Category Archives: Austen Sequels

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

Like an undiscovered treasure just waiting to be unwrapped!

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James
Berkley Trade, December 31, 2012
Historical Fiction/Regency Time Flip
Paperback 432 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:4.5 stars

Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes–or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year-old poetry book is a letter that she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that “went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire.”
Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?
Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work–until she mentions its possible multi-million dollar value.

After discovering the unattributed manuscript, Samantha and Anthony are immediately absorbed in the story of Rebecca Stanhope, daughter of a small-town rector, who is about to encounter some bittersweet truths about life and love. As they continue to read the newly discovered tale from the past, a new one unfolds in the present–a story that just might change both of their lives forever.

I had not read any of Syrie James’ work before, but after reading her newest novel she has me sold on her writing skills. This novel comprises of a novel within a novel as we are treated to the contemporary story of Samantha who hunts down and discovers that there is an unpublished story written by Jane Austen. She then has to beg the sexy owner to do the right thing and allow the work to be published. (While fighting her attraction to him, she has to struggle to remember that she has a boyfriend, so it turns into an interesting romance story). But.. we are also treated to the (astutely imagined) unpublished work of the epic authoress herself, Jane Austen, called The Stanhopes.

All the prerequisites of an Austen novel are there.. from the whimsical heroine to the doting father, and misconceptions of characters and a quaint mix of everything we love about Austen. I was quite impressed with the Austenesque prose, and it has me wondering what I missed with a previous novel of Syrie James, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

The author has done her Austen homework, and I recognized a character from the novel immediately, as she named a friend in the story Laurel Ann in honor of Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose.com as she gave her expert advice to the author. I loved the plot line and how the present day plot sort of mirrored our own emotions as the characters read through the story the same time as we did. Very clever, and I can really imagine all of the story actually being true since the clues and facts (however imagined) seemed to really sell the mystery of the lost manuscript. Very well done!

Check Historical Fiction Connection on 1/9/2013 for a guest post and GIVEAWAY!

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Filed under 2012 Releases, 2013 Review, Austen Sequels, Syrie James

Review: Jane Austen Made Me Do It: An Anthology edited by Laurel Ann Nattress

Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart edited by Laurel Ann Nattress
Ballantine October 11, 2011
Paperback 464 pages
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:

22 Austenesque short stories: Regency or contemporary, romantic or fantastical, each of these marvelous stories reaffirms the incomparable influence of one of history’s most cherished authors.

Whatever it is about Jane Austen and her nuance, it has inspired and entertained for two hundred years. The classiness of her writing and of the era is what hooked me.. a romance can just be a romance (without the nowadays obligatory embarrassing sexual entanglements) and it is pure good natured fun and witty humor. In this anthology edited by Laurel Ann Nattress, the myriad of traits that made Austen into a genre of her own are embodied full force and unabashedly displayed much to our delight as it infuses the old fashioned and the modern together seamlessly.

Favorite Austenesque authors are featured, and then a few that I had not heard of, as well as an aspiring writer’s short story all make up this homage to Jane Austen that would make her smile. Who would’ve thunk that after a mere six novels that she could inspire so much creativity and wit? And despite the recent rise of Austen sequels, this anthology of many quaint stories never got old for this reader, and I was impressed with all the clever approaches in which Austen themes can be recreated, intriguing and entertaining me with new characters and their stories. This collection of stories is a must for all fans of Jane Austen, and it is a great tool for introducing the authors of the Austenesque genre as well.

All of these short stories were very well done, omitting the epistolary one that bothered me Because of the Way that All the Words Were Capitalized and I just Could Not Function for More than Two Pages Reading like That. I did have a few favorites, one by Monica Fairview, an author I had read and enjoyed before, and the other by an author I knew I had to get to soon, Amanda Grange. Jo Beverley evoked a Louisa May Alcott vibe with her mistletoe story, and Captain Wentworth may have eclipsed the legendary Mr Darcy within these stories. I want to make clear that the stories within Jane Austen Made Me Do It are all original stories that you have not read anywhere else, as another anthology in a different genre perturbed me as they were all regurgitated stories.

I must admit to being a bit blasphemous.. as I seem to be on the verge of reading everything sequel-related and thus far I have only physically read Pride and Prejudice. Yet, I’ve seen the movies, and read some sequels, and read this anthology, I feel quite at home with almost all of Austen’s original characters. So if you haven’t read all of Jane Austen’s novels, never fear: you will be quite at ease with this clever presentation, as there really is a little bit of everything for everyone. Kudos to Laurel Ann Nattress, an Austen Blogger Extraordinaire (http://austenprose.com/) who was able to make her dream come true, and I hope that there is a Jane Austen Made Me Do It Sequel, which would of course be in fashion with the recent Austenesque trends.

