The Darcy Brothers, by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds – A Review

The Darcy Brothers by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail ReynoldsFrom the desk of Monica Perry:

When I first heard that some of the authors from austenvariations.com were planning a Pride and Prejudice: Readers’ Choice collaborative story wherein Mr. Darcy had a younger brother, I was all excited curiosity–a story with two Mr. Darcys?  Yes, please! Would Mr. Theophilus Darcy be strong and stoic like his elder brother, a model of amiability like Mr. Bingley, or perhaps more of a rakish Mr. Wickham? Participating in the Readers’ Choice voting each week and having so much interaction with the writers was great fun, and I was eager to read this published version of The Darcy Brothers.  Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks, and Abigail Reynolds are authors whose works I’d read and loved in the past, and The Darcy Brothers was no exception.

From the very first page, as Theo and Fitzwilliam Darcy reluctantly make their way to Rosings Park for Easter, we see the way they typically interact (read: Theo pushes Darcy’s buttons and Darcy gets his trousers in a twist). In the wake of childhood tragedy and the more recent near-elopement of their young sister Georgiana with Theo’s friend Mr. Wickham, their relationship is strained and they’ve all but given up on getting along. Darcy is dismissive and distrustful of Theo, and Theo delights in vexing him because he knows he’ll never live up to Darcy’s impeccable standards anyway. When Theo makes the acquaintance of the charming Miss Elizabeth Bennet they form an easy friendship, and Darcy begins to feel that twisting sensation again, a little nearer his chest this time. Each brother’s affection for Elizabeth is noted by the other and although they don’t see eye to eye, each wants the other to be happy. How far would a Darcy go to make it happen, even if it goes against his heart’s desire?  Bargains are struck and along with some meddling assistance from Georgiana, Anne de Bourgh and Colonel Fitzwilliam, and a surprising series of events at Rosings, Darcy, and Theo begin to see themselves, and each other, in a different way. Darcy realizes he has underestimated Theo, withheld the praise and affection a younger sibling craves and used him as an easy scapegoat; likewise, Theo sees he’s had a childish understanding of Darcy’s responsibilities as heir. Can they overcome their pride and start again, and will it last? Continue reading

The Darcy Brothers Virtual Book Launch Party with Authors, Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds

The Darcy Brothers by Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds We are very pleased to welcome Monica Fairview, Maria Grace, Cassandra Grafton, Susan Mason-Milks and Abigail Reynolds to Austenprose for the official virtual book launch party of their new novel The Darcy Brothers, released today by White Soup Press.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Darcy Brothers is an original variation based on Austen’s classic in which Mr. Darcy has a charming younger brother named Theo who meets Elizabeth Bennet and vies for her affections. Written by five Austenesque authors, you may well ask, as we did ourselves, how they could pool their talents and create one novel together? Abigail Reynolds has kindly supplied a revealing guest blog to share the experience with you. And, any  celebration would not be complete without gifts. Please enter a chance to win one of the four fabulous prizes being offered by their publisher by leaving a comment. The giveaway details are listed at the end of this post. Good luck to all!

DESCRIPTION (from the publisher)

Easy-going Theophilus Darcy is the opposite of his controlled older brother. Where Fitzwilliam Darcy is proud and awkward among strangers, Theo is a charmer. Fitzwilliam took his studies seriously, while Theo was sent down from Oxford for his pranks. Still, the brothers were the best of friends until tragedy and George Wickham tore them apart.

What if Theo were to meet Miss Elizabeth Bennet? Would he charm the young lady’s stockings off… or would he help his brother win her hand? Find out as the two brothers lock horns in this unique Pride & Prejudice variation collectively written by five respected authors.

The Darcy Brothers was first conceived as an interactive group writing project and has developed into a full-length novel featuring the charismatic Theo Darcy.

Continue reading

Mr. Darcy’s Challenge: A Pride and Prejudice Variation (The Darcy Novels Book 2), by Monica Fairview – Preview & Exclusive Excerpt

Mr. Darcys Challenge by Monica Fairview 2014 x 200It is always a pleasure to introduce a new book by a treasured author. Many of Monica Fairview’s Pride and Prejudice sequels: The Other Mr. Darcy and The Darcy Cousins, are among my favorite Austenesque novels. Her latest, Mr. Darcy’s Challenge, is the second book in The Darcy Novels series of “what if” variations. Here is a preview and exclusive excerpt for your enjoyment.

