It is the year 1818, twenty-one years after the stirring events of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
Mr Darcy and Elizabeth have gone to Constantinople, while their five daughters descend on the dangerous and dashing world of Regency London. The world is changing, but opportunities for women are limited, as intelligent, independent-minded Camilla soon discovers - and Society is unforgiving of those who transgress its rules.
The sisters are assailed on all sides by the temptations of London, with its parties and balls, gossip and scandals, intrigues and schemes, not to mention the inevitable heartbreaks arising from proximity to so many eligible - and ineligible - men.
In MR DARCY'S DAUGHTERS, Elizabeth Aston presents a new variation on a Jane Austen theme, introducing a wonderful array of memorable and amusing nineteenth-century characters in a witty, lively and perceptive tale of Regency life.
Darcy and Lizzy would NEVER have had daughters as stupid as these! Horrible, horrible. I'd give this book negative eight stars if I could.
In terms of tone, this book is like Jane Austen as written by US Weekly. The narrative has ADD and jumps all over the place. Characters behave as if they're Paris Hilton's contemporaries - and talk that way too, calling each other sluts and whores. How could anyone who has read P&P - not to mention a self-proclaimed "passionate Jane Austen fan who studied with Austen biographer Lord David Cecil at Oxford" - think this is appropriate?
The novel is cluttered with characters (presumably to populate an entire series of abominations based on P&P) and they are all clumsily recycled from Austen. Aston gives the Darcys five daughters just like the Bennets: eldest Letitia has Jane's looks but Mary's personality, Camilla is Elizabeth without the wit or the sense, and twins Belle and Georgina are both Lydia. Darcy and Lizzy are thankfully in Constantinople for the entirety of the book and unmolested by Aston.
The plot is likewise ripped off.
Daughter #5 Alethea had potential and a few of the scenes with Camilla and Wytton were decent, but unfortunately they were crushed by the monumental, steaming pile of crapulence that was the rest of this novel.
Update (6/11/18): I'm no longer planning to read the next book. According to a GR friend who knows I like squeaky clean reads, the following issues are introduced in the next book. So while I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Darcy's Daughters, I probably won't be reading the sequel unless it falls into my lap for free. And even then, I'm iffy about it.
Mr. Darcy's Daughters by Elizabeth Aston is first in a series of sequels to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. This Regency romance comes closer to the style of Jane Austen's novels than any other book I remember reading.
Rating: 4 stars
Premise: Darcy and Elizabeth are out of the country with their five daughters entrusted to the care of Colonel Fitzwilliam, now Mr. Fitzwilliam, and his second wife, who are living in London. The ages of the girls are very similar to those of the Bennet sisters in Pride and Prejudice.
I enjoyed this book so much. Since I find reviews so helpful in finding clean historical romances to read, I take the time to rate reviews as helpful or not helpful on Amazon after after I read each book. I was pretty shocked at the high number of reviews rating this book three stars or fewer! So I'm going to depart from my usual review format to discuss the issues so many people had with this book, and hopefully reassure potential readers that this IS a great book!
What I'm going to get out of the way first is that this was a clean book. Many of the reviews I read made it sound smutty, and it wasn't. Yes, there were a couple of things Austen didn't (and probably wouldn't ever have) put in her books. There is reference to a homosexual. You briefly read about a man and woman alone in a room kissing. That's it. The one thing that was weird, and I agree just didn't fit, was Colonel Fitzwilliam lecherously looking over the Darcy sisters at one point.
A few reviewers contested the chronology of the book, saying that as P&P took place in 1811, the book is NOT, in fact 20 years later. After looking around, I found this info: Jane Austen first wrote it as "First Impressions" between 1796 and 1797, but it was only published in January 1813. Cliff Notes online and Pemberly.com both agree with the 1811-1812 time frame for the events of the book. Seems like these reviewers are probably in the right about this issue. However, Elizabeth Aston may have taken the standpoint that the events take place around 1797, and if the reader can move on from there, it shouldn't take away from the enjoyment of the book!
Many disliked the parallels of Darcy's Daughters to Pride and Prejudice. I actually found it quite cleverly done with many nods to P&P, yet Darcy's Daughters is a completely original story. I was extremely impressed at how Aston manages this, and I find it interesting that it was a sticking point with so many reviewers.
Specifically, the most common complaint seems to be that Darcy and Elizabeth would never raise their daughters in such a way that they would so closely mimic the five Bennet sisters. I agree that this is probably the case. However, I would venture to say that it is not outside the realm of possibility since the girls are daughters of Elizabeth Darcy, who is in turn the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Nature as well as nurture . . . It didn't bother me, but remember, I thought that Aston's indirect references to Austen were done so well, and from my point of view, this was another parallel to P&P to be enjoyed.
