Leslie's Reviews > Eliza's Daughter

Eliza's Daughter by Joan Aiken
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Dec 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: regency-era, england
Read in December, 2010

I read "Eliza's Daughter" by Joan Aiken while hot on a streak of Jane Austen sequels and otherwise inspired novels. Having been disappointed with most other modern writer's efforts in this genre, I found Joan Aiken's books to be much better than most. She never takes the reader behind bedroom doors, but skillfully alludes to such subjects in a way that I found classy, not at all prudish. This talent is seen the most in this particular novel. How could it not? It's about the love child of Willoughby and poor Eliza, ward of that darling Colonel Brandon I love to love in Sense and Sensibility. We hear her story from her lips and she lets us know almost all of it, only hinting at the awfull bits. Thank you for that, Ms Aiken. One does not need to know the gory details of how badly women can be treated by men, especially when caught in the middle of war. Knowing what happened is awfull enough, and all the story needs. We also learn of all the major characters of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, though light hearted readers of fluffy happy sunshiney novels will not like how the Dashwood females end up in this book. This is a very realistic novel, almost brutal at times, but never more than I could take. I suspect some readers will be turned off by how sad things get before they improve. Improve they do! Be patient, gentle reader, and you'll have your happy ending. There are also a few of those wonderful surprises I love Ms Aiken for that keep the pages turning but are never ridiculous. I like how she again, skillfully, gives me that happy ending I'm hoping for without spoiling the story with ridiculous miracles. All her characters pay a price for their happiness. If I had to sum up my feeling on this novel, I would say "bittersweet". And the most important statement of this reviewer: I would read it again. In fact, I'm piling up the Aiken books lately and plan on reading them all again. I have very little room in this house for more books, so now have an iPad to fill up. I'll be clearing out alot of old books but won't consider parting with any Joan Aiken books ever.
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