I am proud to be a part of Laurel’s Grand Tour of which she will stop by Burton Book Review on November 3rd, but until then, you can ride along with Laurel and try to snag your own copy of the book during her tour stops. The list of stops on her Grand Tour can be found here.

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Filed under 2011 Releases, 2011 Reviews, Amanda Grange, Austen Sequels, Lauren Willig, Monica Fairview, Regency

Book Review: Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (April 1, 2011)
ISBN-13: 978-1402251863
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating:4 stars

This prequel to Pride and Prejudice begins with George Wickham at age 12, handsome and charming but also acutely aware that his friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is rich, whilst he is poor. His mother encourages him to exercise his charm on the young Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh in the hopes of establishing a stable of wealthy social connections.

 At university, Darcy and Wickham grow apart. Wickham is always drinking and wenching, whilst Darcy, who apparently has everything, is looking for something he cannot find. Wickham runs through the money Darcy gives him and then takes up with the scandalous Belle, a woman after Wickham’s own greedy, black heart.

Wickham’s Diary is a quick little foray into Austen’s famous Pride and Prejudice characters and is worth each little page it is printed on. It can be seen as a sort of prequel to P&P from wicked Wickham’s point of view as he grows more and more jealous of the brooding Darcy. Everything Wickham has he owes to the elder Mr Darcy’s generosity, yet George Wickham had known from the start that he must marry an heiress in order to sustain his lifestyle. Not a very likable character is he, but a fun read nonetheless as I really enjoyed the inside look at George as he schemes for his fortune.

The best part of the story was learning the background of George’s parents, and I loved the character of his mother. Our favorite Darcy himself is not a big feature, as this novella is written diary style through Wickham and speaks of how annoyed Wickham is with Darcy. Georgiana is indeed a more featured character as George sets his sights on her, and I really wish the ending hadn’t ended the way it had because it felt like there was a lot more to occur at that particular moment. There was no real sense of closure, but perhaps the author was leaving that up to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice itself. Also, one must take into account this is a novella, and was seemingly meant as a explanatory precursor to the wild antics of George Wickham in Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed it very much, and would have loved to have read it as an in depth novel. Grange’s writing is perfect for evoking Austenesque tones and I look forward to perusing her backlist such as Mr. Darcy’s Diary: A Novel, Captain Wentworth’s Diary and Colonel Brandon’s Diary.

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Filed under 2011 Releases, 2011 Reviews, Amanda Grange, Austen Sequels, Regency

>Book Review: Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell

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Pemberley Ranch by Jack Caldwell
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (December 1, 2010)
Literature/Fiction
ISBN-13: 978-1402241284
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
The Burton Review Rating: Great story!

When the smoke has cleared from the battlefields and the civil war has finally ended, fervent Union supporter Beth Bennet reluctantly moves with her family from their home in Meryton, Ohio, to the windswept plains of Rosings, Texas. Handsome, haughty Will Darcy, a Confederate officer back from the war, owns half the land around Rosings, and his even haughtier cousin, Cate Burroughs, owns the other half.



In a town as small as Rosings, Beth and Will inevitably cross paths. But as Will becomes enchanted with the fiery Yankee, Beth won’t allow herself to warm to the man who represents the one thing she hates most: the army that killed her only brother.


But when carpetbagger George Whitehead arrives in Rosings, all that Beth thought to be true is turned on its head, and the only man who can save her home is the one she swore she’d never trust…

Pemberley Ranch is not your ordinary Pride & Prejudice sequel. It mirrors Jane Austen’s famous literary characters somewhat, and borrows from some of the themes, and then author Jack Caldwell spins us a yarn of wild west fun. The author has been an avid fan of Jane Austen and his debut novel would probably make Austen proud (and perhaps a bit scandalized, but in a good way!). The Bennet family is relocated from Ohio to Texas just after the American Civil War, and the family learns to adjust to becoming southern while mourning the loss of their brother due to the war. Down the road at Pemberley Ranch, brother and sister Will and Gaby Darcy welcome the Bennets to the neighborhood while trying to break through Beth Bennett’s toughened exterior.

We also have a Cate Burroughs who is the overbearing and quite greedy mother to the innocent Anne Burroughs, as well as several new characters in the Texas settlement such as posse and lawmen. Shady deals are underfoot that will affect all of the members of the Texas community of Rosings, but the question is who is involved, and how far will they go to get what they want?

