Who wrote this book and when?
Elizabeth Aston published this in 2003.
Has there been a film version?
Who are the important characters?
Camilla Darcy – the second eldest Darcy daughter, she most resembles her mother in wit and temperament
Letitia “Letty” Darcy – the eldest Darcy daughter, she is prim and still pines for a love who was assumed killed in the war with Napolean
Alethea Darcy – the youngest Darcy daughter, somewhat of a musical prodigy and very headstrong
Belle Darcy – one of the twins, she has dark hair and is the less frivolous of the two
Georgina Darcy – the other twin, she has light hair and is almost identical to her Aunt Lydia in temperament
Sophia Gardiner – the Darcy girls’ cousin, a great beauty
Colonel Fitzwilliam – Darcy’s cousin and the guardian of the Darcy daughters while Darcy and Elizabeth are in Constantinople
Fanny – Fitzwilliam’s young wife, she is determined to bring the girls out into society properly
Wytton – Sophia’s serious and well-traveled fiance
What’s it about?
This is a lighthearted and saucy “sequel” to Pride and Prejudice which presents the concept of Darcy finding himself in a similar situation to his father-in-law – five daughters approaching marriageable age. He and his wife, Lizzy, are assigned an ambassador position in Constantinople so he sends his five daughters to stay with his cousin, Fitzwilliam, in London. Letitia, the eldest, is still mourning a man she was engaged to before he disappeared in the war. Camilla is dead set against finding a husband. Alethea simply wants to study music and see the world, and the twins are heading directly towards the most raucous party they can find.
Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
It is neither, but a good read nonetheless.
Do I recommend I read this book?
Sure. It’s a pop tart of a book – no meat but a little bit of a sugar rush.
Has it won any awards?
“She saw her future laid out before her: a spinster in drab gowns hurrying to and fro; here a meeting of the Society of Satan (one trusted that its members opposed, rather than supported, the works of its namesake); there attending the Society of Virtue (which must, on the contrary, be for rather than against its subject).” – p 137
For some reason, the character of Alethea just rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t know if it was how she was written or simply her role in the book. So naturally, I’m going to read the next book which focuses mainly on her.
This book does not have a serious plot. So if you’re looking for that, don’t start this book. It strongly resembles “Pride and Prejudice” only without the flair of Austen herself. The five daughters each take a bit from several of the Bennett sisters’ personalities and then add a dowry of 50,000 pounds…and you get several incidents of scandal and heartbreak. They also meet up with the now married Caroline Bingley and the widowed and remarried Aunt Lydia – both of whom are very much the same as they ever were. It was interesting to see how Aston approached the issue of homosexuality in the Regency period, as well as sex and etiquette – especially how women approached finding a spouse while playing the field; wealthy women did it quite a bit differently than the poorer Bennett girls.