Many reviewers felt that the characters of Fitzwilliam and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner did not match up well with Austen's depiction. Fitzwilliam does seem incredibly stern, more so than I would have expected him to be. But with 20 years gone by, becoming a husband and father, and the heavy responsibility of watching over five Darcy girls, not to mention what almost happened with Georgiana Darcy twenty years earlier, his character transformation doesn't seem unreasonable. I don't remember noticing any deviations from the Gardiners' original characters, but I do remember thinking that certain speeches and/or actions definitely DID line up with the way Austen drew them.
At least one reviewer commented on the name Aston being close to Austen. The “about the author page” specifically states that while Elizabeth Aston is a writer's pseudonym, it IS her married name!
Several reviewers referenced at least one place where the incorrect person's name is in the book. I only noted one, in a place where Allingham was saying a phrase credited to Wytton. That WAS pretty confusing, and I read it three times before I realized it was an error. But please don't think this book is riddled with errors, because it's not!
Some reviewers said that the characters were two-dimensional or wooden. I certainly wouldn't go that far, though there isn't a major metamorphisis of the characters. I think this was an event-driven story rather than a character-driven one! And the cast was huge, which can impact how much character development there can be.
Lastly, some said that Darcy's Daughters was not written with Austen's wit, and I agree with this. However, I do believe that when you have another author writing a sequel to a book not her own, you need to expect to find some differences. Based on one of the study questions at the end of the book, I believe that this dissimilarity was deliberate.
The bottom line: Please don't pass up the chance to read Darcy's Daughters if you're a fan of Pride and Prejudice.
I have a weakness for P&P fanfic, but this was pretty ridiculous.
In the original Pride and Prejudice, the silliness and eccentricity of the younger Bennet girls is put down to the poor breeding and empty head of Mrs. Bennett and the general laziness in Mr. Bennett. Surely, if that is the case, daughters raised by Darcy and Elizabeth should be vastly better bred and behaved.
Instead we get five daughters once again: Letitia who, though the family beauty, is given to dour predictions, hysterical worries and preachiness (Jane and Mary combined); Camilla who is witty, well-read, speaks her mind and is pronounced on the page to be like her mother; twins Belle and Georgina, who are simply Lydia and Kitty; and youngest Alethea, who manages to be original by being smart or outspoken like her mother, but also devious and secretive.
Darcy and Elizabeth have turned out to be appalling parents, it would appear. (Oh, there are the required "heir and a spare" of schoolboy age tucked safely back at Pemberly where we needn't be bothered with them.)
And apparently, though Letitia is 21, Camilla 19, and the twins 17, (Alethea, 16, is "still in the schoolroom") their parents have never brought them to London. That is, until Darcy is sent to Constantinople on a diplomatic mission and Lizzie, showing all the mother instincts of a frog, goes off with him, leaving all five daughters in the care of Colonel Fitzwilliam and his very young wife.
Yes, Lizzie's conviction that younger sisters should not be held back from coming out simply because older ones are not yet married has apparently resulted in never allowing *any* of them to enjoy a debutante season in London, never in their youth taking them into town to benefit from the masters, never introducing them to or guiding them through the first dazzling effects of male attention. She has instead dumped them like a sack of cats onto the doorstep of a young mother and then made a hasty retreat to part so foreign that communication is a matter of weeks and months.
The madcap tomfoolery that proceeds from this preposterous theory is mildly entertaining and a quick read, but it is definitely among the worst of the post-P&P books out there and I was horrified that the author has written at least four others. Completist though I am, I do not intend to read any more of her nonsense.
I purchased this book on a whim since two of my favorite things to read are Jane Austen novels and decently-written fanfiction. I think this qualifies in both categories.
This is not a great novel, and the author is most certainly not the next Jane Austen. Most elements from the book are lifted directly from Pride and Prejudice. Darcy and Elizabeth had five daughters:
1. Beautiful but stubborn Letitia, who becomes the outraged moral center for the girls and is highly obnoxious about it. 2. Camilla, who is Lizzy all over again, only slightly more attractive. 3. Georgina, twin number one. 4. Belle, twin number two. They're described as one being fair like the sun and the other being dark like the moon, and both being incredibly beautiful. Hello, literary cliche. 5. Alethea, who is by far the most original character of the lot. Unfortunately, she isn't the focus of this novel at all, but I understand the author wrote another one all about her.
In order to break slightly from the original, Darcy and Elizabeth also have two young sons, but they're barely mentioned in the text. Additionally, their parents have only brief mentions as well - the book is centered on Camilla.
