Feb 102011

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)


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)

Overall, I found Karen Wasylowski’s much anticipated debut novel to be a praiseworthy addition to the world of Austenesque novels! Despite my grumblings about Darcy, Elizabeth, and her pregnancy, I found much amusement and pleasure in this novel! I sincerely hope we will see more from Ms. Wasylowski in the future!

(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.)

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  6 Responses to “Darcy and Fitzwilliam – Karen Wasylowski”


    I find it funny that Col. Fitzwilliam’s first name is Richard–Austen never reveals his first name in P&P, but so many stories (mine included) in which he features, he is Richard!

    Reading about Lady Catherine as a real person instead of a monster is promising, though.


    Col. Fitzwilliam is one of my favorite characters next to Darcy. I love their banter in almost any story I read with them in it. I really looked forward to this book!

    I agree with your review. Elizabeth’s fit throwing tantrums were not to my liking (that is just not how Elizabeth acts in my mind). I loved Richard and his Amanda. I wasn’t too sure about Lady Catherine but that was just a small objection. I enjoyed all but part one of the story!


    I’ve been reading such wonderful things about this book. I agree that Col. Fitzwilliam needs his own story. In the film and TV adaptations, he’s always homely. I guess as a contrast to the handsome Darcy. But when I write about him, he’s always a hunk.


    Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

    @JaneGS – That is so true, I most commonly see him with the first name Richard. I like it, it’s a good name for him I think. I wonder who was the first one to give him that name?

    @Candy M – Thank you for sharing your thougts! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my opinion of Elizabeth’s beahvior.

    @MarySimonsen – He’s always a good looking guy in my mind, Mary! I’m curious to know your thoughts on this novel, I think I remember you saying you ordered it.


    I liked this novel and, as you stated at the end of your review, I too really hope Karen is going to give us more delightful moments with a new sequel or spin-off.
    Richard …I name I like very much indeed. I immediately noticed the choice and agreed with it. I sounds a perfect match, Richard Fitzwilliam.
    Glad you liked it too, Meredith. Have a good Sunday!


    thank you everyone for such kind words. I thought that Jane Austen described him as not as handsome as Darcy (as if) but with a wonderful charm. That’s how I picture him, and very funy too. Thanks again.

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