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Waiting For Someone To Be Utterly Outraged!

Alice McVeigh Author Interview

Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation follows three women that are all just trying to make a life for themselves in the Regency Era, some doing whatever it takes to advance in the ranks of society. What was the idea, or spark, that first set off the need to write Harriet?

I have long had Austen’s EMMA memorised. I can’t remember when it first occurred to me to wonder, “What if the pretty-but-dim Harriet was just pretending to be stupid, in order to better flatter Emma?” However, once I’d thought about it I couldn’t get the idea out of my head! So I dared to take sweet-but-slow Harriet and turn her into a very different kind of character… So far, people seem to like it, but I’m still waiting for someone to be utterly outraged!

There were many great scenes in this novel. What was your favorite scene in this story?

I like the plot twist with Mr Knightley, which was of course NOT in Austen’s masterpiece.

With the novel focusing on Harriet, Emma, and Jane how did you decide on the title of this novel?

Actually, Emma – ironically enough – is very downplayed here. But everyone wants to know why it’s not called JANE AND HARRIET… And, believe me, I thought about it. Two narrators. Two stories. BUT:

  1. I couldn’t find a portrait of the two that worked for the cover!
  2. My trademark is originality. I am NOT one of the Jane Austenesque writers writing PRIDE AND PREJUDICE over and over! My first book in the genre was an imaginative construction of what Austen’s LADY SUSAN (aged 35) might have been like, at just sixteen. NO one had ever thought to do that before – or to alter Harriet’s character, either. On the other hand, Jane Fairfax has been written about VERY often – even 100 years ago, writers were scribbling books about Jane Fairfax!!!… So, to be different, I chose HARRIET.
  3. The title would have been too long. HARRIET: A JANE AUSTEN VARIATION is long enough, without Jane!

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Having cheerfully observed that I’m NOT into churning out seven P&P variations a month, I must admit that the next one really is based on Darcy! It should be published in November.

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Emma, a privileged young heiress, decides to mentor Harriet Smith, a pretty boarding-school pupil, and to matchmake her as eligibly as she can… But how is she to guess that Harriet has a secret?
Meanwhile, the brilliant, penniless Jane Fairfax consents to a clandestine engagement with Frank Churchill – though not daring to confess, even to him, that she is being relentlessly pursued by her best friend’s husband.
Harriet sidelines Emma herself in favour of the ingenious Harriet and the fascinating Jane Fairfax. It is Emma – but an Emma with a surprisingly believable twist in its tail.

Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation

Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation, is a slow-burn, historical romance, written by author Alice McVeigh. She takes us on a journey with two radically different women, Harriet Smith, and Jane Fairfax. Unaware of her parentage, shrewd and determined Harriet befriends Emma with a motive to establish herself in society. Will she forsake friendship and love for what she believes will bring her happiness? Meanwhile, reserved and musical, Jane enraptures everyone she encounters, even receiving unsolicited attention. But, when she gets secretly engaged to the man she loves, she is burdened with more than her health can handle. Harriet plays the game to her advantage, while Jane feels helpless with troubles she can’t share even with her loved ones.

Following the points of view of two characters, Alice McVeigh marvelously explores the patriarchal Regency Era. Harriet believes she can make something of her life solely based on whom she gets married to, and Jane believes, irrespective of the circumstances, no one will listen to a woman’s voice over a man’s. The author manages to exquisitely capture their distinct voices in her writing and through their interactions in this entertaining novel. We receive witty insights from Harriet’s chapters and innocently confusing feelings from Jane’s. Harriet is a wholesome, light-hearted romance. I, however, felt that there was one part of the storyline that was left unresolved, leaving me wanting something more. This was somewhat surprising because a crucial part of the story is unaddressed, and what about justice?

Alice McVeigh does not include elaborate character descriptions or partake in world-building; you get acquainted with Harriet and Jane as well as their worlds through their interactions, experiences, and thoughts. This, to me, was an interesting writing style.

Harriet: A Jane Austen Variation is an enjoyable romantic page-turner novel that will delight readers who enjoy Regency period pieces. This satirical spin on a classic piece of British literature will entertain readers who can appreciate the author’s humor.

Pages: 320 | ASIN : B09R4XMRX6

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