May 13, 2010

Review of "The Darcy Cousins" by Monica Fairview

Synopsis:  A young lady in disgrace should at least strive to behave with decorum...

Dispatched from America to England under a cloud of scandal, 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, to the delight of a neighboring gentleman. Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her "keeper" Mrs. Jenkinson, simply...vanishes. But the trouble really starts when Clarissa and Georgiana both set out to win the heart of the same young man... (published on Amazon)

This is author Monica Fairview's second Pride and Prejudice sequel and the first I've read.  I expected that I would enjoy it, based on the synopsis, but I didn't expect to love it as much as I did.  In short, Monica Fairview has a new fan in this reader. 

Ms. Fairview's writing is warm, engaging and utterly captivates the reader.  I was transfixed by the story from the opening paragraph until the last line.  Ms. Fairview takes Jane Austen's existing and much beloved characters - - Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana - - and even those a little less beloved - - Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine, Anne deBourgh and Mr. Collins - - and entertwines them with new characters Robert Darcy, Clarissa Darcy, Frederick Darcy, Percy Channing and Henry Gatley, among others. 

What I loved most about these new characters is not only how vividly Ms. Fairview sketches them out but how I could easily imagine them being Jane Austen's own creation.  In this way, Ms. Fairview stayed true to the essence of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen's vision. 

In Pride and Prejudice, Georgiana is very much a secondary character who is primarily given life through her brother's story and personality.  In The Darcy Cousins, Georgiana very much comes into her own and I thoroughly liked her.  She is an enjoyable person, both a socially proper young lady of wealth and status and a determined and spunky fighter. 

Her American cousin Clarissa Darcy is a pleasing addition to the roster of Austen inspired characters.  The fact alone that she raises Lady Catherine's ire makes her a real jewel and I got a chuckle out of how many of her missteps and faux paus were attributed to her American upbringing.  Clarissa's backstory made for an interesting read and I hope that Ms. Fairview will continue her writing with a book on Clarissa's continued story.

Henry Gatley was a wonderful hero and I was happy with the parallels between Mr. Gatley in this book and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.   Throughout the book I was rooting for Mr. Gatley and hoping that all the fictional characters would like him (even love him) as much as I did. 

If there was any part of The Darcy Cousins that I would change it would be Elizabeth's personality, which I felt was a bit underdeveloped and missing that wit and verve that was so spectacular in Pride and Prejudice.  However, Georgiana and Clarissa being major characters and so well developed eradicated any true disappointment I may have had. 

All in all, I devoured this story and hated for it to end.  It was a joy to read and I often found myself lost in this incredibly good book for a splendid week.  Has any producer thought to snap up film rights because in my opinion, The Darcy Cousins would make a fun and entertaining miniseries.

I would highly recommend The Darcy Cousins for anyone who appreciates not only Jane Austen sequels but also historical fiction.

The Darcy Cousins is available for purchase now at major booksellers, inclouding Amazon and Barnes & Noble

For more information about author Monica Fairview, please visit her website here and her blog here.

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.


Tales of Whimsy said...

I love when I love a book so much I don't want it to end.

Great review :)

Meredith said...

I was a littl in love with Mr. Gately too! I am glad you enjoyed The Darcy Cousins! You should definitely go read The Other Mr. Darcy as I am sure you will love it! Beautiful review, Lori!

Teresa said...

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of this one. I hope it comes soon!