Sequels

An Assembly Such As This
A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman
Pamela Aidan
ISBN: 0743291344    ««««« 

The first book in a trilogy, this is a wonderful companion book. She uses the Austen text, but does not rely on it so heavily that it feels like plagiarism. She also adds more scenes. We get additional images around Darcy’s time in Meryton when he first meets Lizzy, his time in London between leaving Netherfield in November and Christmas, and insights into his innermost thoughts as he falls for Lizzy’s fine eyes and disarming wit. It is well-written and believable, which is more than we can say for most P&P sequels!

 

Duty and Desire
A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman
Pamela Aidan
ISBN: 0743291360    
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The second book in a trilogy, this is the weakest of the three. The story line is a little far-fetched (Mr. Darcy meets Sherlock Holmes) and deviates the most from Pride and Prejudice. It fills in the unknown time in Darcy’s life between Christmas in London and Easter at Rosings.  Ms. Aidan admirably uses Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey as inspiration, but purists will miss the presence of the P&P characters. It is worth reading to complete the trilogy, though, especially to keep track of some of the new characters who re-appear in the final volume of the trilogy.

 

These Three Remain
A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman
Pamela Aidan
ISBN: 0743291344    
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The final book in a trilogy, this is another wonderful companion book. She uses the Austen text and covers the time from Mr. Darcy’s arrival at Rosings for Easter until his marriage to Lizzy. She paints the image of a heart-sick Darcy, so in love with Lizzy that he is beside himself. This image may not ring true for all readers, as it is a distinct departure from the proud and arrogant Darcy we know from the first half of P&P. This is a very satisfying conclusion to a wonderful companion to our beloved Pride and Prejudice!

 

Pemberley Chronicles (Book 1)
Rebecca Ann Collins
ISBN: 1402211538    ««««« 

The first book in a series, this companion book picks up from the marriage of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. The first half is very fulfilling, with good pacing and Austen-esque language. The second half of the book covers time quickly with less detail, bouncing through years like a stone skipping over water. After the Darcy children are born, the details of their day-to-day lives gets slim.  The characters of Darcy and Elizabeth don’t feel very developed beyond Austen’s original descriptions — they remain true but don’t evolve or deepen. It’s hard to believe that Elizabeth at age 30 or 40 would be the same as Elizabeth at age 20. You also get a little tired of the “Darcy was once proud, but has learned his lesson and is kinder now” theme. All right– I’ve got it! The book is also quite political, discussing parliament, business, colonization and war to great depth.

 

The Women of Pemberley (Book 2)
Rebecca Ann Collins
ISBN: 1402211546   
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The second book in a series, this companion book discusses the courtship and marriages of the Darcy children and their cousins. It starts to get a little confusing with so many new names and relationships to track (did everyone have to name their daughter after Elizabeth!?). Following the chronological sequence of the book gets a little difficult, because each chapter focuses on a specific character and can span many years of time. Then the next chapter discusses a new character, and can actual jump back in chronological timing. Like her first book, this one is also political. Darcy comes off as more of a socialist than I would have guessed–starting libraries, hospitals, trust funds and social services for immigrants and the poor– all to demonstrate that he was once proud, but has reformed to a kindly and humble master.

The Darcys and the Bingleys
Marsha Altman
ISBN: 1402213484    
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A very sweet and readable sequel. I was a little nervous from the description and the early focus on The Kama Sutra. All the sequels show Darcy and Lizzy with a very passionate relationship, but I can’t quite envision them looking at a sexual picture book together. At lease the author spared us in-depth descriptions of their *ahem* connections.

The latter half of the story was more interesting, albeit a little far-fetched. Miss Bingley’s marital future plays prominently, as she gets entangled with suitors and both Darcy and Lizzy investigate their viability as husbands. Some new characters are introduced, and the banter between Darcy and Lizzy is light-hearted and fun.

I think this author is planning to continue the series, and I look forward to her future attempts.

Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride
Helen Halstead
ISBN: 1569755884   
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This is a quick, light read, but still satisfying. It focuses on the Darcy’s time in London, where Lizzy becomes the toast of the town. Several new characters are introduced and Lizzy charms London high society. Mr. Darcy seems a little mixed in her success with the Ton, especially as other male admirers vie for her attentions. Lizzy remains witty, charming, and utterly devoted to Darcy. Darcy comes off as a little glum and domineering, but his passion and devotion to Lizzy shine through.

Kitty becomes a more prominent character, and in a direction I wouldn’t necessarily take her. The other favorites– Lady Catherine, Anne, Georgiana, Colonel Fitzwilliam, etc, all make satisfying appearances.

The book isn’t going to knock your socks off, but it is satisfying and enjoyable.

Mr. Darcy’s Diary
Amanda Grange
ISBN: 1402208766
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The book is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me! To what degree can someone borrow from a text without being accused of plagiarism? The imagery and character development is bland, and the insights into Mr. Darcy’s perspectives aren’t much deeper than Jane Austen provided in Pride and Prejudice. The writing is also very obviously in a current, modern style — the wittiness and elegance of Austen’s original prose isn’t carried through.

 

Darcy’s Story
Janet Alymer
ISBN: 0061148709
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The book is charming but very light. Again, to what degree can someone borrow from a text without being accused of plagiarism? This book is like wonder bread– it will give you a temporary Darcy fix, but quickly you will be wanting something more hearty and fulfilling.

 

 

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife
Linda Berdoll
ISBN: 1402202733 
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Other than sharing the same names, these characters bear very few similarities to Jane Austen’s originals. Their *ahem* passion is described in very vivid details (poor Miss Austen is rolling over in her spinster’s grave!), and the plot line includes multiple murders, infidelities and illegitimate children. Several new characters are introduced (most of them are unpleasant), and the last final chapters take place on a battlefield. Bingley and Georgiana are especially changed, their personalities drastically different than in Pride and Prejudice. Ms. Berdoll’s writing style throughout is unnecessarily wordy and heavy handed, and the story resembles a bad Aaron Spelling soap opera. Where was the editor in this book, pray?

 

Darcy and Elizabeth
Nights and Days at Pemberley
Linda Berdoll
ISBN: 1402202733 
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The horror continues with more Dynasty-esque story lines. Darcy in the beginning chapters is very dark and morose, and the story plods and clunks along. Don’t bother with this one; buy a cheap harlequin romance instead. The story lines and literary value are about the same.

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2 responses to “Sequels

  1. Pingback: Elizabeth, Part II « musings on pride and prejudice

  2. Spot on ! My sentiments exactly.

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