about a year and a half ago. Don’t ask me why, but somehow a little over a year ago I got the crazy idea to post my stories on the forums I found. I could even compare to the amazing writers I’ve read! But then something really crazy happened; people liked me!

Actually, I can’t take the credit at all because most of the time I feel like the character just possesses my body and writes the words. Really, I might put that up as a disclaimer in my next story.

Maybe, for this post though, I can gather my wits enough to combine my love for Darcy, P&P, research, plot bunnies, and reading to entertain and shock you.

I think Darcy was a feminist.

It started out as a snarky joke with a friend. Darcy’s sex life is intensely debated. It’s rather incredible, I had never thought about it at all until I started reading JAFF. And then it was in pretty much the first conversation in the very first fanfic book I read. It was between Darcy and Elizabeth on their wedding night. Now it seems I can only go a few days without hearing another opinion on the matter.

Well, I said to my friend: “I just think even in the Regency era there could be intelligent, well-read men that could have respect for women and realized the hypocrisy of men getting to do whatever with whoever while society told women they needed to wait for marriage. I know! I’ll write Darcy as a feminist in my next story!”

I really didn’t think anything was going to come of it, but I started to do some research, just to see if I could pull it off. In the story I’m currently writing, there was a book Darcy had left in the library at Rosings, and Elizabeth found it at some point and was reading it. I just left the title blank, so I thought of maybe using the Declaration of Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft. Then I stumbled across the Blue Stockings Society and Hester Chapone, in particular.

If you’ve read enough JAFF, you’ve surely come across someone insulting someone (usually Elizabeth) and calling her a bluestocking. In fact, even my annotated version brings it up during the accomplishments debate at Netherfield.

The Blue Stockings Society fell out of fashion at the end of the nineteenth century, most of the hostesses were aging quite a bit, but during their height, they were very educated women but still witty and clever. They were not boring intellectuals. Their salons did have a different order than others of the era: they did not focus on cards, drinking and flirtation. What they did promote was discussion on art and literature and promoting female writers.

One member and writer was Hester Chapone. She wrote a series of letters, turned conduct book, called Letters on the Improvement of the Mind. Even a simple Wikipedia search will tell you this:
Chapone's work, in particular, appealed to Wollstonecraft at this time and influenced her composition of Thoughts because it argued "for a sustained programme of study for women" and was based on the idea that Christianity should be "the chief instructor of our rational faculties".[7] Moreover, it emphasized that women should be considered rational beings and not left to wallow in sensualism.[8] When Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, she drew on both Chapone and Macaulay's works.[9] Another admirer, and also a personal friend, was the novelist and diarist Frances Burney.
Burney, we know, influenced Austen. This is a far cry from the sort of education other conduct book writers, like Dr. Fordyce, suggested for women. Wollstonecraft would go even further and say that men and women should be held to the same moral plane and can receive the same education.

So, let us consider these ideas of early feminism with Darcy and other characters we see in Pride and Prejudice.

I’m sure we all know the part in P&P when Darcy says this:
"All this she must possess," added Darcy, "and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading."

And of course, the continuing conversation:
"I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any."
"Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?"
"I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united."

I would say that Elizabeth is not putting her sex down here. She is arguing that any woman capable of mastering so much would surely have enough rational thought to know it was unnecessary and to instead focus on a few things she enjoys. Georgiana Darcy is very music. At Pemberley she had some intelligible watercolors, and Miss Bingley mentions Georgiana has plans for a painted table. But there is nothing about her knowing languages, dancing or drawing and we know from the visit to Pemberley she is too shy to have great skill at her address etc. Yet, she is to come out any time now, her education must be complete. Darcy has allowed her to study the things which appealed to her.

The next evening, Darcy and Elizabeth have an intense debate about character, and Caroline cannot keep up. The following evening, the card table is not brought out again, because Darcy does not wish it, and Caroline insists on reading- the second volume of Darcy’s work- and asks him all about it. When that does not work, she complains about a ball and would rather have “rational conversation.” She is attempting to garner Darcy’s attention, but I believe he sees through her, as she entirely misapplies the idea of rational conversation. Soon, she reverts to sensuality “in the desperation of her feelings.” That is sensibility and not rational at all!

While Darcy acknowledges he finds Elizabeth attractive, he also shows Caroline again he knows what she is about...if only Caroline ever understood his tactics!

Darcy’s next conversation is about failures in a character. The feminists would argue that husbands and wives that are true companions can teach one another greater character. They both must be virtuous and upstanding. Darcy quickly realizes Elizabeth is mentally his real equal and knows the danger of paying her too much attention. This time he doesn’t even mention her bad connections.