Camilla, as I said, is Lizzy. She's the second-born daughter, clearly her parents' favorite, full of wit and vivacity and a slightly better dose of good looks than her mother had. She falls in love with a man, ignorant of some of his more nefarious doings (hello, Wickham!). She recovers, then falls for a man you would never have imagined her to marry at the beginning of the novel - except you see it from a mile away because it's Darcy all over again.
This is not to say that it's a terrible book. It's simply not original. But it was a fun, fluffy sort of read and while I would rather have bought the book on sale rather than at full price, I'm sure I'll reread it eventually so it's rather nice to own it.
Turns out there's quite a cottage industry of prequels, sequels, alternative points of view, and variants on Jane Austen's novels. This one is OK, but really just a standard Regency rather than owing anything to Austen. Although some of the characters bear the same name as their P&P counterparts, they are sadly altered: Mrs. Gardiner is inexplicably changed from someone of Mrs. Bennet's generation to one of Lizzie's, and it's hard to believe that the Col. Fitzwilliam who so admired Lizzie back in the day could turn into such a stuffy blowhard. The author avoids several hard choices, also: Wickham has conveniently died, leaving Lydia free to remarry fashionably. Even Caroline Bingley, poisonous as ever, makes an appearance. But none of this has any real effect on the story. Again, the witty second daughter meets a strong-willed man who initially resists her attractions, then succumbs. Again, a frivolous younger daughter absconds with a man, precipitating a frantic search in hopes of averting a scandal. We've seen it all before, and better.
Acceptable paraliterature. Elizabeth Bennett’s five daughters are mild versions of herself and her sisters: Letty, the eldest, is beautiful but moralistic and anxiety-ridden, ending in being irritatingly fond of scenes. Camilla, our heroine, is loving but unaware of her own heart. Twins Belle and Georgina are a beautiful Kitty and Lydia, and Althea is the most original of the lot, a musical prodigy with Darcy’s looks but none of his attention to proprieties. They are all flung to London (with weak explanation as to why the 19 and 21-year olds haven’t been there before) where their cousin Sophie Gardiner is engaged to Mr. Perfectpants Whytton and have various run-ins with beaux.
The plot could use some tightening as the major stories don’t really run all the way through and a (historically appropriate perhaps) homophobic plot rings rather false. On the other hand one does really get a sense of a society solely focused on marriage and reproduction, a real feeling that humanity is like any other group of animals, aimed at continuation of the species. Usually characters are enough to overcome that thrust but here the arc of evolutionary history seems to overcome humanism. Or at least my attitude of the day does.
The presence of Lydia isn’t strong enough to have bothered with and I wonder if this might have been better had it been conceived of as a book-for-each-sister so there could have been a better pull through each story. None of the male characters show to advantage. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and Col. Fitzwilliam (or perhaps this is not Colonel?) have changed character quite a bit. Noting will convince me that Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy could have raised those twin girls who were so foolish, either - isn’t it one of the points of P&P that Lydia’s neglected upbringing plus stupid mother plus headstrong personality led to her downfall? Surely our Lizzy would have corrected the first two problems. And at any rate, Lydia seems to be just fine here as the wife of a rich second husband, fast but not so ignorant and idiotic as one might expect of such a girl in later life.
The writing is not too bad, and though there are salacious situations there are no descriptions of same.
Well, I read this book in about a week. I couldn't put it down. I loved it! I thought it was very well written. The romance was really good. The scandal was fun, but never bad because what was considered bad in those times was almost acceptable today, so it was nice to read a book without having to worry about anything being crude. It was such a good read! I was worried that the language would be too flowery, but it was totally fine. I've never read Pride and Prejudice, but this book made me want to because it's like a sequel to P&P. Totally recommend it!
One of my goals this year is to read and review older Austenesque books, so I thought that Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston would be a good place to start as it was published in 2003.
The story begins twenty years after Pride and Prejudice left off and tells us the story of Mr. Darcy’s daughters first season in London. Similarly to the Bennets, there are five Darcy girls, Letitia who is the eldest, Camilla who is similar to her mother Elizabeth, Georgina and Belle who are twins, and Alethea, the youngest. The girls also have some brothers but they are only mentioned in the story, just like Darcy and Elizabeth who are in Constantinople and do not make an appearance.
When I started reading this book, I knew that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth would not be at the centre of the stage, but I was not expecting them to be completely missing from the story, which was a minor quibble I had with the book. Even if it was necessary for them to be absent for the plot to work, I still missed their presence, especially because all the other characters were new to me. In fact, because we were introduced to so many new characters in the beginning of the book, not only the girls, but also their relatives, friends and acquaintances, it was very hard for me to feel any real attachment to any of them, and for the greatest part of the book I was not very engaged with either the characters or the story.