Although not something that is Austen-like, I still enjoyed the western spin on the story. It was completely original and not just another rehashing of how Darcy wins the girl, as this author had no qualms to make the original story disappear in the dust of the wild horses’ hooves. The writing was styled succintly and not in the melodramatic female tones, as it dealt more with the shady George Whitehead and the aftermaths of the Civil War. I loved connecting some of these new characters with the old P&P characters, but was surprised at how much I enjoyed the way the author intrigued me with this western story. A great read for those readers who like a bit of gunfighting and romance rolled into one.

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Filed under 2010 Releases, 2010 Review, Austen Sequels

>Book Review: A Darcy Christmas by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan and Carolyn Eberhart

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A Darcy Christmas by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan and Carolyn Eberhart
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (October 1, 2010)
Review copy provided by Sourcebooks, thank you!
ISBN-10: 1402243391
ISBN-13: 978-1402243394
The Burton Review Rating: The Burton Review, 4 stars

This is something different for Darcy fans: a novella collection! Christmas and the spirit of Jane Austen. Bring on the cinnamon and apple cider aromas! Each author’s individual story is reviewed separately:

Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol by by Carolyn Eberhart
This was the first story in the book and is also a debut for the author. Right away she remonstrates that the elder Mr. Darcy was dead as a door nail, several times, which made me wince. Thankfully, she gets past that quickly enough and goes into the lamentations of the younger Mr. Darcy (our favorite Mr. Darcy) of how Lizzy spurned his request for her hand. Georgiana, Darcy’s younger sister, is featured as she adds a nice touch to the story by being a sweetheart and treated as such. Warm and fuzzy feelings! Hold on to your reticules, as ghosts are haunting Pemberley!

Starting off as more of a macabre type of story, the typical elements of ghosts and spirits take over as Darcy goes on journeys to see the past, present and future. Predictable for both Darcy and Dickens fans this is not a suspenseful read, but the ending makes up for its weak beginning as everything is tied up into a happy package for a Darcy lover.

Christmas Present by Amanda Grange
This was a short and sweet little story about Lizzy and Darcy as they expect the birth of their first child during the Christmas season. Lizzy’s older sister Jane has just had her little boy and the extended family members are spending the holidays with Jane and Charles Bingley at their new house, which was just enough far out of reach so that Mrs. Bennet wouldn’t drop by every day on Jane. The story was complete with the characters that we loved from Pride & Prejudice, and the “scandalized” Lady Catherine and the pushy busy-body Caroline and does a good job of bringing holiday cheer, Jane Austen style. Grange’s next book, Wickham’s Diary, is due in April 2011.

A Darcy Christmas by Sharon Lathan
Off to a weird start was this last novella in the collection. It featured Darcy feeling depressed that Lizzy had spurned his proposal, and yet he couldn’t get her out of his mind. The theme of sexual tension was a bit overly played, as the one reason I enjoy classic novels like Austen’s and Heyer’s is the mere fact that they are always clean and fun. I was a bit put off by Lathan’s sensual undertones, but eventually they went away, which was a good thing because I had half a mind to not even attempt to finish it once it started up about some sex books that Darcy kept locked up. I plodded on, and of course I am glad that I did, because it eventually became a pleasant Christmas story that had a little bit of everything involved. I enjoyed the clan of the Darcys that Lathan created and the personalities of the family members who managed to annoy each other in a loving way. And upon further research, I have learned that Lathan’s Darcy sequels are marketed as sensual Pride & Prejudice sequels, and the 5th in the series is coming in April 2011.

All in all, the collection of Christmas themed Darcy stories was a hit, and I enjoyed the book as a whole. I can’t even pick a favorite out of the bunch, but I think that Darcy and Lizzy fans would be pleased with this Christmas collection which should definitely help the reader get into the holiday spirit!

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Filed under 2010 Releases, 2010 Review, Austen Sequels, Regency

>Giveaway and Interview: Monica Fairview, author of The Darcy Cousins series

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The Darcy Cousins

THE DARCY COUSINS BY MONICA FAIRVIEW—IN STORES APRIL 2010

One might reasonably expect that a young lady dispatched in disgrace across the Atlantic to England would strive to behave with decorum, but Mr. Darcy’s incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning! And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin. And Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her “keeper,” Mrs. Jenkinson, simply… vanishes.

In this tale of friendship, rebellion, and love, two young women entering Society forge a strong connection. A connection that is sorely tested when they both set out to win the heart of a most dashing—and dangerous— gentleman.

Book One: The Other Mr Darcy (2009)
Did you know that Mr. Darcy had an American cousin?!

