Monday, August 3, 2009

Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst

"Everyone had a voice. Everyone had an opinion."

Judith Brocklehurst, the author of "Darcy And Anne" is a wonderful writer. While reading this sequel, I had to keep shaking myself and telling myself that Jane Austen had not written this book. Judith Brocklehurst smoothly writes about the Regency Period and the characters of "Pride and Prejudice" just as, I think, Jane Austen would have done it herself.

Visiting Pemberley all over again was wonderful. At Pemberley, Darcy and Anne are extremely happy. Truly, this is a marriage made in heaven. I think Anne, Darcy's cousin, wants the same situation for herself. Sadly, during this period a woman saying she wants to marry for more than rank and money mystifies other people. Why marry for love and romance? If it comes along later during the marriage, fine. If it never comes, fine. After all, you have a man to take care of you, a home and friends.

This book is mainly about Anne. Anne proves to be a very interesting character. We see her grow from dependence to independence. Lady Catherine is her mother. In my eyes, a very controlling woman. With the support of friends, Anne speaks out and speaks out again.

Guess who else makes an appearance? Mr. Bennett, Elizabeth's father. I like him. I especially like him because he loves books shops. I also love him because he is there at Pemberley waiting when Elizabeth and Darcy need him big time. Then, there is Darcy. Darcy is still handsome. He is also full of wonderful character traits. He uses these traits to help his family survive the hardest of times: when there is lively gossip and when there is need of advice.

Along with the characters, there is a bit of history about Barbados and the slave question during that time. Judith Brocklehurst knows this period well. She also knows how to entertain a reader. Thank you Judith Brocklehurst.
Posted by Tea at 6:22 AM 4 comments Links to this post
Labels: book review D A to Z Challenge, book review and photo

My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins

"It was, she told her mother, as though she had jumped off the world, like it was a merry-go-round at at the seaside;"

After recently reading a book about Pemberley, I felt afraid this book, "My Cousin Caroline," would seem boring. After all, what else could happen? As far as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, their material needs are met: lovely children, a beautiful estate, servants, gardens, etc. What else could happen? What would come next after love and marriage and the babies in a baby carriage? Was there more to thread on to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" yarn?

I can say a resounding yes there is more to learn about the inhabitants of Pemberley and surrounding homes and villages. "My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins is a page turner. Caroline is very different from Elizabeth, Jane and most of the females I had met in "Pride and Prejudice." Caroline knows she has a mind. She knows her mind is made to be used for more than a bonnet frilled with lace and ribbons. By golly, she wants to use it. When political conversations go on around her, she is unafraid to speak up. Caroline shares opinions about working hours for the poor, the mills and the health and welfare of poor and unhealthy children. Hearing Caroline speak out walked me in to a different world from the one where women whispered about husbands and wealth while embroidering or lifting a tea cup. There is quite a bit about the slavery question too.

However, I loved the other world too. I loved the gossip about who would marry whom, what widow didn't have a dime and what girl was altogether too flighty. So, to satisfy me there was a little this and a little that in "My Cousin Caroline." Still, Rebecca Ann Collins begins to pull apart the myth that women are incapable of keeping a happy husband, raising children and caring about the outside world.

I liked "My Cousin Caroline" because I could feel a frantic and quicker pace. Each day there is a new struggle to face, a new change to make or not make. To me, it seemed like all of the English villagers were on the move, literally or figuratively. There is talk of reform constantly. There is the poorhouse, education for children and working businessmen without one ethical bone in their bodies and there is a coming war. I really felt as though my world had become a part of their world. "With the onset of a recession, unemployment was increasing..."

I could go on and on writing about "My Cousin Caroline." I loved this book. Rebecca Ann Collins' sequel to "Pride and Prejudice" is just overwhelmingly spellbinding.
Posted by Tea at 3:51 AM 2 comments Links to this post
Labels: book review D Book Review. Summer Vacation Challenge

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers by Marsha Altman

"The Plight of the Darcy Brothers" is a wonderful sequel to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." I especially enjoyed the trip to France and Italy with Darcy and Elizabeth. Although I felt very sad about the reason for their trip. Poor Mary Bennett comes home to see and talk to her sister Jane with the worse news ever. Of course, this problem will have to involve the whole family's input. There is no way to keep such scandalous news hidden from servants and other people who might visit Chatton or Pemberley.

This isn't just a gossipy novel with women drinking tea and whispering about marriages. There is quite a bit of reality in this Marsha Altman's book. Before Lizzy and Darcy travel there is the talk of wills. I really found myself unprepared to think of death happening to any of these characters. When it did happen to a new character,I cried. She didn't deserved to be judged by other people. During this time Dr. Maddox, Caroline's husband, and herself prove the meaning of active love toward neighbor.

Although quite a bit of the book is very serious: mending of family ties, forgiveness for imperfect parents and the life of those who choose to serve as monks or priests, there is also laughter. The children are a large part of the book. The families are growing and growing.

I laughed at Geoffrey and the cousins. The splashing of blue and red ink on Charles Bingley left me to wonder what would Geoffrey and Georgie become like as adults. There is more I want to know about these families. I'm anxious for another sequel. Marsha Altman has only made me more curious about these beloved families.