Darcy’s proposal, which to Elizabeth sounded thoroughly insulting, might have been a real expression of his value of her. Elizabeth does not have rank, money, connections or even accomplishments. She can only bring herself to the marriage, and that is what Darcy wants more than anything else the world can offer him.

In a way, he is the one who appears to be acting on all sensibility. He tried to rationally think about it over and over again, the reasons why he should not marry Elizabeth, but the answer is: he loves her and no one else. Surely someone else in London could be kind and clever...but they’re not her. No matter how much you try to explain love, you just can’t.

After her refusal, he accepted her words...and eventually her reproofs. Consider Mr. Collins who could not fathom any lady rejecting him or able to make a sensible argument as to why.

At the second proposal, Darcy is finally able to show Elizabeth how much he values and respects her. He believes her understanding superior to his own.

"We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame annexed to that evening," said Elizabeth. "The conduct of neither, if strictly examined, will be irreproachable; but since then, we have both, I hope, improved in civility."
"I cannot be so easily reconciled to myself. The recollection of what I then said, of my conduct, my manners, my expressions during the whole of it, is now, and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: 'had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.' Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me;—though it was some time, I confess, before I was reasonable enough to allow their justice."

Elizabeth, who did not have as great an education as many of her sex, he credits as being superior to himself in understanding. This cannot be a new idea to him, that women can be as equally rational as men. No, no, it was there all along. What disgusts Darcy about many he sees is their behaviour, which is learned. Mrs. Bennet and all of the Bennet girls had just as much ability to learn proper decorum as Elizabeth, but they made a personal choice not to. We see that clearly illustrated with the men: Darcy and Wickham had the same education and chose different paths. Darcy does not view all women as innocent nor does he see them all as insipid. He treats them as equals and will judge them on their merits and character. By definitions of his era, although the word had not yet been coined, Darcy was a feminist.

And now, gentle readers, I believe I have satisfied my quota for the evening. It is after midnight, and I have indeed stayed up improving my mind once again. Thanks for reading my, hopefully not-too-shocking, opinion on Darcy as a feminist, and I do hope you will check out The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter.

Thanks again, Jakki, for hosting me!

It was truly my pleasure, Rose! I was excited to get my hands on a copy of The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter, now I am even more eager to. You have quite piqued my curiosity to see how you portray Mr. F. Darcy! 


Book Blurb:
When Fitzwilliam Darcy visits Hyde Park with his sister, he expects nothing more than a quiet walk on a fine day.  Instead, he meets a young woman who challenges his ideas and pulls his sister out of her melancholy.  He soon realizes Elizabeth Bennet is the only woman in the world with whom he could spend the rest of his life.

Elizabeth, clever and self-assured, refuses to change for the sake of gaining a husband, a prospect she finds impossible regardless. With wit and independence rather than fortune, she is entirely convinced no sensible man would have her, and she cannot respect a fool. Can Darcy prove to be this impossible man? Or is a figure from his past an insurmountable obstacle to a future with The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter?


Rose Fairbanks is kindly giving away one (1) paperback copy (USA ONLY) of The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter to one lucky commenter! To enter, simply leave a comment with your email address or Twitter handle!
You may tweet the giveaway daily for extra entries! 
Giveaway ends August 7, 2014!!
Best of luck!! =)


About the author:
Rose Fairbanks fell in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy 11 years ago.  Coincidentally, or perhaps not, she also met her real life Mr. Darcy 11 years ago.  They had their series of missteps, just like Elizabeth and Darcy, but are now teaching the admiring multitude what happiness in marriage really looks like and have been blessed with two children, a 3 year old son and a one year old daughter. 
Previously rereading her favorite Austen novels several times a year, Rose discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction due to pregnancy-induced insomnia. Several months later she began writing. The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter is her first published work.

Rose has a degree in history and hopes to one day finish her PhD in Modern Europe and will focus on the Regency Era in Great Britain.  For now, she gets to satiate her love of research, Pride and Prejudice, reading and writing....and the only thing she has to sacrifice is sleep! She proudly admits to her Darcy obsession, addictions to reading, chocolate and sweet tea, is always in the mood for a good debate and dearly loves to laugh.

Connect with Rose Fairbanks
Read It Now!


  1. Rose, I love that you think in this manner, reach a conclusion that you boldly share with others, and have the basis for backing it up. Wonderful! Please do not enter me as I have both the ebook and a print copy waiting for me when I get back to the US. Best of wishes for your release.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed my thoughts and have enjoyed TGID! Thanks so much!