“In this highly original Pride and Prejudice sequel by British author Monica Fairview, Caroline Bingley is our heroine. Caroline is sincerely broken-hearted when Mr. Darcy marries Lizzy Bennet— that is, until she meets his charming and sympathetic American cousin…

Mr. Robert Darcy is as charming as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud, and he is stunned to find the beautiful Caroline weeping at his cousin’s wedding. Such depth of love, he thinks, is rare and precious. For him, it’s nearly love at first sight. But these British can be so haughty and off-putting. How can he let the young lady, who was understandably mortified to be discovered in such a vulnerable moment, know how much he feels for and sympathizes with her?”

Please welcome Monica Fairview to The Burton Review, again!
See a guest post written by Monica for her previous release of The Other Mr. Darcy
Monica Fairview is Regency romance writer. As a literature professor, she enjoyed teaching students to love reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized that what she really, really wanted to do was to write books herself. She lived in Illinois, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Boston as a student and professor, and now lives in London. For more information, please visit http://www.monicafairview.co.uk//.

 Monica Fairview Interview, author of The Darcy Cousins:

1.Welcome back to The Burton Review, Monica! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I truly enjoyed your second book that follows the Darcy cousins (my review is here). Tell us about what the reaction seems to be from classic Austen fans who are new to adaptations and sequels?

The reviews of The Other Mr. Darcy have generally been very positive, and The Jane Austen Centre in Bath will be taking up the paperback edition (which just came out in the UK) of The Other Mr. Darcy to sell in their gift shop, which is quite delightful. Beyond that, there isn’t any way to know if Jane Austen purists are interested in Austenesque sequels in general. I do hope they’re out there reading The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins.

2. Rest assured that I am one of those who are reading and enjoying your sequels! What have been your favorite Austen movie adaptations and why; fave actors and actresses. If your books were made into movies, who would you choose to star?

I’m a Colin Firth fan through and through, because I think he captures the hauteur of Mr Darcy very well. Macfadyen does a great job as a tormented soul, and he’s more expressive, but he doesn’t convey repressed-passion- simmering-under-the-surface as Firth does. Jennifer Ehle is a playful Elizabeth with a twinkle in her eyes, and I love that aspect of the film. Keira Knightly’s pouting is a bit overdone, I find. However, the 2005 film has the advantage of being more realistic, and more accurate historically. There are wonderful subtle touches like the fact that at Netherfield we see only male servants, which of course conveys wealth, since male servants were more expensive to keep. Lydia is more of a typical teen, which I think goes a long way to explain her behavior, and absent-minded Mr. Bennet is very appealing.

If The Darcy Cousins were made into a movie, I would love to see Jonny Lee Miller as Gatley (he was brilliant in the new production of Emma). Emma Watson fits in with my image of Georgiana, and Carey Mulligan (with darker hair) would be very effective as Clarissa.

3.I adored Miller in the new Emma as well. I quickly became a new fan of his and would love to see Miller play Mr Gatley, he would be delightful! Back to books, tell us some reliable resources as research for your books.

Because of the way I write my books, I tend to go for primary rather than secondary sources. For example, because I wanted to get a sense of how an American would be perceived in England, and how she would perceive England for The Darcy Cousins, I was fortunate enough to find a memoir by Joseph Ballard called England in 1815 as seen by a Young Boston Merchant. This was a wonderful resource as it outlined some of the important events of the year, and really gave me an insight into what things would stand out to someone coming from Boston to England. It was perfect for its purpose. I also went through a diary written by a young school-girl in Boston, Anna Green Winslow, written in 1771. It’s set quite a few years before Clarissa was a schoolgirl, but it gave me a very good sense of how differently the young ladies in Boston were raised from their counterparts in England, since the Puritan ethic was very clearly visible, despite Anna Green’s interest in fashionable pursuits. I don’t emphasize this in The Darcy Cousins, but it’s there, as a background to Clarissa, a reminder that young ladies of Boston were not actually any freer than those in London.

I’m giving these sources as examples because I wanted to illustrate why the references I read wouldn’t necessarily be of general interest. I wouldn’t recommend them for casual reading, though they’re of great value for a historical writer. I’m a big fan of primary sources. Ultimately, if you want to know Jane Austen, it’s good to read books about her. It would certainly reveal aspects of her life or writing that you wouldn’t get to know otherwise, but nothing beats going over her novels with a fine tooth comb.

4.What are the ultimate goals for you if the sky were the limit?

Well, my goal is to be a very successful writer. I wouldn’t mind being on a few bestseller lists 🙂 But really, I’m very pleased with the way things have been working so far.