PREVIEW (from publisher’s description)

In this humorous Pride and Prejudice Variation, Mr. Darcy is determined to win Elizabeth Bennet’s hand in spite of her rejection and he has a strategy worked out. He will rescue Lydia Bennet from Wickham and will return to Longbourn to convince Elizabeth to marry him. But when a chance encounter prompts Darcy to propose once again to Elizabeth before he has rescued Lydia, his plans go horribly wrong.

Broken hearted, disillusioned and bitterly regretting his impulsive action, Darcy sees no point in assisting Miss Bennet. After all, rescuing Lydia might save Elizabeth’s reputation, but why should he care when they have no future together? His code of gentlemanly conduct, however, demands that he fulfill the terms of his promise to her. Once again, Darcy finds himself faced with impossible choices: helping Elizabeth when she is certain to marry someone else, or holding onto his dignity by turning his back on the Bennets once and for all.

Pride and love are at loggerheads as he struggles to choose between his mind … and his heart.

Volume Two of The Darcy Novels continues the story began in Mr. Darcy’s Pledge but can be read as an independent book as well.

Continue reading

Giveaway Winners Announced for Steampunk Darcy

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2013)112 comments were left qualifying those who participated in the giveaway of two (2) paperback copies and four (4) Kindle digital copies of Steampunk Darcy. The winners drawn at random are:

2 paperback copies

  • Carol Settlage who left a comment on Oct 27, 2013
  • Maggie Griscom who left a comment on Oct 15, 2013

4 digital copies

  • Jenny who left a comment on Oct 20, 2013
  • Irene who left a comment on Oct 16, 2013
  • Eenayray who left a comment on Oct 15, 2013
  • Jo Clare who left a comment on Oct 27, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by November 13, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment of print books to US and UK addresses only; digital copies internationally.

Thanks to all who left comments and to author Monica Fairview for her guest blog and the giveaway copies.

Cover image courtesy of White Soup Press © 2013; text Monica Fairview © 2013, Austenprose.com

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview – A Review & Giveaway

Steampunk Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2013)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

I must say, out of all of the derivatives of Pride and Prejudice variations that exist in this realm (yes, also including the erotica variety), I never thought I’d come across a steampunk version. When one thinks of steampunk, one envisions gears, motors, and mechanical technology that are as far removed from the refined halls of Pemberley as one can get. However, such is the beauty of the Pride and Prejudice variation subgenre: anything that can connect to the original work, no matter how slight it may be. It is up to the reader to decide whether or not such a connection was warranted in the first place! So, it’s no surprise that I was quite intrigued when given the chance to review Steampunk Darcy by Monica Fairview. I just had to know how such juxtaposition would work out.

William Darcy has a special fondness for his ancestors, the very real Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley. Although it has been many years since they lived, Mr. Darcy comes upon a unique opportunity to immortalize their beloved Pemberley as it once was after the current version of it was destroyed during a great uprising. Now, the world that has arisen from these ashes is that of a steampunk variety, and Darcy’s Pemberley is a blank canvas he can work with to restore its former glory. He hires Seraphene Grant, an expert in restoration (who also happens to own a blimp-like airship), in order to assist with the project. Although his intentions seem genuine, Seraphene is cautious towards Darcy’s actions, and she intends to steer clear of anything that isn’t strictly related to the project. Will she be able to hold back in this new world or will Darcy’s mix of tradition and steampunk creativity get the best of her? Continue reading

UPDATED! Download Free Jane Austen-inspired eBooks on her Birthday, December 16, 2010

Sourcebooks Jane Austen Birthday Banner 2010

Update 16 December 2010: 1:00 pm PT

Breaking News:

Sourcebooks has extended the one day offer through 17 December 2010.

Next Thursday, December 16th is Jane Austen’s 235th birthday and Sourcebooks, the world’s leading Jane Austen publisher, is throwing a huge one-day-only birthday book bash. They will be offering ten of their best Austen-inspired novels for FREE. Yep. That’s right. FREE!

Anyone with a digital eReader, or free application on their computer, or blackberry, or iPhone, or Android, or iPad can download the books. Just go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. online on December 16th and download away! (I highly recommend Barnes & Noble’s free Nook applications if you do not already own an eReader like me! You can read the eBooks on five different electronic devices )

Here is the list of amazing titles available:

  • Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken – 9781402225963
  • The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman – 9781402233227
  • Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll – 9781402234859
  • What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown – 9781402227370
  • The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins – 9781402234996
  • The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview – 9781402245329
  • Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange – 9781402225727
  • Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan – 9781402235184
  • Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe – 9781402234651
  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds – 9781402246289

But that’s not all – read on.