In terms of characters there were a few I liked and a few I disliked. Aunt Lydia, for example, was really fun to be around with (Wickham is long gone), and Wytton was certainly the best character in this book with his resemblance to Darcy in terms of personality (even if I cannot understand his fickleness of heart). But Fitzwilliam was a despicable character I could not enjoy due to his coldness and obtuseness, and Sophie was truly annoying which is a strange fact to accept when I think she is the Gardiners daughter. The same applies to Mr. Darcy’s daughters whom I could not like. Their behaviour was scandalous and not at all what I would imagine from girls raised by Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. The only one I started caring a little about was Camilla, and that was only towards the end of the book.
In terms of plot, I think the idea was interesting and it was nice to see a little more of the ton, but what I enjoyed the most was Camilla’s romance towards the end. If the book had been only about that I think I would love it very much, however, there were too many scandals and elopements for my taste in this story. It was mainly this exaggeration of scandalous behaviours from Mr. Darcy’s daughters that made me dislike the general plot. I am not particularly fond of Lydia, so seeing so many of Darcy’s daughters having Lydia like behaviours was truly a disappointment for me.
Mr. Darcy’s Daughters is a very well written book released at a time when not many ventured into Jane Austen Fan Fiction. It has its own merits for bringing to live so many new and different characters but unfortunately, the exaggeration of certain behaviours coming from certain characters, the farfetched explanations and the language that was often used prevented me from enjoying it more.
Me gusta mucho más esta autora como Elizabeth Edmondson. Las hijas de Darcy me han caído gordas, y me han parecido muy descocadas y muy tontas para ser hijas de Mr. Darcy y de Elisabeth. En mi opinión, su comportamiento no se corresponde con la época.
This was AWFUL. Writing a Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel is a way to show your devoted love for Austen's greatest story, but if it reads like fan fiction, its place is on the internet. Aston inserts her unlikeable characters into Austen's London where they play out uncompelling little dramas once, of course, Lizzy and Darcy have been swept out of the country where they can't interfere with the goings-on. How convenient that Mum and Dad are gone at the VERY time every one of their daughters is ripening into marriagable age. Of all the cringe-worthy daughters, I actually find Letitia the most loathsome and the least believable. We all know someone who is pessimistic, but Letty (or Galetea as her family calls her because she is so statuesque and because families totally give nicknames like that) sees doom and death everywhere she looks. If Camilla enjoys a dance, Leticia is certain that the perspiration will cool on her brow causing her to catch a chill which will lead to a wasting illness. Worse is her habit of seeing sin everywhere. Enjoying that book you're reading? A sinful indulgence. A gentleman touched your elbow? You sinful whore. You went to church? You didn't listen carefully enough, sinner. So annoying.
The way Aston writes Society is spasmodic; it seems to at the same time condemn and revel in the same wicked behaviors. In Austen's world, no one speaks about worldly, unrighteous topics in the presence of ladies. The ideal is to protect young doves from the burden of knowledge of sordid things. Here, men speak openly right in front of these young, unmarried girls about their affairs, exploits, and general misbehavior as though these are things to brag about. Within these confusing societal straits, the well-behaved characters in the book fret over What Society Will Think when something scandalous happens... and that's often. At one point, Camilla walks in on one of the twins MAKING OUT with a man--not merely accepting a chaste and loving kiss which is the farthest an unmarried, unchaperoned young girl could possibly go with impunity in the nineteenth-century world, but dress-in-disarray, hands-in-naughty-places, gasping-for-breath MAKING OUT. Instead of rushing into the room to break it up, she leaves them to it, though she is disturbed. In the next moment, she catches her youngest sister Alathea who has dressed as a boy flautist and infiltrated the orchestra playing at the ball. Camilla begins shrieking that the family will be ruined if anyone sees her and HOW could she do this wicked thing and HOW ON EARTH will I get you home without an escort?? Um, huh?
Aston gets every canon character wrong. Where did her Fitzwilliam come from?? He was seriously cool in P&P, why would he suddenly turn into a novel-censoring, fun-killing, marriage-contract-negotiating old curmudgeon?
Oh, and another thing: in several places in the narration, Camilla's name was sometimes Camille. I guess the author and the editor failed to catch those oopsies and assumed the reader would too.
This book was ultimately a huge disappointment, and I teetered between the one and two star ratings. Thanks to a heads up from Andrea, I went into this with a fairly good idea of what to expect. Ultimately I felt that the decision to remove Darcy and Elizabeth from the narrative was a wise one (one always has fierce notions of what this beloved literary couple should be), and I felt the exposition of the book was fairly strong. In particular, I appreciated the references to the literature of that time period; namely, Thomas Peacock, Boccaccio, Maria Edgeworth and Mary Shelley. In my opinion, the heroine's name is an allusion to the fiction of Frances Burney, a writer many claim contributed greatly to Jane's literary imagination. However, no Jane Austen revision/sequel seems to be complete without butchering at least one Austen character. Mr Fitzwilliam and Mrs Gardiner were, for me, notable examples of this consistent trend in Jane fanfare.