    2. Thanks for stopping by, Joy! Yes, I agree. I am so glad that Rose shared her opinion on Mr. Darcy. I can totally see this. Make sense to me, and makes me like him all the more! ;)

  2. What a great post, Rose! Thanks for these insightful thoughts. Your book sounds well worth reading and I trust you are working on something longer. You clearly have the imagination for it and a good perspective on Elizabeth and Darcy!

    1. Thanks! I do have a full length piece that is written, you can read the first draft of it on my blog for free. It needs editing before I publish. I'm currently working on several other stories at the moment and will have another story that's about 60,000 words that I will begin posting in the next week or two.

    2. Hi Liz! So nice of you to pop in. :) Like you, I am excited to read a copy of The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter. If you want to enter the giveaway for the paperback copy, please leave a comment with your email address or Twitter handle. Thanks! Best of luck!! =)

  3. Rose, best of fortune with the launch of your debut novel!!! It sounds like one I will enjoy very much.

    I have long held a similar opinion of Darcy, though perhaps not to quite the degree or level of awareness your propose nor used the term "feminist" (LOL). In fact in the book I'm working on now, part of his growth (the 'lesson' he learns to be worthy of a future with Elizabeth) centers on this -- realizing only after he falls for Lizzy that he has always naturally wanted 'something more' than what the women he'd met to date had to offer. I've portrayed his relationship with his sister as occasionally quizzing her in the classics, or discussing art with her, or asking her opinions on things... 'educating' her beyond the basics, but not realizing til later that he was shaping her to be the kind of woman he might also look for himself, going beyond dancing and comportment and fair looks. So your novel sounds right up my alley, and I have put it on my TBR list for the future when I can (I am not able to read other Austen-based fiction while I'm writing my own, it distracts me too much.)

    You certainly sounds like you're juggling a busy life, but I'm glad you've made room for writing within it - again, good fortune to you with this!

    1. The actual research I've done on feminists of the era and my conclusion that Darcy did not just value an educated woman but would have been considered a feminist is in regards to a new story I am working on. But The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter has those elements. They openly debate several times and before they even speak with each other Darcy overhears her opinion on things and believes her understanding superior to his own, he even says so to Caroline. So, I've always believed Darcy had those elements of his character, I just didn't realize the extent of it being such a unique quality about him until I began research. I am planning to do a series of blog posts on feminism in P&P. I wish I could do JA across the board I just don't read her other novels very often and I still have so much more writing and reading I want to do, so I can't just give myself up to blog posts.

      In this new story I'm working on, I will have Darcy more boldly declaring his opinion on women's issues to Elizabeth and I might even have a female ancestor of his as a member of the Blue Stocking Circle.

      I hope you get a chance to try TGID and I'll be looking forward to your next work as well!

    2. Both stories, Tess's and Rose's new one, sound great! I love it when Darcy is bold and declares his opinions on women's issues, challenges Elizabeth, wants more from his sister, and such. Best of luck to both of you lovely ladies on your next story!! =)
      Thanks for stopping by, Tess! It's always a pleasure having you. :)

  4. I Love the title of your book and the premise sounds great as well. Elizabeth has always been the woman I wanted to be. Smart., witty and playful but with that quite intelligence that Darcy clearly sees in her eyes. I can't wait to read your book.

    1. Thanks! I hope you enjoy it! Good luck in the drawing!

    2. Hi Sagan! Thanks for commenting and entering the giveaway! I wish you luck with it! :) Maybe your winning streak will continue! ;)

  5. I have trouble sleeping so I don't get as much sleep as I want. It's easier to read if you get enough sleep (then your brain works better). I read a lot last night because I'm trying to finish my book by the end of the month. I try to finish at least three books a month.

    1. You're right! It is easier to read if you get more sleep, and yet, when I'm in the middle of an excellent read or on the research hunt or in the middle of writing a scene I just can't quite remember that logic! This is a short novella, so it shouldn't keep you up too late, though. :) Best of luck in the drawing!

    2. Ah, sleep! I think that is a thing that many voracious readers and writers lack much of. I know when I am reading a great novel, I don't want to put it down and my sleep suffers. Not a bad vice to have though, right? ;)
      Best of luck in the giveaway, Michelle! :)

  6. Oh this sounds really good! I like your viewpoint and I agree!

    And I always love the little digs at obtuse Caroline. :)

    1. Thanks! This new understanding of Darcy works well with my thoughts on Caroline as well. I don't think she was horribly evil, but she was rather horrible. I know a few people that think she wasn't so bad, or think that Darcy was actually great friends with her before Elizabeth, but I disagree. Besides his rude insult to Elizabeth we don't have any full context of his conversations with Caroline where he seems to be hatefully agreeing with her on the horribleness of Meryton. I've always thought he was trying to just quietly put her in her place, it's not really his position to rebuke her anymore than it's his position to rebuke his aunt or the Bennets and he bears with it all as best he can. It really shows that his manners are not that terrible but a lot of people are asking 20th/21st century standards of him by giving Caroline an outright set-down. She does finally push him too far but I don't think we should think that means until that moment he was tacitly agreeing with her or that she was his ideal woman before Elizabeth.