The party doesn’t stop there. For one day only Sourcebooks will also be offering free illustrated eBook editions of all six of Austen’s major novels filled with unabridged texts and the legendary color illustrations by the Brock brothers circa 1898.

  • Sense and Sensibility: The Illustrated Edition 9781402256813
  • Pride and Prejudice: The Illustrated Edition – 9781402256776
  • Mansfield Park: The Illustrated Edition 9781402256875
  • Emma: The Illustrated Edition – 9781402256790
  • Northanger Abbey: The Illustrated Edition – 9781402256837
  • Persuasion: The Illustrated Edition 9781402256851

♥ Here is a link to Sourcebooks for the free Jane Austen eBooks with all of the links to download for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Sourcebooks, Google eBookstore and Sony eBookstore. 

Don’t be a Mr. Knightley and miss the party. Make haste and mark your calendars today.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks for their generous tribute to our favorite author!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

New Jane Austen Short Story Anthology Announced Today

Hot off the presses is an announcement today in Publishers Weekly of a new Jane Austen short story anthology to be published by Random House in 2011. The collection will include approximately twenty stories inspired by Jane Austen, literature’s witty muse of the modern novel and astute observer of human nature and the heart.

Readers familiar with Austen inspired paraliterature will recognize many popular authors among the list of those contributing and a few surprises from best selling authors who greatly admire Austen’s works. Contributing to the line-up are best selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club), Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series) and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Approximately twenty Austenesque authors and others from related genres have already committed to the project including:

Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy)

Elizabeth Aston (Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, & Writing Jane Austen)

Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series, & The White Garden)

Carrie Bebris (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series)

Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, & Mrs. Elton in America)

Frank Delaney (Shannon, Tipperary, & Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show)

Monica Fairview (The Darcy Cousins, & The Other Mr. Darcy)

Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club, & Wits End)

Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, & Mr. Darcy’s Diary)

Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, & The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte)

Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)

Janet Mullany (Bespelling Jane Austen, & Rules of Gentility)

Jane Odiwe (Lydia Bennet’s Story, & Willoughby’s Return)

Beth Pattillo (Jane Austen Ruined My Life, & Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart)

Alexandra Potter (Me & Mr. Darcy, & The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather: A Novel)

Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino Bradway (Lady Vernon & Her Daughter)

Myretta Robens (Pemberley.com , Just Say Yes, & Once Upon a Sofa)

Maya Slater (The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy)

Margaret C. Sullivan (AustenBlog.com, & The Jane Austen Handbook)

Adriana Trigiani (Brava Valentine, Very Valentine, & Lucia, Lucia)

Laurie Viera Rigler (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict)

Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series)

In addition, a short story contest hosted by the venerable The Republic of Pemberley website will be held to fill one slot in the anthology for a new voice in Austenesque fiction. Further details on submission and manuscript deadlines will be posted here and at Pemberley.com.

And if you were wondering how I know so much about the project, I have been secretly working on it for months and will be the editor. I’m the luckiest Janeite in the world!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Winners announced in The Darcy Cousins Giveaway

Congratulations go out to Katy and Lynne M. our lucky winners of one copy each of The Darcy Cousins, a new Austenesque novel by Monica Fairview. To claim your prize please email me at austenprose at verizon dot net with your full name and address by Friday, April 30, 2010. Shipment is within the continental US and Canada. Enjoy!

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Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Net: Issue No 9

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

April 12th – 18th, 2010

Hot News of the Week:

New author Jenni James of Northanger Alibi, a modern retelling of Northanger Abbey influenced by Twilight, lands the Austenesque book publicity coup of the decade! Wow. This might be a first for Austen on TV.

Noteworthy:

Author and Janeite Catherine Delors features Jane Austen’s juvenilia The History of England and directs us to the original manuscript viewable online at The British Museum website.

The beautiful new hardback editions of Penguin Classics are featured in a Elle Decor article including Jane Austen’s Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

Interview of Monica Fairview, author of The Darcy Cousins at Austenprose. Swag contest ends 23 April 2010.

Author Jane Odiwe of Austen Sequels Blog features a preview of the new debut novel First Impressions, by Alexa Adams.

Regency Mourning Fashions in England by Vic Sanborn of Jane Austen’s World is featured in the Suite 101.com online repository of insightful writers and informed readers.