5. You are on a great roll with your recent sequels! Besides Austen, who do you like to read for fun?

I’m an avid but eclectic reader. For Regency, I love Georgette Heyer, Julia Quinn, Jo Beverley and a host of others. Other “popular classics” I enjoy are Daphne du Maurier, Mary Stewart, and Anya Seton. I enjoy science fiction and fantasy, especially classic authors such as Ursula Le Guin and CJ Cherryh. I pick up current bestsellers arbitrarily – I’m drawn as much by their style as the content. I just read Paullina Simon’s The Bronze Horseman and loved it, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Outlander, Winter in Madrid. If I could read all day I would, but alas, the day is too short.

6.You touched on the Book Blogger Mantra there! So many books, etc… Please share with us, who is your muse?

It depends on what I’m writing, really. Style and rhythm are important to me, and often a particular writer will strike a cord so I’ll keep one of the books next to my bedside to dip into arbitrarily. When I’m writing Austenesque, I immerse myself in Austen, books, films, audios – anything to make sure that voice stays in my head.

7.What has been your greatest obstacle in your writing endeavors?

Wanting to do too many things and ending up doing a bit of each. I’d like to write in a variety of genres, though Regency is my favorite. I also would like to write children’s books, futuristic romance, and humorous contemporary. Impossible to do everything.

8.What has been one your accomplishments that you are proud of?

I graduated from college when I was 19, and I got my PhD when I was 24. I’m pretty proud of that.

9. A wonderful accomplishment! That definitely is something to be very proud of! And finally… please tell us what you are working on next for us readers!

At the moment I’m taking a break from Regency and Austenesque and working on a novel from a different time period. Once that’s done, I have plans to continue the story of Clarissa Darcy, and maybe of Frederick as well. My mind is full of plans. It’s a matter of finding the time to write!

So little time.. again I thank Monica for sparing us some time in her busy life! I would love to read what is in store for Clarissa! 

And now for the bonus: Sourcebooks is sponsoring a giveaway of Monica Fairview’s newest release, The Darcy Cousins : 2 winners, US and Canada only! (no po boxes please).

Please enter for the giveaway by leaving me an answer to the following question with your Email Address:
What has been your favorite Austen-inspired Sequel or Adaptation (movie or book)?

+2 for leaving a graphic link to this post on your sidebar.

Ends April 30th. Good luck!

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Filed under 2010 Releases, Austen Sequels, Author Interviews, Author Post, Monica Fairview

>Book Review: The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview

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The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview
Sourcebooks, Inc. (2010)
Trade paperback (432) pages
ISBN: 978-1402237003
Review copy provided by the publisher
The Burton Review Rating:Four and a Half Stars!
 

One might reasonably expect that a young lady dispatched in disgrace across the Atlantic to England would strive to behave with decorum, but Mr. Darcy’s incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning! And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin. And Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her “keeper,” Mrs. Jenkinson, simply… vanishes.


In this tale of friendship, rebellion, and love, two young women entering Society forge a strong connection. A connection that is sorely tested when they both set out to win the heart of a most dashing—and dangerous— gentleman.

Regency readers have come to enjoy the genre due to its wit, charm, and traditional elegance with humorous maladroitness all bundled up into one happy novel. Monica Fairview seems to have a found a corner on this market, as she has succeeded her first Darcy novel with The Darcy Cousins with as much Regency flair as her first (The Other Mr Darcy), yet with even more improvement. This read was highly enjoyable and kept me intrigued throughout as the younger Darcy cousins, from America no less, wreaked havoc on England’s society and especially at Rosings Park with the imperious Lady Catherine.

In the first novel, Mr. Robert Darcy is introduced as Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy’s American cousin. With this novel, we are treated to Robert’s younger brother and sister, close to the age of Miss Georgiana Darcy, the original Darcy’s younger sister. We see much less of Robert and Caroline in this storytelling however. Clarissa, the new cousin, becomes quite close to Georgiana, and the two young ladies prepare to start their social season together. But, in all due haste all sorts of chaos occurs which effects many of the characters that are new and old to us. Lady Catherine is still true to form with her stubborn pride, and her weak daughter Anne is featured as well. Darcy and Lizzy (called Elizabeth throughout the novel) are also secondary characters throughout, as Elizabeth is supposed to chaperone Georgiana around town.

We are treated to Mr Collins and Charlotte as well, as the Easter holidays are required to be spent with the haughty Lady Catherine at Rosings. The infinite tea soirees were tediously horrible for the younger ones and they could not wait to start their coming out season in London. The multiple characters were well rounded and fun to watch as they interacted with eachother, from the shy Georgiana to the insolent Clarissa and more than one proposal in one day, yet only from those gentlemen who ruffled our sensitivities. Sunny days and boat trips turned into unladylike toes trying to be hidden and stockings being stuffed into reticules amongst hankies. Once we have maintained our hold on the characters, the story focuses on Georgiana for a time as she struggles with the object of her desire. We watch Georgiana take shape before our eyes, even though we tut-tutted some of her attitude, but we never lose faith in her.