I could have overlooked such a minor irritation, had the text not been so heavily weighed down by melodrama and antiquated principles of superficial propriety. The author was so eager to illustrate the social restrictions of the Regency period, that she became consumed by them. As for the melodrama, it engendered a 'messy' atmosphere for the reader and became the antithesis of what Austen stood for. Her books, in a way, are the same simple story that has been told time and time again: a boy and a girl falling in love. But the characters she creates are so vivid, her tone and humor so bright, that her writing inevitably stands apart from other cliched tales of courtship and marriage.
In Aston's novel, the relationship between Camilla and her future husband was not fully or realistically developed; their story became secondary to a couple of ideas the author reiterated far too often. If Camilla and her story claimed a larger portion of the narrative, I may have enjoyed it more. As it was, I was hard pressed to become emotionally invested in a couple I felt I barely knew.
Really fun, well written, and romantic! It follows the story of Pride and Prejudice and their daughters, thier romances etc. It is a series, actually, that I plan to finish when I have the time! She does well with following up in the same style as Austen.
This book did better than a lot of other books in the genre, which is not saying much. I had fun reading it and am immediately about to dive into another P&P fanfiction because my appetite has been WHETTED.
That said, there was a cardinal sin committed here:
Character issues. Inaccuracies, and also general choices that strain the suspension of disbelief.
This book took the general P&P imprint (lots of daughters, navigating social struggles, portraits of people's character and behaviors, etc.) and just cranked it up. We have a moralizing daughter, an "essentially Elizabeth Bennet" daughter, not one but TWO Lydias, and a daughter whose chosen way of getting in trouble is more like something you'd expect from a swashbuckling adventure novel.
The setup is all... more than a little familiar, but that's not an issue on its own. This is Pride and Prejudice fanfiction, after all. That's what we WANT.
Some familiar characters come into the story, and some are totally absent. What's weird, though, is that some familiar characters are altogether unrecognizable.
Both of the Gardiners suffer from being out of character in minor but consistent ways. The egregious one is Colonel Fitzwilliam. Like. Is this the same man? Lizzie liked the colonel. She had fun talking to him and compared him so favorably to Darcy! This bullheaded, misogynistic disciplinarian is not someone Lizzie could have ever enjoyed hanging out with for more than three seconds. I know it's convenient for him to act that way for the story, but it's completely and unforgivably out of character.
And then there are the girls. We have the same silly behavior, cranked up to eleven. The same dissipated, rakish behavior cranked up to heights never before mentioned in a Jane Austen work. One problem here is that pretty much all the girls except Camilla (Lizzie) are flat caricatures. They each have approximately one character trait - MAYBE two, if you stretch. And they don't seem to like each other at all. Each one is pretty much ignorant of all the others' activities and interests, and seem to enjoy spending as little time together as possible.
The worst issue, though, is the way they act. I mentioned the silly behavior.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought it was an established fact in the original P&P narrative that so many of the Bennet sisters were so overtaken by their own personality flaws because of the way Mr. and Mrs. Bennet raised them. Combination of their mother's influence and their father's lazy lack of influence. Right? Am I crazy?
Riddle me this. How then could daughters raised by Darcy and Elizabeth turn out THREE TIMES as silly and vice-laden?
This really, truly strains belief. The gimmick of getting Darcy and Elizabeth to go abroad is clever and makes this whole premise work even as far as it does. But the further you read in the book, the wilder the behavior becomes. Even remembering that Darcy and Elizabeth exist at all brought me out of the story whenever they were mentioned. It is borderline impossible for Darcy and Elizabeth's daughters to turn out as stupid, selfish, unthinking, and promiscuous as this except if they had all been away at boarding school for their whole lives -- and by all accounts, they had all been raised very closely at Pemberly!
I know we need some way to generate drama for the story, but this is not it. Other things were minor, like repeating exactly Lydia's entire plotline to the point of Camilla (Lizzie) falling in love under almost exactly the same circumstances (Man Helps Save Sister From Ruin). But really, those are the kinds of things you expect from fanfiction and even look for.
The poor character work was hands down the biggest issue the story had, and the only thing that really negatively impacted the enjoyability of the reading experience.
Second book this year I did not finish and no have no plans to continue (I won't be giving it a star rating for this reason.). As a sequel, it was just riding the coattails of much better book. On it's own, what I did read of Mr. Darcy's Daughters was bland and hard to follow.
Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy are two of the most intriguing and beloved characters in English literature. If you plan to write a story based on them, do not remove them entirely from the picture by sending them to Constantinople. The only two "daughters" who vaguely resemble their parents are Camilla and Alethea -- and that is only vaguely. The twins should have been Lydia's daughters, and I don't know where Letty belongs.