Catherine Morland and Isabella Thorpe’s favorite Gothic novel The Mysteries of Udolpho that they read together in Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey is highlighted on Jane Greensmith’s blog Reading, Writing, Playing in a great post on The Gothic Novel.

Shameless self promotion here, but Maria Grazia has interviewed moi for her lovely blog Fly High. Leave a comment and enter a chance to win your choice of selected Austenesque books. Ends 25 April, 2010.

Another interview of note is of Vera Nazarian, author of Mansfield Park and Mummies at Jane Austen’s World.

Vote for your favorite Pride and Prejudice book cover from my top ten favorites. As of today, there is a dead tie between White’s Publishings lovely new release showing a graphic rep of Regency dancers from the waist down and the classic cover design by Hugh Thomson for the 1894 peacock edition of P&P.

Deb at Jane Austen in Vermont blog posts info on Soethby’s The English Country House auction results. Oh my. Beautiful Regency-era items, but the prices Lousia!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane invented baseball since she mentioned it in her novel Northanger Abbey. Doubtful? Read further proof in the third installment of posts by Mags at AustenBlog.

Entertainment:

British actor Elliot Cowan (Mr. Darcy in Lost in Austen 2009) opens in The Scottish Play in London next week. Read about the lore and superstition behind the Shakespeare play that we dare not mention.

The Jane Austen Story opened at Winchester Cathedral on 10 April, 2010. Read more about this new exhibit spotlighting Jane Austen’s burial place and life in Hampshire that will run until 20 September 2010.

The Los Angeles Times Book Festival has always been a lively affair and this year one of the guest speakers is author/editor Susannah Carson of the Austen anthology A Truth Universally Acknowledged that we reviewed and enjoyed. Jane Austen Today has a featured article on the the LA  festival which makes me homesick for outdoor book fairs that I frequented while I lived in California. *sigh*

New Austenesque Book Announcements:

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy, by Victoria Connelly — 16 Sep 2010

Book Reviews:

Until next week, happy Jane sighting.

Laurel Ann

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Chatting with Monica Fairview, author of The Darcy Cousins – and a glorious giveaway

Please welcome author Monica Fairview as she stops by to chat with us during her blog tour in celebration of the release of her new novel The Darcy Cousins, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. 

Thank you for having me here on your blog, Laurel Ann. It’s one of my favorite places to visit. 

The Darcy Cousins focuses on Mr. Darcy’s shy and naïve younger sister Georgian’s coming ‘out’ into Regency society and her first experiences with romance. What intrigued you about her situation or personality to continue her story? 

Georgiana is a very secondary character in Pride and Prejudice, and of course we only see her through Elizabeth’s eyes. Elizabeth (as usual) gets it all wrong and expects Georgiana to be arrogant and obnoxious. This is one of the last mistakes she makes in the novel. Georgiana has three roles in Pride and Prejudice. The first is to show the extent of Wickham’s villainy. The second to reveal what a good brother Darcy is, and the third (more minor) that Miss Bingley wasn’t exaggerating when she said that Darcy’s sister is very accomplished. Apart from that, she doesn’t have much to say for herself. I wanted to discover what it was like to be Darcy’s sister, and through her, I wanted to find out who Fitzwilliam Darcy was when he wasn’t admiring Elizabeth. But Georgiana emerged as an independent character, quite able to hold her own in spite of her shyness. I was very glad to see that happening. 

We are also introduced to Clarissa and Frederick Darcy who arrive from America to visit their British cousins and brother Robert Darcy who we met in your first sequel The Other Mr. Darcy. Clarissa and Frederick do not quite conform to the social strictures of polite society in Regency England. I sense a sly wink at American brashness vs. British traditionalism. Is this an Austenesque gentle reproof or Monica having fun with her story? 

I wonder whose side Jane Austen would take? I have my own theory (not backed by anything concrete, I concede, just an instinct) that of the two sisters, Jane Austen was the closest to Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, while Elinor was like Jane’s sister Cassandra. In some ways, I had that novel in mind when I wrote Georgiana’s and Clarissa’s story, though they are quite different personalities. Other than that, the sly wink is there, of course. I straddle both continents, having been born in one and lived a large part of my life in the other, so I love playing the two cultures against each other. Though the reality is always more complex, as Clarissa’s Puritan background indicates. 

Austen’s character Lady Catherine de Bourgh plays a significant role in The Darcy Cousins. I must commend your eye rolling interpretation of her officious and imposing personality. How did you place yourself in her regal shoes and visualize her dialogue and behavior? 

