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Review: Mr. Darcy's Daughters, by Elizabeth Aston

I'm a Jane Austen purist, so perhaps I shouldn't be reading books that rip apeart great novels like Pride and Prejudice. While it's intriguing to wonder "whatever happened to Elizabeth and Darcy?", I was appalled that neither character made an appearance here, the author conveniently dispatching them off to Constantinople. Apparently, she was not able to re-create the characters of Elizabeth and Darcy as well as the original. Why would two sensible people leave their five eligible daughters to go running around?

I found myself disliking the Daughters of the title. They are entirely too much like the Bennet sisters, and I refuse myself to believe that the Darcys would raise such silly, narrowminded girls. Even Camilla, the "sensible" one of the family, finds herself making the same mistakes her mother did, by falling in love with someone not entirely suitable for her.

As for the rest of London society, I found that they were too concerned with how everybody else perceived them. I found that the characters of Fitzwilliam and the Gardiners so out of keeping with what Jane Austen had in mind.

Aston sounds like she tried to put the Darcy sisters into a more modern setting. She therefore botches the overall effect. If she had wanted to remain in keeping with the style of Jane Austen, she did not do so. Although Austen's works were written during a turbulent period of English history, she incorporated nothing of what was going on into her writing. In contrast, Aston, while trying to keep her modern-day viewers in mind, inserts far too much history and politics into Mr. Darcy's Daughters. Also, Austen would never have mentioned anything so indecorous as (gasp) sex and sexual preference in her novels which, of course, Elizabeth Aston did do.

Also, the novel is historically inaccurate, according to Austen's timeline. Supposing that Pride and Prejudice was meant to take place at around the time it was published (1812 or 1813), then wouldn't a "20 years later" sequel take place in the early 1830s?

Comments

Holly said…
Terrific review. I have to agree. I didn't love this book either. There are very few attempted Austen sequels that are worth my time. This was entertaining, but not worthy of remaining on my bookshelf!
Kristen M. said…
I have steered clear of these sort of "sequels" after the trashiness that was "Scarlett". Blech. I'll just stick with the original work. Sounds like this book suffered from lack of originality, actually.
Thanks for confirming that I don't need to read this book!
nbbaker1102 said…
I actually liked this book. I guess I didn't delve into quite so deeply. Once I realized Darcy and Elizabeth weren't going to be in it, I forgot all about the P&P connection and took it for just another historical fiction.
Matt said…
Thank you for a thoughtful review. I picked it up but didn't leave the bookstore with it, thinking what has happened to Darcy and Lizzy? It's not worth the time since it doesn't answer what I want to know about them.
Annie said…
I've seen so many P & P sequels around and because I'm not really a 'purist' I've been very tempted. I think I will stick clear of this one though! All the things you mentioned would annoy me. Loved your honesty.

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