February 9, 2011


Today I have the honor of welcoming Karen Wasylowski, author of the Pride and Prejudice inspired historical fiction Darcy and Fitzwilliam, to Psychotic State Book Reviews. Welcome, Karen!

I asked her to share with us why she believes Lady Catherine de Bourgh has softened after 200 years.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh
by Karen Wasylowski

For some reason I have always liked Lady Catherine de Bourgh, although she is portrayed as an overbearing harpy in Pride and Prejudice movies and in the miniseries. Was that really the exact image Austen wished to convey? After all, this was two hundred years ago, times and attitudes have changed drastically since then. To examine Darcy’s aunt’s motives and actions you would have to consider it from a perspective alive then, not now.

The Darcys, the Fitzwilliams, the de Bourghs all lived in a time that firmly believed the aristocracy bred an inherently better sort of person, smarter, and more worthy. Even in the military positions of authority were purchased, officers were to come only from the upper classes, the lower classes deemed incapable of anything except drudge work. And while Lizzy was a gentleman’s daughter, elevating her above the working classes, it remained that she had no connections, no illustrious relatives - some were even in trade. Horrors! She possessed no proper instruction in finer ladies accomplishments! Can we blame Aunt Catherine for being incredulous at the merest idea of a match with Darcy when the man himself, who proclaimed to love her deeply, announced he did so in spite of her position? Bounder! If he had difficulty crossing the gap between their positions in society before a lot of soul searching, imagine a stranger, his crazy old aunt. She must have been floored.

She was protecting her family the best she knew how.

Love as a basis for marriage? We are talking about radical thinking in early nineteenth century life, or as it is more usually referred to - The Ideas Of The Young. And, as in all prior and post generations, the ideas of the young baffle the old. No, I find Lady Catherine appeals to me more and more as years go by and the older I become. I understand her now, much more than I did before, because fewer things make sense to me. Twitter? Good heavens but that’s very strange. Who wants to know what time you took out the garbage or how much your shoes cost? Lady Gaga and her meat dress? Justin Bieber? He looks like my neighbor’s grandson, the one that keeps hitting my car with his skateboard.

There are over fourteen million blogs (I hate that word) floating around with eighty thousand new each day. It is a mad house out there and it gives me the migraine. But that’s because it’s not my time anymore, it’s the time of the young. And that’s how it should be.

It’s what keeps the world fresh and new and always spinning.


A gentleman in love cannot survive without his best friend...

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam couldn't be more different, and that goes for the way each one woos and pursues the woman of his dreams. Darcy is quiet and reserved, careful and dutiful, and his qualms and hesitations are going to torpedo his courtship of Elizabeth. His affable and vivacious cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam is a military hero whose devil-may-care personality hides the torments within, until he finds himself in a passionate, whirlwind affair with a beautiful widow who won't hear of his honorable intentions.

Cousins, best friends, and sparring partners, Darcy and Fitzwilliam have always been there for each other. So it's no surprise when the only one who can help Darcy fix his botched marriage proposals is Fitzwilliam, and the only one who can pull Fitzwilliam out of an increasingly dangerous entanglement is Darcy...

About the Author

Karen Wasylowski is a retired CPA. She and her husband spend their free time volunteering with charitable organizations that assist the poor. They also are actively involved with Project Light of Manatee, providing literacy instruction to immigrants and to members of the community. Karen and her husband live in Bradenton, Florida.

So, readers.  What do you think?  Is it possible for Lady Catherine to not only soften but become downright likable?  And would you accept this "new" Lady Catherine? 


Mary Simonsen said...

Very interesting post, Karen. I agree that Lady Catherine was a woman of her time, and she was protecting her own from incursions from the merchant class. I've softened Catherine in some of my short stories as well. Best of luck with your new release.

Hi Lori!

Lori Johnston said...

Hi Mary!
Thanks for stopping by.

I loved to hate Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice but I do like the new, but still feisty, side of Lady Catherine we see courtesy of Karen.

Katy said...

Ha! Karen this was really insightful and funny. I hadn't thought about Lady Catherine that way before, and when you mentioned Lady Gaga's meat dress and the kid next door who keeps hitting your car with his skateboard, I had to laugh out loud.

Change has always frightened me for some reason, so I think I can understand where Lady Catherine was coming from in that. Thanks for the fun post! I'm looking forward to your book!