      Ok, enough on her! Good luck on the giveaway! I hope you're able to try TGID!

    2. Me too, Monica! Ha! I get a pretty little evil grin on my face when Caro is on the receiving end of little digs and outside of inside jokes. *hehe*
      Good luck in the giveaway, m'dear! :)

  7. This sounds like such a fascinating book. I like envisioning Darcy as a 'feminist" a man ahead of his time who respects women, especially one. I have the ebook on my TBR, but am putting it next in line (I am reading 3 other books at the moment), but am anxious to read this particular book. I am looking forward to this viewpoint. skamper25 (at) mail (dot) com

    1. Thanks! As I said above, my viewpoint of Darcy as a feminist will be more blatant in an upcoming story, but it's there in this one as well. So much is made of sexual attraction in JAFF, but I think the thing that really got Darcy was Lizzy's mind. If anything, the sexual attraction got in the way. He could argue to himself that it was just attraction, perhaps even lust, and that would be a terrible thing to base a marriage of unequal fortune and rank on. And that was a legitimate concern. I wouldn't want to be treated as less than my husband's equal just because I didn't come from the same background as him. So being his equal, or even his superior, in understanding was key. The best thing of all about P&P is that while he was seeing the best in her character she was actually exposing the worst in herself. Likewise, post-Hunsford as Elizabeth learns the best in Darcy he's convinced of the worst in himself. And that's what really makes a good marriage. Being able to improve your character, all the while you're accepted by your partner even with your flaws.

      Best wishes with the giveaway! I hope you enjoy The Gentleman's Impertinent Daughter!

    2. Wow, 3 books at one time, Deborah Ann. I don't know how people can do that. I am a 1 book at a time gal. It seems that if I try to read more than one at a time, the more interesting one takes more importance than the other, and I am reading only 1 and then go back to the other book when I finish the "better" one.
      Best of luck in the giveaway! =)

    3. That does tend to happen, Jakki, but more often the mood I am in determines the book I will continue. And. Rose you care bright about each one's interpretation of themselves vs. how the other sees them at the same time. I think that is one of the things I like so much. Darcy could never be happy with a trophy wife, he needed an intellectual equal or more.

  8. Rose, I always like hearing your thoughts on Darcy and Caroline and Elizabeth and Jane and... I also hold this view of Darcy in my mind, though I doubt I could put it into words as eloquently as you have in this post. Well done!

    Do not enter me into the draw. I just wished to give you my congratulations.

    Keep writing! I'll keep reading.

    1. Thanks Eileen! Well, you know me! I have lots of opinions! :D Somehow I think that makes me sound like Lady Catherine...

  9. Rose, congratulations on your debut! That’s a great cover, and I love the title.

    I used to only read one book at a time, and I still do if they’re the same ‘type’, but now I’ll have a couple going at once: Austen-related, fantasy, non-fiction, plays, etc.

    I liked hearing about your research!

    1. Thanks! My graphic designer, Peculiar World Designs, did an awesome job! There were a lot of e-mails as we worked to get it just right. The background is a painting of Hyde Park in Autumn from the 1870s. I suppose if someone looked closely enough they could criticize the carriages as not being Regency era appropriate. **rolls eyes**. The people are images from various fashion magazines and Sarah was awesome as we worked on flipping them around, changing the color of their clothes, a few of them even needed their skin color adjusted as they were whiter than white! Another friend came up with the title because the one I had was more of a topic sentence than a title. I love it!

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  11. I'm not eligible for the giveaway but I wanted to comment because I found this such an interesting piece. I agree that Darcy is unusual in wanting something more, he wants somebody who he can respect and doesn't need the ego boost of a wife who doesn't have the capability to judge his mind. He isn't threatened by an intelligent woman and in fact really appreciates that quality in Lizzy, even though he knows she will challenge his behaviour. This is just one of the things I love about Mr Darcy, there are lots more! All the very best with your book, Rose, I look forward to reading it :)

    1. Thanks, Ceri! Be sure to check out some of the other giveaways I'm hosting.

      I should add my own Mr. Darcy is quite the feminist as well. :)

  12. a 'MUST-ADD' to my WishList!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!

    cyn209 at juno dot com

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  14. Tweeted!