This book is like nails on a chalkboard for anyone who loves Jane Austen.
I hated the characters, everything that could go wrong in the plot went wrong, and misogyny met feminism in a battle of extremes that left you never wanting to read another conversation about “propriety” again. At least everyone could agree that they were going to bash clergymen every other sentence because lol they suck *insert sarcastic heart emoji*
I say I liked it because I sat finishing the second half for five hours straight, so clearly it was entertaining. But it made me feel like I was contributing to the very thing that the Darcy girls were struggling against: I was reading about their scandal and disgrace like I was an old woman wearing an ostrich feather sitting on the sidelines at a ball gossiping with all of my old widow pals. It was a train wreck before trains were invented. So while I was entertained, I was disappointed in myself. Not that these characters deserved sympathy, they got what was coming for them GEEZ.
I hate to be “that person,” but I really think Elizabeth and Darcy would’ve raised better kids. There, I said it. I KNOW THEY’RE FAKE CHARACTERS, but COME ON. And don’t tell me that this is how Jane Austen would’ve wanted it. I know she wasn’t writing romance novels but rather books that critiqued the sorry state of rich society, but this?
I will say, everyone’s fear of Darcy finding out what happened during this book is HILARIOUS. He’s not actually around (he’s on a diplomatic mission in Constantinople which I would much rather have read about) but the amount of power he exerts on the guardians of these girls is priceless.
And yes, I finally finished it after starting to read it a year ago. I skimmed the first half of the book again and made a list of all the characters like it was a 1000 page Russian novel with such notable entries as:
-Layard is “short and round and genial”
-Mr Barcombe is a young clergyman, likes Belle, but she, LIKE ALL OF HER SISTERS EXCEPT LETTY WHO LIKES THE CREEPY ONE, doesn’t like clergymen. I would choose him out of everyone in a heartbeat.
-Sidney Leigh is the vampire. He also almost married two people. Mrs Rowan doesn’t think they’ll work but hasn’t told Camilla. Update: he be gay and has run off to Italy.
"Picking up twenty years after Pride and Prejudice left off, Mr. Darcy's Daughters begins in the year 1818. Elizabeth and Darcy have gone to Constantinople, giving us an opportunity to get to know their five daughters, who have left the sheltered surroundings of Pemberly for a few months in London. While the eldest, Letitia, frets and the youngest, Alethea, practices her music, twins Georgina and Belle flirt and frolic their way through parties and balls and Camilla -- levelheaded and independent -- discovers what joys and sorrows the city has to offer an intelligent young woman. Readers will delight in the return of such beloved Austen creations as Elizabeth's old nemesis Caroline Bingley (now Lady Warren), the ever-reliable Gardiners and wayward Aunt Lydia.
"Charming, beautifully written and full of societal intrigue and romantic high jinks, Mr. Darcy's Daughters is a tale that would please Austen herself." ~~back cover
It is quite the romp, with one societal drama following closely on the heels of the prior one. Interesting glimpse into a London season -- the pettiness, the jealousies, the rigidity of society rules ... any Jane Austen fan will enjoy these further adventures of the Darcys.
I hardly ever rate books one star, simply because I don't read one star books. If I pick up a book it's because it has been properly vetted. However, this was a book club read, and since I made the chooser read an 1,100 page book I figured I'd return the favor.
First of all, I am not a fan of retellings or fanfiction type books in general. I'm kind of a purist snob that way, so I am not the intended audience. That being said, the inaccuracies were distracting, the writing was poor, the characters were abominable.
Would not recommend. I will however, reread Pride and Prejudice happily.
This book was written well, and I liked Camilla and the amount of depth given to her character, but the book would’ve been a lot better overall if the author hadn’t just pretty much copied all the big events from Pride and Prejudice itself. At that point, it’s not so much a sequel as a retelling, and where’s the originality in that?
i paid $1.99 for this book at a thrift store, but i wish i only paid $1. this book was so boring and plodding. the structure and pacing was not strong. the characters were all so flat and the main romance was not set up very well.
Society sucks, I like to think things have gotten better since then. Also I don't see how Elizabeth and Darcy could have raised the twins and Letty as they are just ridiculous. It was nice to be so immersed in the world but glad to be done with the characters.
It was…. a little too… too…. Too much. Too long. Too rushed. Too tied up at the end. Too many unlikeable characters. Too spiteful. And too fractured. Also – too homophobic. I will address that all at once, after I am done with the rest of the plot review.
