Austen Fiction Reviews

Duty and Desire

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The second in the series by Pamela Aidan, this novel chronicles the second part of Pride and Prejudice from the viewpoint of Mr. Darcy. This novel takes place during the quiet time over the winter when Mr. Darcy drops off Elizabeth Bennet’s radar. What happened that fateful winter? Apparently, a lot!

The novel starts off with a lot of what one would expect. Christmas at Pemberly, meeting Miss Georgiana Darcy, and of course getting to see Darcy in his element working with his staff and tenants and going about the business that he was raised to do. This was fascinating to read and revealed even more about Mr. Darcy and his family and friends.

After Christmas things take a turn and the novel takes on a new tenor. It strikes out into the uncertain waters of a Gothic romance. The creepy castle, the strange guests, the even stranger going-ons will all have you on the edge of your seat wondering about this new mystery and what is going to happen next. I especially enjoyed the revelation of the close relationship between Darcy and his valet Fletcher which was shown in good light in this novel.

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An Assembly Such as This

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I have always enjoyed Jane Austen and particularly the story of Pride and Prejudice. I was delighted when I came across this book, An Assembly Such as This. The first in a trilogy, each book takes on one of the three “books” that make up Pride and Prejudice and writes from the viewpoint of Mr. Darcy. A whole new light on the old classic and wonderfully done.

Unlike most other attempts at romance in historical fiction this one actually pays more than a passing nod to the conventions of the day in regards to relationships and the social morality of society at that time. It whole heartedly embraces them and does an excellent job of being true to the era in historical events, social niceties and expectations placed on a gentleman in the class Darcy was born into.

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