It’s Party Time!!!
The day is finally here, and the anthology is at hand! Jane Austen Made twenty-two of us do it! The celebrated author had all of us scribbling away, imaginary quills between our fingers, looking to her for inspiration. If only she could see us now! (Though perhaps she might very well sue the whole lot of us).
Jane Austen may have been the inspiration, but it was Laurel Ann who made our stories a reality, giving us the necessary nudge to allow inspir
ation to sprout from seeds into seedlings and then full-fledged stories. I have to say I’m delighted that I had this opportunity.
The seed of my story first appeared when I was watching the 2009 production of Emma with Romola Garai, and it suddenly occurred to me what a “modern” idea Jane Austen was advocating. Knowing that Emma would have a difficult time leaving her father, Mr. Knightley — gasp! — actually offers to come and live with her at her father’s house!
Think about it. Even in this day and age, how many men would be willing to abandon an extensive property like Donmill Abbey to move into a more humble house and live with a curmudgeon of a father-in-law? It’s a point most people gloss over, and in the novel it’s not dwelled on at all, but once it had captured my attention I couldn’t help thinking about it. It was a remarkably nice thing for him to do. It certainly proves his affection for Emma. Mr. Knightley may not seem like the romantic hero – especially since he is much older than Emma – but in this at least he is certainly knightly!
So when Laurel Ann approached me to write a story, I thought — it’s all very well, a very fine gesture and all that, but would it work? How on earth was Mr. Knightley going to
put up with an anxious hypochondriac like Mr. Woodhouse? Could they co-exist in the same space?
That, dear reader, is the origin of “Nothing more than fairy-land,” a phrase Miss Bates uses in the novel.
If you want to know more about what happens when Knightley moves in, you’ll have to read the story.