As in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, so many of its retellings cast George Wickham as the villain. Understandably so. He’s just so wicked!
My first book, To Have His Cake, dealt with poor Wickham in the opening pages.
While on his annual trip to Kent, with his cousin Richard, to visit their aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Darcy heard of the untimely demise of his nemesis, George Wickham. His aunt spoke of the scandalous connection with the Bennets. Darcy abruptly returned to London and hired an investigator to find out the Bennet family’s fate.
He learnt that Wickham, who had briefly served as a lieutenant in the army, ran off with the youngest Bennet, Miss Lydia and deserted his commission. Mr. Bennet tracked them down in a seedy part of London. Wickham killed the elderly man under the guise of self-defence, but only after Lydia threw herself between her father and her dear Wickham. The poor girl: accidentally shot and killed by her own father. Weeks later, an enraged father killed George Wickham. The tragic death of Mr. Bennet, a perfect stranger, gave him courage to avenge his own daughter, whom the unscrupulous Lt. Wickham compromised and jilted just months earlier.
That was in the beginning when I could barely tolerate the gentleman. I have since learned to appreciate him. Not so much as Lydia, mind you, but I must admit he can be a lot of fun to write about.
When reading Pride and Prejudice, I like that Elizabeth was always so fascinated by him—until she wasn’t. I find her account of his defection rather convenient.
His apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, he was the admirer of someone else. Elizabeth was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and write of it without material pain. Her heart had been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with believing that SHE would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it.
Here’s a snippet from one of my favorite book babies, Impertinent Strangers, with an interesting take on Elizabeth’s initial opinion of George Wickham:
For one, she had been gently advised by her aunt, Mrs. Gardiner, for whom she held a particular regard, not to fall in love with that young man. Elizabeth assured her aunt that she had not and that she would not, so convinced was she that she had been and would always be the ruler of her own heart, even though Mr. Wickham was beyond comparison the most agreeable man she had ever met.
Secondly, in courting Miss Mary King, whose grandfather’s death had made her the mistress of a fortune of ten thousand pounds, Mr. Wickham had effectively abandoned his affections for Elizabeth with scarcely a second thought. She concluded, however, that the speed with which she recovered from his defection was the surest testament to the fact that her heart had remained untouched. That did not stop her from consoling her vanity as needed every now and again in the ensuing weeks and months.
I suppose had I been the recipient of a fortune of ten thousand pounds, I might have been his only choice, Elizabeth always liked to tell herself.
Nonetheless, the memories of him were the closest symptom of love she had ever suffered, and she cherished them as keenly as would any young woman who had ever been in the throes of her first infatuation. And when remembering all the times she had spent in Mr. Wickham’s amiable company, and recounting in her mind all the honeyed words that flowed from his lips in unabashed adoration of her, she did so with a fond heart and a warm smile.
If I could but meet a gentleman who possesses half of Wickham’s charms and amiability on this trip, then I should have no cause to repine.
Why am I writing about Wickham, you may be asking? I just posted Chapter 3 of my current work-in-progress, Expecting His Wife, in which Wickham is introduced on my Patreon page. It looks like he’s up to no good once again.
Mr. Wickham did not know quite what to make of this news, for he knew his former friend to be arrogant and haughty – far too proud to marry someone whom the gentleman’s aristocrat family and society, in general, might consider unworthy. On the other hand, he could not be too surprised after seeing how much the charming young lady had affected Darcy when they were all together in Hertfordshire last autumn.
I tried in every way I knew to poison the young lady’s mind against that miserly Darcy, but she would not be deterred. Surely she does not love him. How could she? Regardless of how wealthy he is, he did not tolerate her family. Other than herself, no one in the neighborhood thought much of him.
I always supposed Miss Elizabeth was a staunch protector of her family and her loyalty to them unshakable.
He scoffed. “Family loyalty is a secondhand emotion when a large fortune is at stake,” he spoke aloud, albeit to no one in particular.
George Wickham grinned. I always did suppose Miss Elizabeth was clever. She knew her power over Darcy, and she used it to her particular advantage. It will not surprise me one bit if a Darcy heir is being welcomed to the world in under nine months. What a clever young woman, indeed.
Now, I understand her lovely sisters have all gone to London and are staying at Darcy House while wedding preparations, no doubt, the likes of which are meant for royalty are underway.
The youngest Bennet daughter- what was her name? Ah! Lydia. That little minx always did show a preference for me and one which I had no reason to think twice about: that is until now.
I have meant to travel to London for a while. I think the time has finally come to make that trip to London that I have been putting off for so long.
That blasted George Wickham is always causing trouble for our dear couple, Darcy and Elizabeth. It will be a few weeks before you can read about these three in Expecting His Wife, but I have happy news for those of you who have yet to read Impertinent Strangers.
In addition to the story’s enchanting take on Elizabeth and Darcy’s path to happily ever after, there’s a laugh out loud account of Lydia’s antics with her dear Wickham.
Today marks the second time the story has been selected for a BookBub International Featured Deal. For a limited time, Impertinent Strangers is on sale worldwide for only 99 cents.
Don’t miss out this second time around. Grab your copy and save today!
Expecting His Wife will be available in October 2019. Comment on this post for a chance to win your ebook edition. One winner will be selected. The giveaway contest ends on Thursday, September 26th. Hurry!