It started out well. I thought the voice was good for a Regency era romance. But it had so many of the Regency tropes – the young girls run wild has run its course for me. There are 5 Darcy girls. Letitia, the prig, who preaches at everyone and is still mourning the loss of her fiancee. Camllla, who is clearly a copy of her mother, having those dark, lively eyes. She’s a good girl, very likable, and the only one who is. Then there are the twins, Belle and Georgina who I couldn’t keep straight. They are 17, wild and unruly – basically, Kitty and Lydia from the original. Then there is Alethea, who might have been the most interesting. She is a musical ingenue who has her own wild streak, and will not keep silent when she has an opinion. She is very observant, and has a way of putting things that cut right to the heart of the matter. This doesn’t go over well in polite Regency society, so she is often sent from the room.
Basically, Mr. Darcy has taken a diplomatic post in Turkey just when his girls are ready to come out. They’ve come to have a season in London with the Fitzwilliams (you remember Captain Fitzwilliam, Darcy’s cousin?) The twins are 17, just on the verge of coming out, but they refuse to stay in the schoolroom and are soon running wild over Fanny, Mr. Fitzwilliam’s wife, who is sweet and kind and believes the best of everyone. Camilla and Letitia try to warn her (Letitia sees disaster in everything and is a total nightmare). All the girls find a way to cause a scandal, and frankly, it was all too much.
Too, again. Too much black and white in the characterization of all the girls. There was nothing to like about anyone but Camilla. No one had any depth. London was a quagmire of rumor and gossip, we know that, but so much going on was just unbelievable. And it felt formless. The indolent Lady Warren, who is former Caroline Bingley, is bent on ruining Darcy’s daughters, but she’s very ineffective. She’s all bluster and no follow through. So it just felt a little muddy and like the plot rambled, it had promise, but none of those things came to fruition. Instead, all hell broke loose and then it was all wrapped up very neatly.
I did enjoy reading it until the part where all hell broke loose. I wanted more. I wanted to see some real friendship between women instead of all the cattyness. I felt the romantic possibilities were lukewarm. I didn’t like our love interest until very late in the game. I didn’t want everything to be so hateful. And speaking of hateful.
I like to think this wouldn’t be published now, unless by a Christian publisher. Why? Because of the homophobia in the name of historical accuracy. I know that homosexual men were demonized and imprisoned, the word “sodomite” hissed in their wake during this period in history – homosexuality was illegal in England. There is a homosexual man in this and they way he is presented, I think I’d rather he were an out-and-out villain. People are unnerved by him, the characters “see” things in his eyes that aren’t quite right. Before he is “revealed” as a homosexual, you know there is something “off” with him but you don’t know what. Not that a homosexual can’t be a villain, or a bad person, but this character is flat and his “deviance” is what defines him. There are one or two people who somewhat defend him, both men, but one is the most vile person in the whole book. I have read historical fiction with homosexuality in them and though the people are in the closet “for historical accuracy”, the characters around them are compassionate and treat them like people. In this, our main character and everyone around her is horrified by the discovery that he is gay. It causes a scandal, her name is in the mud, and just the way it is presented made me sick. I mean, we are clearly supposed to think this person is an animal, an unnatural creature, in the parlance of the day.
If not for that I would give Elizabeth Aston another try, as I think she has a handle on the Regency period and her writing style is good. But there are ways to be historically accurate, and be compassionate. That is all for now, and to most of you, I say Happy Reading. I normally don’t do spoilers in reviews, but below I mention another problem I have about the plot, but I won’t tell you how it wraps up. Skip the paragraph below if you don’t want to know about my main problem with the plot.
I mean, one elopement is a plot in a Regency romance. Two is a trainwreck. I know Austen did it once but Mansfield was a morality tale. I just felt that it took a book with a directionless plot off the rails.
En grande fan de Jane Austen, j’avais vraiment hâte de découvrir ce roman et de voir comment l’auteure allait construire son histoire. La couverture est juste magnifique et nous met bien dans l’ambiance de l’époque. La quatrième de couverture laisse présager une histoire mouvementée avec au programme amour, famille et trahison ce qui m’a donné encore plus envie de lire ce roman.
L’intrigue du roman est basé sur le séjour des cinq filles Darcy à Londres pendant que leurs parents sont en voyages à Constantinople. Les thèmes de la bonne société d’antan, la bienséance, l’amour, la famille mais aussi la trahison sont abordés de façon simple et très agréable. Niveau originalité, on quitte la campagne et on découvre avec joie Londres, ses fêtes mondaines, ses bals et ses rues, le tout décrit avec précision et justesse à tel point qu’on s’y croirait presque.
