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Posted May 13, 2010
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An Austen Inspired Treat!
This is author Monica Fairview's second Pride and Prejudice sequel and the first I've read. I expected that I would enjoy it, based on the synopsis, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. In short, Monica Fairview has a new fan in this reader.
Ms. Fairview's writing is warm, engaging and utterly captivates the reader. I was transfixed by the story from the opening paragraph until the last line. Ms. Fairview takes Jane Austen's existing and much beloved characters - - Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana - - and even those a little less beloved - - Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, Anne deBourgh and Mr. Collins - - and entertwines them with new characters Robert Darcy, Clarissa Darcy, Frederick Darcy, Percy Channing and Henry Gatley, among others.
What I loved most about these new characters is not only how vividly Ms. Fairview sketches them out but how I could easily imagine them being Jane Austen's own creation. In this way, Ms. Fairview stayed true to the essence of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's vision.
In Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana is very much a secondary character who is primarily given life through her brother's story and personality. In The Darcy Cousins, Georgiana very much comes into her own and I thoroughly liked her. She is an enjoyable person, both a socially proper young lady of wealth and status and a determined and spunky fighter.
Her American cousin Clarissa Darcy is a pleasing addition to the roster of Austen inspired characters. The fact alone that she raises Lady Catherine's ire makes her a real jewel and I got a chuckle out of how many of her missteps and faux paus were attributed to her American upbringing. Clarissa's backstory made for an interesting read and I hope that Ms. Fairview will continue her writing with a book on Clarissa's continued story.
Henry Gatley was a wonderful hero and I was happy with the parallels between Mr. Gatley in this book and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Throughout the book I was rooting for Mr. Gatley and hoping that all the fictional characters would like him (even love him) as much as I did.
If there was any part of The Darcy Cousins that I would change it would be Elizabeth's personality, which I felt was a bit underdeveloped and missing that wit and verve that was so spectacular in Pride and Prejudice. However, Georgiana and Clarissa being major characters and so well developed eradicated any true disappointment I may have had.
All in all, I devoured this story and hated for it to end. It was a joy to read and I often found myself lost in this incredibly good book for a splendid week. Has any producer thought to snap up film rights because in my opinion, The Darcy Cousins would make a fun and entertaining miniseries.
I would highly recommend The Darcy Cousins for anyone who appreciates not only Jane Austen sequels but also historical fiction.
Psychotic State Book Reviews
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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE FANS WILL LOVE THE DARCY COUSINS
Monica Fairview's THE DARCY COUSINS is a book full of surprises, and the surprises start with the title. This follow-on to THE OTHER MR. DARCY continues the saga of the American Darcys, but this book is the coming-of-age tale of the very English Georgiana, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy's sister.
Three years have passed since Pride and Prejudice. Shy, retiring Georgiana is still unsure of herself after the debacle with Wickham. She awaits the start of her first Season, when into her life swoops her American cousin, Clarissa. The younger Clarissa is everything Georgiana wants to be--confident, outgoing and attractive to men, especially the handsome, charming Mr. Channing, to whom both girls take a fancy.
Mr. Channing's friend, Mr. Gatley, also handsome but not so charming, disapproves of Georgiana's infatuation and her attempts to ape Clarissa, and he makes no bones about telling her so. Each takes the other in dislike, and they spar constantly, refusing to admit their growing attraction. As Georgiana learns to be herself, with her own strengths and weaknesses, she at last sets to rest the ghost of Wickham. Mr. Gatley, so confident he is always right, realizes he can make mistakes, too.
Ms. Fairview has written a tale true to the Regency era, yet at the same time brimming with strong women. Clarissa is strong in an outgoing way. Georgiana is quieter but equally determined. The delightful surprise is the fate of Anne de Bourgh, the down-trodden daughter of the domineering Lady Catherine.
For those who can't get enough of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, THE DARCY COUSINS is sure to please.
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Posted May 24, 2011
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