A prequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Vanity and Verity explores the London debuts of Lady Anne and Lady Catherine Fitzwilliam. Upon arrival in London, Lady Catherine is immediately taken with the striking Mr. George Darcy (father of Austen's iconic Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy). But the circumspect Lady Anne questions the character and connections of the yet unknown Mr. Darcy. Anxious to please her proud and domineering mother and concerned about protecting the imprudent Catherine from herself, Anne hopes to forge the right friendships and alliances to steer the sisters safely through a season in 1780s London. However, the cautious Anne is in danger of giving Mr. Darcy entirely the wrong idea of her character, even as Anne herself begins to reevaluate her first impressions of the gentleman. Meanwhile Catherine, intoxicated by the London scene, pursues flirtations with Mr. Darcy, his friend Mr. Tyndall, her cousin, and even the tedious Sir Lewis DeBourgh while Anne struggles to remind her sister – and herself – of the importance of empathy and consideration for others. When the sisters and their circle retire to the Derbyshire countryside and are introduced to a new set of company (including the roguish Lord Barham, Mr. Darcy’s steward Mr. Wickham and his conniving wife) Catherine’s interest is drawn by yet another gentleman and her behavior threatens to grow more ungovernable yet. When one of Catherine’s flirts becomes the determined suitor of Anne, Anne finds herself in danger of losing all influence over her younger sister. Can Anne maintain a sisterly relationship with Catherine, while discouraging unwanted suitors and encouraging the one man she does want, but whose interest in her is unclear? Will the erratic Catherine ever fix on just one gentleman to pursue and will she choose a relationship that feeds her character and not just her vanity? Vanity and Verity probes the relationships of the parents of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Anne DeBourgh, and George Wickham, explains a great deal about Austen’s characters’ personalities and preconceptions, and will provide the reader of Pride and Prejudice with a whole new perspective on Austen’s beloved work.
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About the Author
Jeanne Waters grew up in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, studied 18th and 19th century English Literature at Harvard and is a lifelong Jane Austen fan. She is severely allergic to housework and never met a tequila she doesn’t like. She currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband, parrot and two children.