Fairview impressively created new characters that blended seamlessly into the original story, though reading the first installment in the Cousin’s series certainly helps. The characters of the two main love interests for the young ladies were a delight and left me in stitches, moreso than her first novel had. I laughed out loud several times throughout this read and after reading this second continuation by Fairview she is now my favorite Austen-inspired author outside of Georgette Heyer, although the newfound wit of Fairview echoes the charm of a Heyer. The Darcy Cousins is absolutely a must read for any Pride and Prejudice fan. My favorite scenes would always include the younger Darcy folk, and I truly enjoyed this continuation which would have made Jane Austen proud. I really hope that she continues with the Darcy series.

Read my review of Monica Fairview’s previous novel The Other Mr. Darcy
See another review from someone quite proficient on the subject here at Austenprose, who is also fabulously famous now that she made it to this book’s front cover stating “Monica Fairview is a skilled storyteller”.

The author will visit the blog for a quick interview and giveaway on April 19th, so be sure to check back then!!

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Filed under 2010 Releases, 2010 Review, Austen Sequels, Monica Fairview

>GIVEAWAY & GUEST AUTHOR: "Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in The World" by Abigail Reynolds

> (See my review)
The Burton Review welcomes Abigail Reynolds with the following guest post:

Please see below on details for the book giveaway!

How do I pick the scenes to change in my stories? By making things easier, then making them harder. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in the World starts with a very dramatic difference. Elizabeth is forced to accept Darcy’s first proposal, and since she knows him to be an ill-tempered and resentful man, she is afraid to tell him the truth of what she thinks of them. Their big conflict comes after they are married. I started writing Pride & Prejudice what-if stories because I was having an argument with Darcy. Yes, I have arguments with fictional characters. I was re-reading Pride & Prejudice for the umpteenth time and came to the scene in the Lambton Inn where Elizabeth confides in Darcy about her sister’s elopement with Wickham. As readers, we know Darcy is already thinking about how to solve her problem, but Elizabeth thinks he’s disgusted by her now and can’t wait to get away from her. It’s fabulous dramatic tension as only Austen can write it. Darcy was about to walk out of the room with a long, silent look which Elizabeth misinterprets as a final farewell. I just couldn’t stand it, so I grabbed Darcy by the cravat and told him that he needed to open his idiotic mouth and tell Elizabeth how he felt instead of assuming she could read his mind. The next thing I knew, I was writing From Lambton to Longbourn.

For the next book, Impulse & Initiative, I started with another moment when Darcy’s choices were making me tear my hair out. He’d written Elizabeth that long letter explaining himself, and now that she actually had a chance to understand him, what does he do? Nothing! If it weren’t for a coincidence, Darcy and Elizabeth would never have seen each other again. So in Impulse & Initiative, Darcy decides to woo Elizabeth rather than giving up on her. Another solution.

One thing I learned in writing those first two books was that it becomes very difficult to keep Darcy and Elizabeth apart once they have a chance to talk openly to each other. I’d never appreciated how hard Jane Austen had worked to throw obstacles in their way to prevent that open conversation. She used misunderstandings, coincidences, plot devices, and the Regency conventions regarding unmarried men and women to prolong the story. It wouldn’t have been much of a book if Elizabeth and Darcy sat down after the first proposal, cleared the air, and fell in love.

It made me want to try to throw some obstacles of my own in their way. I discovered that was even more fun than solving Austen’s problems. In By Force of Instinct, Georgiana became an impediment to our favorite couple finding resolution. In Without Reserve, the scenario came from a discussion with other Austen fans. Someone raised the point that Elizabeth had very few choices when it came to marriage. Mr. Collins was an intolerable fool, and Wickham was too poor to be a serious suitor. At the same time, Elizabeth faced a future of genteel poverty for herself and her family if she didn’t marry. When Darcy returns to make the second proposal, she would have been crazy to turn him down, even if she hadn’t loved him. But what would have happened if Darcy had some real competition for Elizabeth’s love? That led to the invention of Mr. James Covington, a pleasant young man who could provide Elizabeth with a stable future. And when Darcy returned to Hertfordshire to propose to Elizabeth, he found that Mr. Covington had reached her first. Then the interesting part begins!

