In celebration of two hundredth anniversary of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, I’m taking part in the Austenprose Bicentenary Challenge for 2013.Here is the original blog post if you are interested. The idea is to pick a challenge level (Ie: how many Pride and Prejudice inspired books, be they prequels, sequels, non-fiction, fan-fiction, etc., or movies or miniseries) then post our review on your blog.
This month I am reviewing Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliott
My first foray into Jane-ite fiction (not this book, a previous attempt) didn’t go so well. As a matter of fact, it was so bad I wiped it off my list of books for this challenge and replaced it with something else. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this one, but I’d heard it was a fan favorite. Well, consider me one of those fans. I want you to know, I am going to try really hard not to gush about this.
Here is the blurb:
Mr. Darcy’s younger sister searches for her own happily-ever-after.
The year is 1814, and it’s springtime at Pemberley. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have married. But now a new romance is in the air, along with high fashion, elegant manners, scandal, deception, and the wonderful hope of a true and lasting love.
Shy Georgiana Darcy has been content to remain unmarried, living with her brother and his new bride. But Elizabeth and Darcy’s fairy-tale love reminds Georgiana daily that she has found no true love of her own. And perhaps never will, for she is convinced the one man she secretly cares for will never love her in return. Georgiana’s domineering aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has determined that Georgiana shall marry, and has a list of eligible bachelors in mind. But which of the suitors are sincere, and which are merely interested in Georgiana’s fortune? Georgiana must learn to trust her heart and rely on her courage, for she also faces the return of the man who could ruin her reputation and spoil a happy ending, just when it finally lies within her grasp.
When we meet Georgiana Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, she is a bit of a mouse. If memory serves, I don’t think she says a word of actual dialog. Elizabeth recognizes her alleged “pride” as shyness. Here she a few years older and under her sister-in-law’s gentle guidance and good example, she has seasoned a little. She is still a shy girl, but she isn’t satisfied to stay that way.
“I said before that I hate being shy, sometimes. But it is more than that. If I could change one quality in myself, I would wish that I could stand and fight more easily, rather than wanting to run away and hide every time I am shocked or afraid.”
I like that. It’s something I totally relate to. Miss Darcy might be shy, but she has pluck. When a gypsy woman starts to read her fortune, Georgiana stops her, mid-gush. “Hadn’t you better stop while you’re ahead?” I asked. “There aren’t all that many more nice, promising-sounding adjectives you can use to describe this mysterious gentleman.” Well, instead of getting a gypsy curse dumped on her head, the old woman laughs and tells her a true fortune. She says that a former love is going to come back and everything is going to change. Considering she is surrounded by possible suitors brought in my Lady Catherine, here known as Aunt de Bourgh, she is glad to hear it.
This is more than a romance – this has a wonderfully layered plot. There is Aunt de Bourgh, bound and determined to see Georgiana engaged. There is cousin Anne, who Georgiana wants to draw out of a shroud of imagined frailty. A mysterious Frenchman who fled the revolution has his eye on Caroline Bingley… or does he? And what is Caroline up to, sneaking out of the house and disappearing at odd hours? And then there is cousin Edward Fitzwilliam, the man Georgiana has been in love with since she was six years old. He has returned from the war suffering from a wound, and not entirely himself. Something stirs between them, but Georgiana fears he still sees her as a child. And of course, there is romance. It shows up in unexpected quarters, it runs away, it gambols in the meadows. I don’t want to ruin the pairings!
This was such an enjoyable, well balanced read. Great voice, wonderful main character, who is likable but not perfect. Mystery. Romance. Foolishness. Delight. Ok. that’s enough. I guess I better stop before Georgiana chides me for my excessive use of adjectives.
There is a sequel that I haven’t gotten yet.