It’s About Time Somebody Wrote About Colonel Fitzwilliam!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
Colonel Fitzwilliam – what do we know of him? In a direct manner, Jane Austen tells us that Colonel Fitzwilliam is “not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman.” In addition, we see his charismatic and genial nature in his conversations with Elizabeth; and can assume that he is responsible and conscientious since he was selected to be Georgiana’s guardian. But that is hardly enough, is it? Colonel Fitzwilliam is right up there with Captain Wentworth and Colonel Brandon as one of Jane Austen’s most intriguing and dashing military men. And Janeites everywhere have being dying to know more about this captivating, well-bred, and irresistible officer!
In her debut novel, Karen Wasylowski delivers a satisfying sequel to Pride and Prejudice that augments the character of Colonel Fitzwilliam. In this dual plot novel we spend part of the time witnessing Darcy and Elizabeth in their third year of marriage, and part of the time with the celebrated military hero, Colonel Fitzwilliam as he tries to determine what to do with his life. Along the way we encounter an indomitable yet daffy Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a terribly wicked and wanton Caroline Bingley, and small glimpses into the lives of the Bingleys and Mr. Bennet. This novel’s central characters are Darcy, Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth, Lady Catherine, and newcomer, Amanda Penrod.
VOLUME ONE: Fitzwilliam Darcy A Gentleman
In this Pride and Prejudice sequel we witness the turmoil and havoc that pregnancy can create in a marriage. My goodness! Poor Elizabeth started to resemble Mrs. Bennet and Lydia! She was irrational, hysterical, unreasonable, and peevish. I can easily understand Elizabeth being shocked and distressed by Darcy’s premarital liaison, but her reaction was very much out of character. Moreover, there seemed to be more scenes with Darcy and Elizabeth in throes of bitter battles and tantrum-throwing tirades than not. While I like to see Darcy and Elizabeth traverse some rocky roads (as I did in Mr. Darcy’s Secret and A Marriage Worth the Earning), the conflicts between Darcy and Elizabeth and their behaviors in this novel just didn’t sit right with me. (2.5 stars)
VOLUME TWO: Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam An Officer
What a treat it is to see the brawny, fearless, and self-deprecating Colonel Fitzwilliam in love. In this tale, Richard, while battling his own demons from the war, falls in love-at-first-sight with an American widow named Amanda. Their whirlwind romance is passionate, tempestuous and delightful. Amanda Penrod is the lovely creation of Ms. Wasylowski; I love that she is sensible, intelligent, a devoted mother, and that she constantly challenges the colonel and keeps him on his toes. (4 stars)
VOLUME THREE: The Family
I absolutely loved the relationship Ms. Wasylowski’s manifested between Darcy and Fitzwilliam! The camaraderie, sibling rivalry, and love/hate relationship between them was spot on! I took pleasure in their well-aimed barbs, good-natured teasing, and dry sarcasm. It sort of reminded me of Algernon Moncrieff and John Worthing in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, with that same acerbic wit. I will issue a warning though; their language can be a little crude and readers should expect some profanity.
Besides the relationship between Darcy and Fitzwilliam, the other aspect of this novel that I enjoyed the most is Ms. Wasylowski’s unique portrayal of Lady Catherine. Yes, she is still a haughty, tyrannical force to be reckoned with, but in this novel she possesses a softer side and loves her two nephews as if they were her own children. It was nice to see her private thoughts and witness her fretting about her nephews welfare and happiness. Unfortunately, since she is getting up in years, Lady Catherine sometimes became a little confused, or perhaps she was only pretending to be befuddled… There are two devilishly funny scenes where Lady Catherine uses her creative wiles to insult and castigate two obnoxious and loathsome women. It was brilliant! (5 stars)
(Whew! There are a lot of reviews out in the blogsphere for this novel right now! Sorry mine is so long, I tried condensing it.)