AWARD-winning journalist Amanda Hooton turns to the ageless wisdom of Jane Austen to solve the eternal dilemmas of romance in her first book Finding Mr Darcy.
Learn how to be as clever as Elizabeth Bennet, as dignified as Elinor Dashwood and as confident as Emma Woodhouse; how to avoid shagging Mr Wickham, marrying Mr Collins, or being dumped by Willoughby; and how to find Mr Darcy, grapple him to your soul with hoops of steel, and become the part-owner of a country estate in Derbyshire.
We spoke to Amanda Hooton who, after finding her own bearded Mr Darcy at a work Christmas party some years ago, is now happy to share some of her experience and the teachings of Ms Austen.
Do you need to be sad and lonely to read this book? Or hopeful?
Jane Austen appeals to everyone, sad and hopeful alike. I hope this book appeals to everyone, too. The older I get, I realise all my visions of true love are based on, or they began with, Jane Austen. So I decided to go back to her and her novels and check how her characters decided who to love and how.
Is it fair to say that Jane Austen took fairytale princess-like characters and brought them down to the average lifestyle of her time?
I think that's true. She was known in her day for domestic novels that were used to belittle her as a female author. In fact, it is the everyday nature of those novels in terms of the time they were written that make them so powerful in today's modern times.
Do you think women today believe their lives are some sort of romantic novel, and they are confronted with some cruel reality afterwards?
That assessment may be harsh but fair. We women do believe we are central characters in our own romantic drama, but we need to have a healthy ego and good self-esteem to love our men. I also think that an obsessive focus on our romantic life works against us. We get too preoccupied and obsessive. Relaxing a little bit about men helps a lot.
What is your own tip to singles looking for their Mr Darcy?
If the numbers are not working in your favour, you need to try harder.
Funny, witty and girly to the max, Finding Mr Darcy will give you some serious giggles, plus an insight into Jane Austen's multiverse.
It will also make the best Christmas present for your fabulous, and chronically single, girlfriend.
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