Sunday, January 30, 2011

Darcy and Fitzwilliam by Karen V. Wasylowski

Plot: Mr. Darcy and his beloved cousin Col. Fitzwilliam have been as close as brothers their whole lives. Now, Darcy is married and facing the birth of his first child. Fitzwilliam has sworn to stay single forever, that is until he meets an American named Amanda.  Not only will Fitzwilliam have to convince Amanda to marry him, but that her son from her first marriage will be safe with them. After the young couple run from Amanda's former mother-in-law they find themselves hiding at the Darcy estate.  Meanwhile, Caroline Bingley still has not given up on wanting Mr. Darcy for herself, and is not letting a little thing like him being married get in her way.  Can the two cousins survive the women in their lives and raise their new families or will all of London fall victim?

There were some interesting twists in this story.  Caroline Bingley being more of a tart, Anne de Bourgh being more of a hypochondriac, and Catherine de Bourgh being a comedian all gives a new layer of normality to the iconic characters.

I was much surprised with the direction Catherine de Bourgh was taken in, then anything else. Seeing her moments of outrageous teasing of Caroline Bingley as well as her staff had me laughing out loud.
There is also a slight hint at something romantic between Catherine and Mr. Bennet at times, which I would have liked to see more of actually.
The bulk of the novel is about Fitzwilliam, and makes for a much more interesting subplot then the title first suggests. As we follow him through his nightmares, his obsessions, and his redemption.

The scenes in which Elizabeth has meltdowns because of being pregnant were tired for me on the whole. I could have done without the birthing scene as well. It was there, it seemed, mostly to build a bridge between the two women -Elizabeth and Amanda- but didn't lend itself to really much else.
I also found the epilogue a little bit of overkill, just an extra chapter that wasn't really needed.

All in all, I enjoyed this story more then I have with other recent Austen sequels.  I thought that focusing on the Colonel as the tragic hero refreshing and the softness of Catherine long over due. The story is laced with humour and written with the ability to capture the attention of both die hard Austen fans and newcomers alike.

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