Linda Berdoll author of The Bar Sinister A chess game of love and betrayal.
Julia Barrett author of Jane Austen's Charlotte Imagine poor Mr. Darcy with five marriageable daughters of his own! And in Mr. Darcy's Daughters, Elizabeth Aston has them all at large in dissolute London. Ah, but what a difference! Unlike Jane Austen's Bennet sisters, some twenty years earlier, these young ladies possess both position and money to spare! Aston takes us on a romp through late Regency society.
Joan Aiken author of Jane Fairfax I read [Mr. Darcy's Daughters] in two gulps and greatly enjoyed it...The invented daughters are fun prissy Letty, witty Camilla, musical Alethea, the unbridled twins and their ups and downs in London society make a lively story.
This sequel to Pride and Prejudice from first-time novelist Aston reads more like a beach book for historical fiction fans than a literary homage to Austen's masterpiece. The novel is set in 1818, when Mr. and Mrs. Darcy (nee Elizabeth Bennett) have gone on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople and left their five daughters in London with Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his wife. Bossy Letitia and rebellious Camilla, the two eldest girls at 21 and 19, look forward to London's social whirl; the youngest, 16-year-old Althea, has an opportunity to study voice with an Italian master musician; and 17-year-old twins Georgina and Belle can't wait to flirt and break hearts. But the young country ladies "need to keep their wits well about them" in the city; pitfalls abound, suitors come calling and soon the Darcy girls-especially the mischievous Camilla, who "had too much of a sense of humour, too witty a tongue and too clever a mind"-are raising eyebrows and incurring the censure of some powerful Londoners. Aston attempts to imitate Austen's style, with little success-the prose is stilted and anachronistic ("it would be very fortunate if we were to find a suitable young man for Letitia. To help her get over Tom's loss, you know, and give her thoughts a new direction"). The daughters' personalities are drawn in broad, predictable strokes, and the romantic plot feels contrived and overly drawn out. Despite the curiosity factor, even Austen fans will likely give this a miss, perhaps turning instead to Emma Tennant's superior Austen sequels (Pemberley, etc.). (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A generation after Pride and Prejudice, the five daughters of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy arrive in London to stay with cousins while their parents are on a diplomatic mission to Constantinople. We follow the romantic and marital travails of the two eldest daughters, Letty and Camilla; the spirited 17-year-old twins, Georgina and Belle; and the youngest, Alethea. Meanwhile, crises such as the reappearance of Letty's fiance, presumed dead, and Georgina's elopement to Paris keep scandal seekers engaged. However, Camilla's story holds central place as she slowly acknowledges her attraction to her cousin's fiance, Wytton. Distancing the sequel from its predecessor allows British novelist Aston to use some original characters, such as Caroline Bingley, without resurrecting them all. Despite the availability of numerous published sequels to Pride and Prejudice and dozens of revisions and extensions on various web sites, it is hard to imagine that devout Austen fans will find them truly satisfying; still, this one comes as close as any. Those who enjoy Austen without reverence will certainly enjoy Aston's work, as will historical fiction readers who want an engaging plot and characters regardless of previous literary incarnations.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Another Jane Austen spin-off, this time about the escapades of the imagined daughters of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Off to Constantinople on a diplomatic assignment, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy decide to send their five daughters to London for the year, under the care of their cousins, the Fitzwilliams. Mr. Fitzwilliam intends to keep the girls under strict scrutiny, but his charming (and much younger) wife Fanny has grand plans for the five heiresses: the London season has just begun, and perhaps husbands can be caught, at least for the two eldest. Letty, at 21, is the beauty of the family, though she also has a dour, moralizing nature. At 17, twins Georgina and Belle (nicknamed by their ardent admirers "Night" and "Day") care for nothing but fashion, flirting, and beaux, while youngest daughter Alethea, headstrong and wild, is devoted to her music. It's 19-year-old Camilla who emerges as heroine, not quite so pretty as her sisters, but, in Austen tradition, much the wisest and most appealing. No sooner do all arrive in London than scandal rears its head-indeed, by end, potential disgrace threatens each of the girls. To begin, Letty's fiancé, thought killed in the war three years ago, has suddenly turned up-married to a Belgian lady. Sensible Camilla finds herself engaged to Sir Sidney, who is discovered not only to have remarkable taste in lady's frocks, but a penchant for handsome young men. The engagement is off, and Camilla heartbroken, but there's plenty to distract her-balls to attend, relatives to avoid, four sisters to shield from ruin. For all its predictability, there is a comforting charm in revisiting this simpler world, where a misunderstood glance can turn the plot.Thankfully, it turns finally in Miss Camilla's favor, and she of the sharp tongue and unladylike ways takes the prize. Silly stuff but enjoyable now and then: a bit like cotton candy at the fair.