Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Friend
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Sequel
TIME FRAME: 2 years after the close of Pride and Prejudice
SYNOPSIS: It is time for Georgiana’s debut into society and even though she is a wealthy heiress that has reached a marriageable age, Georgiana is understandably wary about her own powers of discernment and the false flattery or possible insincerity of her suitors. While she has no pressing inducements to marry, Georgiana would be willing to if the right man came along. Is that man a charming navy captain that Lady Catherine is trying to persuade to marry Anne? Or is he the young architect who isn’t afraid to boldly challenge and disagree with Georgiana? Or is he someone else altogether?
WHAT I LOVED:
- Georgiana Darcy: I love that this story shines a spotlight on Georgiana a little, and that she is a decisive young woman who has grown wiser and more confident. In addition, after observing Elizabeth’s saucy and impudent remarks to her husband, Georgiana has developed a penchant for impertinent speech herself! (Some readers may need to suspend their disbelief a little.) I enjoyed this less timid and meek Georgiana. I love that she isn’t in a hurry to marry and cares more about supporting and spending time with her brother and sister. And I admire Georgiana’s ability to speak her mind. Especially when she goes toe-to-toe with Lady Catherine!
- New Characters: Several new male characters are featured in this sequel and they all were interesting and well-crafted additions. My favorite new characters were James Leigh-Cooper, who is the outspoken and talented architect hired to improve Pemberley and Mr. Beasley, who is Mr. Collins’ new curate that is a great deal less conceited and obsequious. However, I also enjoyed encountering Mr. Darcy’s godfather, Sir Geoffrey Portland, and seeing if Elizabeth could win his approval. It looks like Lady C has effectively influenced Sir Geoffrey’s opinion against Mr. Darcy’s new bride.
- A Clever Tie-In: I think it is great fun that the authors borrowed an actual situation from Jane Austen’s life and added it to this sequel. What a lovely homage that only devoted Janeites would pick up on! While some may say it is a little implausible, I don’t think it is. After all, it did happen to someone in Jane Austen’s family! And the authors chose their character and situation well.
- Brave and Reverent: This is a sequel published in 1993 and while it is hard not to, it really shouldn’t be compared to the Austenesque literature that is published today. It is pre-Colin Firth, Darcy-mania, and online forums! These authors are somewhat early pioneers of the genre, and at the time they were writing these stories, many readers felt authors writing in Jane Austen’s tone and about Jane Austen’s characters was sacrilege. I greatly appreciate the bravery it took to write this story, as well as the careful and reverential treatment of Jane Austen’s characters.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Focus and Arc: I kind of wished this sequel focused more on Georgiana throughout the novel. There were several smaller plot lines developing throughout, and sometimes we’d go a few chapters without checking in with her. I’m not usually one to mind multiple plot lines and perspectives, but I guess the story arcs in this sequel felt a little jumbled. And the time away from Georgiana made me feel less connected to her story. In addition, while the other plot lines were enjoyable they weren’t as engrossing as Georgiana’s.
- Pacing: The exposition of this story was beautifully done and all the characters, conflicts, and story-lines were brilliantly introduced, but then there were some slower-moving chapters followed by an abruptly-paced conclusion. I loved all the exciting action that occurred towards the end, I just wish it was more drawn out. Especially Georgiana’s romantic developments.
Presumption is a delightful and diverting Pride and Prejudice sequel that is worthy of merit! While the focus of this sequel is not Mr. Darcy’s marriage with Elizabeth, this story delivers a satisfying and entertaining visit with the other beloved friends from Jane Austen’s masterpiece!