One of the things I find about Joana’s writing is the impressive prose and intense emotion that captivates our heart strings, making us immerse ourselves and project ourselves right into the story, to the point that it feels real, as if it is literally our heart that is broken; our breath that is taken away with the touch; or our happily ever after. The Unthinkable Triangle is a perfect example of this.
I have chosen a few favorite quotes from the book and asked Joana to comment or explain what she felt when she wrote it. I think giving you examples of her writing and glimpses into the dynamic plot is a fantastic way to whet your appetite for her new release. My hope is that you will be just as excited as I was when I learned that Joana had a new book out. So here are some great lines that I, as a fellow author, am quite impressed with. I dare you not to be impressed too!
Joana, tell us a bit about these lines. What were you thinking when you wrote them? Or can you tell us a little about what is happening in the book when we read these lines?
1. “Well, if you are determined to play the fool, then pray proceed at leisure.” (Page 10)
2. The night was young. And it would be long and horrid. (Page 56)
3. And the troubled house was at peace at last. (Page 85)
4. As yet, she did not begin to wonder why it was so thoroughly unthinkable for her to address him as Fitzwilliam, and so she eventually drifted into peaceful slumber, blissfully ignorant of the storm to come. (Page 136)
5. There was no time to dwell on what might have happened, or how he could have justified the inexcusable. (Page 150)
Now, I believe that anyone reading this blog are probably familiar with Joana’s books, and if not, are probably more than a bit curious now. But I thought we might try to get a bit of insight into what the author’s favorite lines from The Unthinkable Triangle are. Then I’ll give you a bit of insight to what I felt as a reader! What are a few of your favorite lines?
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Warm praise from someone we admire is a treasured gift, and I deeply treasure yours. Which is one of the reasons why I feel so privileged to be here. Thanks for inviting me, and also for your suggestion to discuss quotes from my new book. It’s a lovely and exciting idea, and I can’t wait to begin.
The first quote you’ve kindly chosen as a favourite, “Well, if you are determined to play the fool, then pray proceed at leisure”, is from the opening chapter, where Darcy finally gives in to his deepest wishes and decides to propose to the enticing Miss Elizabeth Bennet on the following day. Little does he know that his chances had already been blown out of the water by his unsuspecting cousin, who had just returned to Rosings from a lengthy visit at the Hunsford parsonage, where Elizabeth is staying with her cousin and her friend. Colonel Fitzwilliam is the one who ‘plays the fool’, as Darcy puts it, and fiddles with Lady Catherine’s mantelpiece ornaments while contemplating his future marital bliss – because, unbeknownst to Darcy, he had proposed to Elizabeth earlier that day, and had been accepted!
You have suggested that I mention some of my own favourite quotes, and one of them is from the same chapter, showing Darcy’s reaction when he learns of his cousin’s engagement to the woman he loves: “What mockery was this – what nightmare? If it was a nightmare, then good Lord, pray let him awaken! And yet the heavens remained silent, and the nightmare raged on.”
Of course, knowing that Elizabeth is not free but promised to his dearest cousin brings Darcy a very different kind of heartache, especially when Colonel Fitzwilliam unexpectedly returns from the battlefield and Darcy is forced to witness their reunion. This is the night from your second quote, the one that “would be long and horrid,” because Darcy had just had the misfortune of stumbling upon a brief moment of stolen intimacy between the engaged couple. This is the second time that your favourite quotes meet mine, and I thought I might share one from that very trying moment:
“The door moved noiselessly on its hinges to reveal a scene he had pictured often in his imagination, but so far had been spared the agony of witnessing with his own eyes. […] He looked away, but it was too late. Branded in his memory, the image would not leave him. Not now. Probably never.”
‘Never say never’, we are often told, and luckily for Darcy the old adage holds true. Just as we would wish, in the end he can forget his heartache, once he wins the girl and ultimately wins the day. Perhaps now would be a good time to reassure those of us who simply cannot bear to imagine Elizabeth in love with anyone but Darcy, by saying that during her engagement to the wrong gentleman, the reader is not made to endure seeing Colonel Fitzwilliam through Elizabeth’s eyes. The story shifts towards describing events from her perspective only when she begins to see the difference between the mild attraction felt by an inexperienced young woman and what it truly means to be in love. Which brings me to my third favourite quote, from the chapter where Elizabeth becomes aware of her feelings for her betrothed’s cousin:
“She slowly slid onto the grass into a pool of crumpled muslin, into a pool of misery, too shocked for words or coherent thought. Save one: she loved him. It was nothing short of dreadful.”
But, to return to your third choice, “And the troubled house was at peace at last,” this is from an earlier chapter, and the peace is just an illusion. The cloud that had been hanging for days over the troubled house – Mr. Darcy’s London home – seems to have lifted because Colonel Fitzwilliam, who had been fighting a life-threatening condition under the constant care of his betrothed and his guilt-ridden cousin, is at last on the mend. But, as we can imagine, this is not the end of everybody’s troubles. Uncomfortable revelations would soon follow. But for now Elizabeth is still in blissful ignorance, just as your next favourite quote shows:
“As yet, she did not begin to wonder why it was so thoroughly unthinkable for her to address him as Fitzwilliam, and so she eventually drifted into peaceful slumber, blissfully ignorant of the storm to come.”
No such luck for Darcy. Not only is he perfectly aware of his predicament but, worse still, he knows all too well that no one is to blame but he – and, on this note, here is another of my favourites:
“He could have spoken last November, and by now they might have already been wed. And if his cousin should have had the horrible misfortune of falling in love with his wife, then it would have been Fitzwilliam’s hell, not his. Fitzwilliam’s the crushing grief, the anguish. It would have been for him to be torn asunder between loyalty and a need so deep that it burned its way into his very soul.”
The final favourite quote you mentioned was this: “There was no time to dwell on what might have happened, or how he could have justified the inexcusable.” In order to explain what was happening there, I would like to ask the readers to picture, if they will, a scene very similar to the one in Emma Thompson’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, where Elinor comes to disturb Mr. Palmer from his sleep in the dead of night, to say that they must send for the physician. In The Unthinkable Triangle the physician is not required to come and treat another case of ravaging fever, and there are several other differences too. For instance Mr. Darcy, unlike Mr. Palmer, does not show up at the door in his nightclothes (more’s the pity ;) ) and, also unlike Mr. Palmer, he thinks that what he sees is just a figment of his imagination. He had dreamt of Elizabeth before, many nights running, and is sufficiently dazed, in his barely awake state, to imagine that this night is no different. That Elizabeth is not really there – she is just an illusion. A treasured if insubstantial companion of his lonely hours, who has returned to feed the longing, but also bring a little succour too. And would soon discover, to his shock, that this time he was very wrong.
Thanks ever so much again, Jeanna, for welcoming me here, I had a fabulous time. I only wish this could have been a face-to-face chat but, fingers crossed, we can do that next time you visit. Please come back to England soon, and bring your lovely daughters, it would be wonderful to see you all again!
Please let me close now with my final favourite quote, from the chapter where our beloved couple reach their understanding, and I hope the visitors to your blog would sympathise with Darcy’s plea:
“Elizabeth, you must leave me room to hope! Or, as God is my witness, by this time tomorrow I will have carried you off to Gretna Green and damn the consequences!”
You can find Joana Starnes at Austen Authors (http://austenauthors.net/joana-starnes/), at http://www.Facebook.com/joana.a.starnes; http://www.twitter.com/Joana_Starnes or on her website http://www.joanastarnes.co.uk