Dans ce roman nous faisons donc la connaissance des cinq filles de Mr Darcy et Elisabeth. L’aîné, Letty, m’a juste profondément agacé! Suite à une grosse déception amoureuse, elle devient horripilante, toujours à faire la morale à ses soeurs et à se mêler d’histoires qui ne la regardent pas. Le seul moment ou je me suis mise à l’apprécier, c’est à la fin du récit lorsqu’elle finit par redevenir normal… La suivante est Camilla qui m’a énormément fait penser à Elisabeth dans Orgueil et Préjugés et je l’ai beaucoup apprécié, autant pour son caractère que pour son dévouement et sa façon de voler au secours de ses soeurs. Viennent ensuite les jumelle Belle et Georgina. Deux jeunes filles complètements délurés qui se fichent totalement des convenances et ne pensent qu’à s’amuser et flirter. Je dois avouer qu’elle m’ont pas mal fait sourire et ont fortement contribuer à mettre de l’ambiance dans le récit. Vient la dernière, Aléthea, qu’on pourrait croire douce et discrète. Elle n’en a pas moins un caractère bien trempé et un sens aiguisé de la répartie! Elle sait ce qu’elle veut et dit bien souvent ce que tout le monde pense tout bas. J’ai beaucoup apprécié cette jeune fille à la fois fraîche et drôle et son amour pour la musique.
L’histoire nous est raconté par l’auteur de façon, très agréable. Le vocabulaire est riche et colle parfaitement avec l’époque du roman mais reste tout de même accessible et compréhensible. Le style d’écriture est fluide même si parfois on pourrait reprocher quelques longueurs et descriptions pas franchement indispensables. L’histoire est intéressant et même si on pourrait reprocher à l’auteure d’avoir repris un grand nombre de chose au roman Orgueil et Préjugés de Jane Austen, elle y a mis sa touche personnelle et sa manière de raconter qui m’ont séduite. J’ai adoré me replonger dans cette époque et découvrir Londres et ses festivités. L’histoire est intéressante et j’ai beaucoup aimé voir les filles Darcy évoluer dans un univers qu’elle découvraient pour la première fois, univers rempli de codes et de pièges avec son lot de commérages et de médisance mais aussi des personnages hauts en couleurs et originaux comme par exemple Mrs Rowan. Il n’y a pas énormément d’action si ce n’est à la fin mais l’auteure a su garder mon attention et me donner envie d’en savoir plus et de continuer ma lecture.
Pour conclure, c’est une lecture que j’ai beaucoup aimé même si on y retrouve beaucoup de choses prise dans Orgueil et Préjugés. On passe un agréable moment de lecture et on se replonge avec joie dans cette époque et dans la découverte de Londres et ses mondanités. Je vous recommande cette lecture!
A friend lent this to me, and while I don't usually like fan fiction, I trust her judgement generally. I felt sad and frustrated reading this book. Sad because Camilla felt so alone and beleaguered when dealing with her horrible sisters, rotten brat of a cousin Sophie, and unfeeling cousin Fitzwilliam. She makes no real friends her age, and has no friends among her sisters. For a daughter of Elizabeth and Darcy she seems very abandoned, which I find not only hard to believe but a betrayal of those two characters as parents. Everything goes so wrong for the girls, especially Camilla--and wrong in ways that aren't funny. I think Aston seriously underestimates the consequences her heroines' actions and behavior would have had in 1818. Jiltings, elopements, and the other various scandals they are involved in would have been much more serious. And while the threat of consequence is mentioned, none really happens.
Frustrated because while Aston has certainly studied her Austen vocabulary and turns of phrase ("in the year two"--hello, Persuasion), she has no ability to draw deeply thought-out, realistic characters. They are all very one-dimensional stereotypes, and worse, they are inconsistent. At one point Camilla argues for what a good girl Sophie is, and yet we've only ever seen Sophie be rude and badly behaved. What's with Wytton "hating" clever women? Because a woman who doesn't sound at all smart had spurned him? And then suddenly he's Camilla's amused ally regarding the Boccaccio? And WORSE, they are all unlikable! Letty is wholly unbelievable as a character from the first page, as are the twins, especially as they are all supposedly the children of Elizabeth and Darcy. And where is Jane? If the real Elizabeth Bennet was anywhere in this author's consciousness, she would have sent the twins to Jane, knowing the city wasn't for them without her and Darcy there. As it was, the twins never would have gone to any of those parties if they weren't out, and the fact that they had snuck out would have been IMMEDIATELY reported (gloatingly) back to Fanny by half of society, and they would have been absolutely ruined. Absurd. Besides, Elizabeth would have met this version of Fitzwilliam, who is nothing like the affable Fitzwilliam of the original, and would not have entrusted her girls to him.
I could go on--just save yourself the trouble and reread Austen, or branch out into authors like Maria Edgeworth, Fanny Burney, Elizabeth Gaskell, or (writing later), Georgette Heyer if you need a good bonnet fix from this general time period.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.