presumptionWho wrote this book and when?
“Julia Barrett” wrote this, and is actually a pseudonym for two authors: Julia Braun Kessler and Gabrielle Donnelly.

Has there been a film version?
No.

Who are the important characters?
Georgiana Darcy – Fitzwilliam Darcy’s younger sister, just coming of age
Elizabeth Darcy – formerly Elizabeth Bennett, now married to Darcy
Lady Catherine de Bourgh – Darcy’s vain and prejudiced aunt
Captain Heywood – a cousin of Darcy’s, a naval captain
James Leigh-Woods – an architect Darcy has hired to improve the grounds of Pemberley
Mr. Gardiner – Elizabeth’s uncle, a lawyer in London
Jane Bingley – Elizabeth’s sister
Caroline Bingley – Jane’s sister-in-law, also vain and arrogant

What’s it about?
This story is another to pick up where “Pride and Prejudice” left off and is the most similar I’ve come across to Austen’s wit and writing style. Georgiana Darcy has sworn off of love after her mean past with Wickham and despite the attentions of several young men, has decided to be a single woman in the world. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is struggling to win the affection of some of Darcy’s proud friends who look on her as beneath them. To make things worse, Elizabeth’s aunt Phillips is embroiled in a scandal back home and thrown in jail. Darcy must go to London to help her uncle Gardiner to straighten things out and Elizabeth is left to fend for herself as Georgiana begins to exert her own will, the social scene pounces on her misfortune, and worst of all…her parents, sisters, and Lydia come for a visit.

Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
I don’t believe it’s either, but it’s still a wonderful read.

Do I recommend you read this book?
If you enjoyed reading “Pride and Prejudice” (not just watching the film or miniseries), then you will most likely enjoy this book.

How did this book make my list?
I like reading books that are “spin offs” of Jane Austen book to get other people’s take on where the Bennett girls end up. Some are good (this one and the “Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries) and some really really suck (Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife).

Has it won any awards?
No.

Favorite quotes:
“Kitty and Mary had so far escaped the burden of family loyalty: going their own ignorant way they had until now delighted in proving themselves ungovernable, accruing thus all the sweet privileges enjoyed by those fully lacking in reliability. It was time, Jane had long felt, that they awoke to good sense. She, while wishing wholeheartedly for such a transformation, knew herself not equal to effecting it. That arduous task, if to be achieved at all, demanded no less than a Lizzy.” – p 62

“For if discretion within society is an unimpeachable ideal, it nevertheless, like the best of our aspirations, remains resolutely in the realm of fancy.” – p 108

Anything else?
I am looking forward to reading Barrett’s other novels, also emulating Jane Austen.

Personal thoughts:
While others have used Austen’s characters and put them into situations and adapted them from there, this tale follows the characters themselves in a very likely situation from the Regency period. The writing style is very similar to that of Austen and her wit is in tact and shines. The story isn’t complicated, resembling elements of P&P itself – but still satisfies. It also sticks to Jane Austen canon – with Jane being the first to have a baby, and with Kitty marrying a curate. I highly recommend this short little read as a fresh look at the Bennets, Darcys, Collinses, and de Bourghs.

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