Eye-rolling? I love that! To be honest, I studied Lady Catherine’s way of speaking until I knew everything she said practically by heart, then I improvised from there. To me understanding Jane Austen’s characters is much like acting. I learn the lines, then I fill in the silences, then I flesh out the characters. I loved playing Lady Catherine. She is such a wonderful character. 

This is your third Regency-era historical novel. Your historical references are quite impressive and really support your characters personalities and their physical environment. What is your process for researching an historical novel? Did you discover anything surprising? 

Apart from studying the characters, I do a lot of initial research because you have to take into account the events that occur during the time period of the novel. I even did my best to research the weather to make sure, for example, that I didn’t have the characters picnicking on a day that was notoriously rainy. I then included any relevant external events in the novel as I mapped it out. As I go along, I am often interrupted by specific things I need to look up though I don’t always end up including them. Yes, there’s always a lot of research involved when I write. 

One of your rewards for researching is discovering pieces of information that you didn’t expect. For example, I didn’t know that the famous Turner sunset colors were due to a volcanic eruption that sent particles into the atmosphere and made the sunsets very dramatic. I knew about the volcano, not about Turner. 

If you could plan a tea with Jane Austen, who else would you invite in your soiree and what would you ask her? 

I would love to initiate a dialogue between Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen. I would ask Charlotte to explain herself. I never liked her disparaging remarks about Jane Austen. In that context, I’d like Ms. Austen to expand on what she means about the narrow bit of ivory because of course you have to take everything she says with a grain of salt. I can see her laughing as she wrote that – contrasting what she did with the wide sweep of what was then called “the romance”, which was really the epic. I think there will be “a monstrous deal of stupid quizzing” at that tea party, but I hope there’ll be some very witty conversation, too.  

What is next in your writing career? Do you have another novel in the works? If so, can you give us a brief preview? 

I do have another novel in the works, but it isn’t an Austenesque novel. I can’t say much more, since it’s still in the initial stages. I do plan to return soon to the world of Austen, though, since I have a lot of unfinished business there. I have to take care of Clarissa Darcy as well as Frederick, at the very least. And there are other irons in the fire… 

Thank you for joining us today Monica. I hope you finish your new novel quickly so you can return to entertain us with the further exploits of Clarissa and Frederick Darcy.

The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview
Sourcebooks, Inc. (2010)
Trade paperback (432) pages
ISBN: 978-1402237003 

Publishers description: 

A young lady in disgrace should at least strive to behave with decorum… 

Dispatched from America to England under a cloud of scandal, Mr. Darcy’s incorrigible American cousin, Clarissa Darcy, manages to provoke Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Collins, and the parishioners of Hunsford all in one morning! 

And there are more surprises in store for that bastion of tradition, Rosings Park, when the family gathers for their annual Easter visit. Georgiana Darcy, generally a shy model of propriety, decides to take a few lessons from her unconventional cousin, to the delight of a neighboring gentleman. Anne de Bourgh, encouraged to escape her “keeper” Mrs. Jenkinson, simply…vanishes. But the trouble really starts when Clarissa and Georgiana both set out to win the heart of the same young man… 

About the author: 

Literature professor Monica Fairview loves teaching students the joys of reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized that what she really wanted to do was write.  The author of The Other Mr. Darcy and An Improper Suitor, the American-born Ms. Fairview currently resides in London. For more information, please visit www.monicafairview.com

Glorious Giveaway 

Enter a chance to win one of two copies of The Darcy Cousins by leaving a comment revealing which character in Pride and Prejudice you would like to see featured in a sequel, or any hints for a plot line for Monica to inspire her to write a sequel for her two American Darcy cousins Clarissa and Frederick! Contest ends on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at midnight Pacific time. Winners announced on Saturday, April 24th, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses. Good luck to all.

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The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview: A Review

In The Other Mr. Darcy, last year’s debut Austenesque novel by Monica Fairview we were introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy’s American cousin Robert Darcy. Now the story continues with The Darcy Cousins, a Pride and Prejudice sequel to a sequel, when his two younger siblings Clarissa and Frederick Darcy arrive from Boston and join their brother and the Darcy family at Rosings Park, the palatial estate of Mr. Darcy’s officious aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Being young, brash Americans, Clarissa and Frederick immediately ruffle Lady Catherine’s unyielding standards of social stricture. Dutiful and naïve Georgiana Darcy is shocked and intrigued by her cousin Clarissa’s adventuresome and unguarded behavior. Her shy and retreating nature has always acquiesced to proper decorum and her family’s wishes. So has her sickly cousin Anne de Bourgh, who at age 29 remains unmarried and firmly under the thumb of her tyrannical mother. Clarissa is convinced that Anne has been imprisoned by Lady Catherine at Rosings like a tragic heroine in a Gothic novel. Together, Clarissa and Georgiana clandestinely meet Anne hoping to learn her mysterious back story, offer their friendship and encourage her to improve her situation.