I pulled out all the stops on obstacles for Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, which will be released in October 2010. Mrs. Bennet’s worst fears come true. Mr. Bennet dies, conveniently forcing Elizabeth to leave Kent before Darcy has a chance to make that first ill-fated proposal. Mr. Collins takes possession of Longbourn, leaving the Bennet women dependent on the generosity of their relations. This knocks Elizabeth down the social ladder several more notches, making her a totally unsuitable potential bride for Darcy. But don’t worry – I always give a happy Darcy/Elizabeth ending!

Thanks for inviting me as a guest blogger. I love talking about Elizabeth and Darcy!

MR. FITZWILLIAM DARCY: THE LAST MAN IN THE WORLD
IN STORES JANUARY 2010!

Synopsis:

In this sexy Jane Austen sequel, Elizabeth Bennet accepts Mr. Darcy’s first marriage proposal, answering the “What if…?” question fans everywhere have pondered

“I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”

Famous last words indeed! Elizabeth Bennet’s furious response to Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal has resonated for generations of readers. But what if she had never said it? Would she have learned to recognize Mr. Darcy’s admirable qualities on her own? Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they struggle to find their way through the maze of their prejudices after Elizabeth, against her better judgment, agrees to marry Darcy instead of refusing his proposal.

Two of the most beloved characters in English literature explore the meaning of true love in a tumultuous and passionate attempt to make a success of their marriage.

About the Author
Abigail Reynolds is a physician and a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast. She began writing The Pemberley Variations series in 2001, and encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking “What if…?”

She lives with her husband and two teenage children in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit http://pemberleyvariations.com/

GIVEAWAY!!

2 copies of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds!!

2 winners, US and Canada only!!!

Ends January 15, 2010.

To enter, comment here with your email address!
Good luck!!

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>Book Review: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in The World by Abigail Reynolds

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Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Last Man in The World by Abigail Reynolds
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 1, 2010)
Fiction / Romance / Historical
ISBN-13: 978-1402229473
The Burton Review Rating:Almost 3.5

In this sexy Jane Austen sequel, Elizabeth Bennet accepts Mr. Darcy’s first marriage proposal, answering the “What if…?” question fans everywhere have pondered
“I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.”
Famous last words indeed! Elizabeth Bennet’s furious response to Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal has resonated for generations of readers. But what if she had never said it? Would she have learned to recognize Mr. Darcy’s admirable qualities on her own? Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy follows Elizabeth and Darcy as they struggle to find their way through the maze of their prejudices after Elizabeth, against her better judgment, agrees to marry Darcy instead of refusing his proposal.
Two of the most beloved characters in English literature explore the meaning of true love in a tumultuous and passionate attempt to make a success of their marriage.
It’s another Darcy sequel! Or is it? I would say this is more of an Austen variation. This isn’t just what happens to Darcy and Eliza after they marry, this one changes the original story so that Eliza feels forced and rushed into marriage. She doesn’t love Darcy, she was actually put in an uncomfortable position when she was caught being kissed by Darcy. So, instead of setting things right, such as smacking him across the face, she demures and accepts his proposal of marriage. Haughty Darcy assumes this is what Eliza wanted all along, and is blind for quite awhile to Eliza’s sad state of heart and mind. “Tears of loneliness and fatigue slipped down her face.”

At first, I wanted to throw the book. Far! The first twenty or so pages irritated me greatly. It resonated with negativity and a hopeless situation, and the Eliza we are introduced to is not at all like we would like to imagine her. The same is true for the horrific Darcy, the guy-who-has-it-all-and-knows-it.. slap!! And he had the audacity to ask Eliza to refrain from seeing her family! “I would prefer to minimize our connections with them.”

GASP!

The story moves on with both Eliza and Darcy becoming slightly more human, thankfully, and the plot gets more dramatic and slightly romantic. If it hadn’t, well then, I can’t imagine I would’ve inhaled this book like I did. As luck would have it, the story picked up its pace with Darcy getting ill and Eliza waiting on him, therefore realizing, hey, I love my husband!! And of course Darcy wakes from his stupor and orders her out of his sight. (Darcy is not exactly loveable in this version.)

It goes on like this, back and forth for awhile, but I was beginning to enjoy the semantics. It reminded me that I have a darling and wonderful husband who doesn’t care a fig about Pemberley, and at this point, that would be a fantastic thing. Darcy was shocked and hurt that Eliza hadn’t loved him, and he felt the whole marriage was a lost cause. Of course he was only human when no one was looking. When Eliza tried to thank him for a gift, he didn’t want her thanks because he felt she said it only out of a sense of duty. Thinking of the actual terms of pride and prejudice, that is exactly what is going on here between these two wanna-be love birds. Thankfully, it gets a little deeper than that, and we even meet Mr. Wickham and Lydia again while on their illicit flight. We don’t meet Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, unfortunately, and there are just a few scenes with sister Jane and previous best friend Charlotte. We do, however, add depth to the story with Darcy’s little sister, and also with the commoners who live on Pemberley where there are a few adventures in that area.

