Gotta Love Them Moms!

Today was my turn to blog over at the Sourcebooks Casablanca Authors blogsite. In keeping with my upcoming launch, I chose to center my topic on Loving Mr. Darcy plot points. But I was also greatly influenced by recent events with my mom. Enjoy!

Moms must be on the brain these days. I know that I have been thinking constantly about mine. Primarily that is because she has been so ill lately, prompting our entire family to travel from far away reaches of the US to converge on where she lives. The spontaneous family reunion was wonderful for many reason, but mostly because it focused on my mom.I could write an entire book on my mother. Almost all of it good! Seriously, she is a wonderful person who has been a guiding force in my life. She is a good woman who often single-handedly raised us kids, has always shown us love and support no matter what we do, displays strength and humor through the trials of life, and is immeasurably proud of her family. Yet my mom and I are very different in many of our beliefs. We have journeyed down dissimilar pathways. And I do not always agree with her. But these trivialities do not matter. Or rather, the fact that we are unalike in many respects augments my love and appreciation for her.

You see, I have learned by watching some of the mistakes she made and did not make the same ones. I know the numerous positive traits she possesses and the hundreds of correct decisions she made, and then applied them to my life. But I think most of all I have seen how my mom, and my entire family, embraces our diversity. We love unconditionally and with great passion. And the best part is that it comes naturally to all of us through my mom.

Perhaps it is this acceptance and understanding of my mom with all her quirks and shortcomings amid the love that gave me compassion for Mrs. Bennet. In Jane Austen’s novel, Mrs. Bennet is the flighty, ridiculous, rather irritating mother of Lizzy Bennet. Man, is she fun! Literary essays have been written and wild debates launched about this one character with dozens of takes on her motivations. The BBC adaptation went for the over-the-top Mrs. Bennet that was borderline shrewish and absolutely unhinged. The comic Mrs. Bennet.  Joe Wright’s 2005 movie went for a silly Mrs. Bennet as well, but one who was cunning and loving in her single-minded concentrate to get her daughters married. I like that Mrs. Bennet. Partly that may be due to Brenda Blethyn’s portrayal, I will admit. But when I did my own research and reading, I really felt sorry for Mrs. Bennet. The sheer magnitude of successfully marrying five girls of very limited dowry in an age when being hitched to a man was the ONLY way to survive, while also living with the reality that her own husband could soon die leaving her utterly destitute would naturally crack a woman! To top it off, she had to manage a household and the very important task of finding mates while dealing with a husband who was disinterested, unhelpful, and frankly incompetent. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mr. Bennet too and have my sympathies for him, but he definitely had his problems!

In Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley, all of the Bennets make an appearance. Of course Mrs. Bennet was fun to write! I kept her silly and obsessed with marrying the remaining Bennet daughters, but did nothing mean to her character. Maybe I just love moms too much to be cruel. LOL! Or maybe I have historic sympathy for her plight. And certainly there are many more characters in Austen’s novel, as well as those I created, to center my attention and storyline on. Whatever the case, Mrs. Bennet is given some latitude. Here is a small excerpt to enjoy from my second volume in The Darcy Saga – release date September 1!! When you are done reading, tell me about your favorite mom characters.

“Dr. Darcy, pardon me, but what did you mean by Dr. Penaflor raised with courtly manners?” Mrs. Bennet asked, a keen glint in her eyes.

“Raul Penaflor, Mrs. Bennet, is the third son of a Spanish Duke and his mother is one of many royal sisters to King Ferdinand. It is all rather a jumble of intermarriage intrigue that exhausts me, frankly.”

Mrs. Bennet’s eyes had opened widely and she was peering at Kitty and Dr. Penaflor as they completed their dance with unveiled calculation. Lizzy coughed a laugh, turning slightly to hide her face into Darcy’s sleeve as Mrs. Bennet continued. “How very interesting! Has he a grand inheritance then? Or perhaps a family income?”

Dr. Darcy smiled innocently at Mrs. Bennet. “They have not disowned him, Mrs. Bennet, if that information profits you. Raja, however, is apathetic regarding his lineage and rank. I tease and call him ‘raja,’ which is prince in Hindi, yet he is indifferent. Healing is all that truly matters to him.”

Mrs. Bennet was obviously saddened at the news and chose to ignore Dr. Penaflor thereafter.

5 Comments for Gotta Love Them Moms!

  1. Thanks Sharon you’re a real sweetie and even though I can’t think of an onscreen Mum I admire at the moment. I certainly am in awe of your ability to play supermom to your gorgeous family.

    Love TSBO devotee
    Vee

  2. I actually think that Alison Steadman played the role more accurately! As you say Sharon she was practdically unhinged by the worry of marrying of five daughters and in the book and BBC adaptation, Mr Bennet positively detested her. Brenda’s Mrs Bennet was softer and she and Mr Bennet appeared to be in love still, which was so nice to watch. However Lizzie’s parents’ marriage was the one thing that put her off marrying herself. "when I marry it will only be for the deepest love" she says and this makes sense when you read the book and/or watch the BBC version. She didn’t want to end up like her parents, that is the point she was making. However I love the 2005 version and can forgive them for taking a bit of licence with the Bennets. I am so pleased that you have sympathy for her in your books Sharon, like every mother under the sun she made her mistakes. One of the funniest lines in the book is when Mrs B complains to Mr B that Lizzie won’t marry Collins and she says she will never speak to Lizzie again. He replies " that from hereon in your mother will never speak to you if you don’t marry Mr Collins and I will never speak to you if you do". Poor Mrs Bennet!

  3. Dear Sharon, dear Vee,
    thank you both for your wonderful words about moms!
    Mrs. Bennet is all you said, but nevertheless she is an important figure and she constantly trys to do the best for her daughters. I love the scene when she sees Pemberley for the first time.
    And somehow she and Mr. Bennet are a nice couple, too; as can be seen after Janes engagement when it is getting late in the evening.
    Again, a great topic for your blog!

    Susanne

  4. Thanks Vee. As always you are so sweet and so kind. I sincerely appreciate your constant support. Thanks for sharing a bit about your mom. I know you fairly well, so am therefore certain your mom must be a truly amazing woman. And, yes, being a mom is the greatest thing in the world!

  5. Thank you for your beautiful passage about your Mom and Mum’s in general. I loved it! You really do look like your Mom Sharon and so does your daughter you are all very beautiful.

    I love the way you handle Mrs Bennet in your Saga Sharon, everyone is much more tolerant of her manner now that Lizzy has "landed a rich husband" so I guess the pressure really is off Mrs Bennet. Even if the other girls didn’t end up finding partners (but personally i am so glad you have chosen to unite each Bennet daughter with someone suited to her nature, you handled that aspect magnificently too) she isn’t in as much of a dire strait as she was early on to marry them off.

    I like the way you have made Darcy understand how she is too and how he treats her with the respect she deserves, but also the way he and Lizzy still get annoyed if she becomes too unbearable. A very good balance that I enjoy!

    I like Brenda Blethyn’s portrayal of Mrs Bennet, hers is my fav too!

    My Mum is beautiful inside and out, she gives her all to everyone and would do anything for anyone. She does not have a single bad cell in her body. I really wish I was more like her. So very sweet and patient. I am thankful that I do take after her in many ways but have a little streak from my Dad’s side which can make me get a bit testy at times hehehe

    For the life of me I can’t think of any screen Mum at the moment that I admire. I will get back to you on that one if I can think of any.

    One last thing I will add is that I adore being Mum to my beautiful kids who every single day make me thankful to have them and thankful to be their Mum.
    TSBO devotee
    Vee

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