Thursday, March 13, 2014




Debut writer reveals Mr. Darcy’s scandalous past

EDMONTON, ALBERTA 200 years after the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Melanie Kerr’s new novel treats readers to the complete and dramatic history of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham.  
The novel is entitled Follies Past: a Prequel to Pride and Prejudice,  and to read it is to step back into the charming world of Jane Austen’s England, to pass a few more hours with some of her beloved characters, sympathetically portrayed as they might have been before ever they came to Netherfield.
In Pride and Prejudice, everything hinges on a letter which Mr. Darcy gives Elizabeth - a letter setting forth all his dealings with Mr. Wickham. These facts, supplied by Austen herself, are at the heart of Follies Past. The drama begins almost a year before the opening of Pride and Prejudice itself, at Pemberley, at Christmas. We follow young Georgiana Darcy to London, to Ramsgate and to the brink of a perilous elopement. Along the way, readers will discover a host of new characters, with compelling histories of their own. Authentic in its use of language and meticulously researched, Follies Past is a truly diverting entertainment.


Caroline Bingley had long known the name of Darcy, and she had always hoped to increase her family’s intimacy with it. In fact, she was prepared, as soon as it could be arranged, to take it as her own. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy was the head of the very wealthy and well-connected family and was her brother’s most esteemed friend. She thought, therefore, of the joy it would bring her brother if she could be the means of uniting the companions in brotherhood, of the many benefits such an exalted connection would bring for her own dear sister, of the future generations of her family and all that they would reap from their association with the prestigious house of Darcy. Of all these considerations, she took pride in none so much as she did in her own charity, for having considered everyone’s interest but her own.
“I know not how I shall survive two fortnights without you, Louisa,” she remarked to her sister as she packed her trunk.
“This may be the most important four weeks of my life.”
Caroline had been introduced to Mr. Darcy by her brother at a ball earlier that year. He had not asked her to dance, but she had convinced him to sit down to a game of cards with her, and she felt she had outdone herself in conversation with him—particularly since he was somewhat taciturn with her at first. He had even gone so far as to express a hope of meeting again, which was more than she had heard him do for any other lady that evening. When she received from her brother the news that they were all invited to spend Christmas at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s Derbyshire estate, she attributed it to her personal charms and was very well pleased with her success.
Had Caroline known the true cause for the invitation, her pride and her hopes would have been quite dashed. The Bingleys had been invited with the pointed purpose of being introduced to Mr. Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana. Caroline always spent the London season at her brother’s house in town and Mr. Darcy hoped that she might take an interest in Georgiana, that their acquaintance might ease his sister’s transition to London and her coming out in society, both of which were to follow in the spring.

Contact Person: Tara Rout
phone: (780) 893-8962


Melanie Kerr

Melanie Kerr studied linguistics, English and theatre at the University of British Columbia and law at the University of Alberta. She is a regular attendee at meetings of her local chapter of JASNA, and has numerous times arranged for large groups of Canadians to join her in attending the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, England. Kerr is a reckless lover of clotted cream, a staunch defender of the semi-colon and a fierce opponent of unpleasant music. She wooed her current and only husband with false promises of skill at word games and eternally good hair. She lives in Edmonton, where she raises her two sons, sews her own Regency costumes, runs a Jane Austen Fun Club, blogs on all things old and English, endeavours to take over the world and occasionally practices law. Follies Past is her first novel. 

Melanie Kerr has not only penned and published Follies Past, she has also scripted, directed and produced three film-style book trailers, for which she personally designed and created all the period costumes. She also planned and executed a highly successful book launch last November at the Hotel Macdonald, featuring live music, dramatic reading and a real live Mr. Darcy. She is currently planning a book tour to promote her novel. 

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