All in all… with just 256 pages, this was a quick read, the writing style itself was easy to get lost in, and if Darcy and Elizabeth weren’t such stubborn people most of the time I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. The first quarter of the book was a bit of an annoyance, as mentioned, due to the adverse characterizations of two beloved characters. And then, as with many romances, we went back and forth between the lack of communication and then great sex and then lack of communication..and back in bed again. Sex? Austen? What? Moving past that, I think this one could be recommended to those Darcy fanatics out there. Those that enjoy the classic story the way it was meant to be, may be a little affronted with the whole plot.

For those Jane Austen junkies out there, this book is a reissue of Reynold’s “Impulse & Initiative: What If Mr. Darcy Didn’t Take No for an Answer?” and “Last Man in the World” and “The Last Man in the World: A Pride & Prejudice Variation” so if you’ve read any of these before, this is the same story.

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>Mailbox Monday~ Tudor Mania and another Austen Sequel!

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. And I am adding what I purchased, swapped, etc.

I received some fabulous books for review here on the blog:Jane Seymour: Henry VIII's True Love by Elizabeth Norton Jane Seymour: Henry VIII’s True Love by Elizabeth Norton:

“Jane Seymour is often portrayed as meek and mild and as the most successful, but one of the least significant, of Henry VIII’s wives. The real Jane was a very different character, demure and submissive yet with a ruthless streak — as Anne Boleyn was being tried for treason, Jane was choosing her wedding dress.

From the lowliest origins of any of Henry’s wives her rise shows an ambition every bit as great as Anne’s. Elizabeth Norton tells the thrilling life of a country girl from rural Wiltshire who rose to the throne of England and became the ideal Tudor woman.” 240 pages; Amberley (July 2009)

The Six Wives of Henry VIII by David Loades:

“The story of Henry VIII and his six wives has passed from history into legend — taught in the cradle as a cautionary tale and remembered in adulthood as an object lesson in the dangers of marying into royalty. The true story behind the legend, however, remains obscure to most people, whose knowledge of the affair begins and ends with the aide memoire ‘Divorced, executed, died, divorce, executed, survived’.

David Loades’ masterly book recounts the whole sorry tale in detail from Henry’s first marriage to his brother’s widow, to more or less contented old age in the care of the motherly Catherine Parr.” 240 pages; Amberley (July 2009)

In a win from Historically Obsessed:

Lady Vernon and Her Daughter: A Novel of Jane Austen’s Lady Susan by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

“Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan was written during the same period as another novella called Elinor and Marianne–which was later revised and expanded to become Sense and Sensibility. Unfortunately for readers, Lady Susan did not enjoy the same treatment by its author and was left abandoned and forgotten by all but the most diligent Austen scholars. Until now.

In Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway have taken Austen’s original novella and transformed it into a vivid and richly developed novel of love lost and found–and the complex relationships between women, men, and money in Regency England.Lady Vernon and her daughter, Frederica, are left penniless and without a home after the death of Sir Frederick Vernon, Susan’s husband. Frederick’ s brother and heir, Charles Vernon, like so many others of his time, has forgotten his promises to look after the women, and despite their fervent hopes to the contrary, does nothing to financially support Lady Vernon and Frederica. When the ladies, left without another option, bravely arrive at Charles’s home to confront him about his treatment of his family, they are faced with Charles’s indifference, his wife Catherine’s distrustful animosity, and a flood of rumors that threaten to undo them all. Will Lady Vernon and Frederica find love and happiness–and financial security– or will their hopes be dashed with their lost fortune?

With wit and warmth reminiscent of Austen’s greatest works, Lady Vernon and Her Daughter brings to vivid life a time and place where a woman’s security is at the mercy of an entail, where love is hindered by misunderstanding, where marriage can never be entirely isolated from money, yet where romance somehow carries the day.” Crown/RandomHouse (October 6, 2009)

I also received Diane Haeger’s newest release, “The Queen’s Mistake“. The good news for YOU is I have an interview ready to go with the author, and if you check back later today you will see your chance to win your very own copy of this book!

The Queen's MistakeWhen the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart’s desire in favor of her family’s ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon-her own romantic past. The Queen’s Mistake is the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the court and the yearnings of her heart.”

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Filed under Austen Sequels, Mailbox Monday, Meme, Tudor