A Pride and Prejudice Sequel about Anne de Bourgh
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Darcy and Anne, originally self-published as A Letter from Lady Catherine in 2007, is a Pride and Prejudice sequel that takes place two years after the Darcy’s marriage and identifies Mr. Darcy’s sickly and unmarried cousin, Anne de Bourgh, as our heroine. Many readers have often wondered whatever became of Anne de Bourgh after Pride and Prejudice. Did she find happiness? Did she ever marry? How did she survive living with Lady Catherine after the marriage of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy?
I, for one, am delighted that authors, such as Judith Brocklehurst, have penned Pride and Prejudice sequels that focus more on Anne de Bourgh than Darcy and Elizabeth (other authors include Carrie Bebris and Joan Ellen Delman). I feel a great sympathy for Anne and I believe that there is more to her than being plain and sickly.
The only way for Anne to gain happiness and independence would be for her to escape from the power of her domineering and overbearing mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. On their way to Pemberley (Lady Catherine’s attempts to find a husband for Anne at Rosings were not successful so she must search elsewhere) Lady Catherine injures herself and must remain at a hotel 15 miles away from Pemberley until she can travel again. Lady Catherine soon becomes enamored with Burley, the water resort town where she is detained, and enjoys the attention her rank and wealth give her there. She also anticipates the arrival of the Duchess of Stilbury and decides to remain in Burley while Anne travels the rest of the way to Pemberley with Darcy and Georgiana. At last, here is an opportunity for Anne to experience some freedom, happiness, and possibly love…
I enjoyed seeing Anne grow as a person and receive a “makeover;” she transformed into a delightful heroine. However, there were a few things about this book that I did not like, one being the lack of romance. I was very happy to see a couple of hints of romantic interest between Anne and another character, but I was surprised that after a mere week and a few conversations both characters arrived at the conclusion that they were in love. No emotions, no suspense, no tension, just “he loves me, and I love him.” In addition, I frequently felt Lady Catherine’s character and actions were very implausible; I don’t think she would relinquish her hold over Anne so easily.
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Anne de Bourgh and to readers who will not mind the characters of Elizabeth and Darcy being in the background. The title of this novel is a little misleading because Darcy is not a major part of the story, it is mostly about Anne de Bourgh. I didn’t mind the lack Darcy and Elizabeth; I found it a refreshing change to have a sequel about Anne de Bourgh even though it did not satisfy me completely.