Clarissa’s lively spirits also makes her very popular with the young men of the neighborhood, especially to rakish charmer Percy Channing. Clarissa welcomes his attentions while wide-eyed Georgiana watches a seasoned coquette in action. She is also attracted to Channing and in turn annoyed by his sensible and matter-of-fact cousin Henry Gatley who sees right through Clarissa and Channing’s affected airs. “But the perversity of the human spirit is such that when a young lady longs for a specific partner, every other partner counts for nothing.” When Georgiana overhears Channing privately proclaim to his cousin that she is an insipid bore, she is determined not to be the dull as ditchwater little rich girl and entreats her cousin Clarissa’s help to school her in fashion and the art of feminine allurements. And then the unthinkable happens! Their cousin Anne simply vanishes without a trace. Has she been abducted or is this a run-away-marriage to Scotland? Speculation and emotions escalate until Lady Catherine unjustly places all the blame on Clarissa and Georgiana’s influence upon her daughter. As Mr. Darcy defends his sister and young cousin the battle lines are drawn and a family riff erupts. Will the Shades of Rosings be thus polluted? Can Georgiana have her London Season under the shadow of her cousin’s unexplained disappearance and the family scandal? How can she earn her families trust after her disastrous affair with George Wickham? Will her newly acquired feminine wiles lure Percy Channing away from her cousin Clarissa? And why is that pesky Mr. Gatley always at the ready to remind her that she’s a swan trying to be a peacock?

In this coming-of-age story Monica Fairview presents an engaging historical romance through the eyes of innocent Georgiana Darcy who idealistically thinks the grass is always greener in her cousin Clarissa’s court. Hard wrought lessons on human nature and love must be learned before she can find her own happiness. We are never in much doubt that she will succeed, or whom she will bestow her favor upon, but that matters not. Fairview has such an effortless way of unfolding the narrative that we are swept along with Jane Austen’s beloved characters and her own new additions seamlessly. The story is infused with the flavor of Austen’s world but entirely her own unique creation. It is hard not to compare her skill at irony to Austen’s when her Lady Catherine is annoyed at Napoleon, not for his impending threat to invade England, but for the inconvenience he has caused by too few men at her dinner table, or to the ribald humor of Georgette Heyer when Georgiana is stood up by Mr. Channing who invited her for a drive in his high phaeton through Hyde Park and is then quickly replaced by the waiting Mr. Gatley. When they encounter Mr. Channing driving another young lady, just as Mr. Gatley predicted, Georgiana is exasperated by Channing’s “sublime forgetfulness” and Mr. Gatley’s smug sagacity. Ha! Readers will recognize a bit of Mr. Knightley in Mr. Gatley and a combination of Austen’s slippery villain’s in Mr. Channing. Fairview understands Georgiana’s personality perfectly adding a few surprise twists to Austen’s shy, trusting young lady that give her added depth and interest. Infused with humor, wit and a bit of social commentary Fairview has proven again why she was my top choice of Austenesque debut authors of 2009. She is well on her way to becoming a nonpareil in Austen paraliterature and I recommend The Darcy Cousins to those who dearly love a satisfying love story and a hearty laugh.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview
Sourcebooks, Inc. (2010)
Trade paperback (432) pages
ISBN: 978-1402237003

Additional Reviews

Cover image courtesy of Sourcebooks, Inc. © 2010; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2010, Austenprose.com

The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview: A Review

In The Other Mr. Darcy, last year’s debut Austenesque novel by Monica Fairview we were introduced to Fitzwilliam Darcy’s American cousin Robert Darcy. Now the story continues with The Darcy Cousins, a Pride and Prejudice sequel to a sequel, when his two younger siblings Clarissa and Frederick Darcy arrive from Boston and join their brother and the Darcy family at Rosings Park, the palatial estate of Mr. Darcy’s officious aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Being young, brash Americans, Clarissa and Frederick immediately ruffle Lady Catherine’s unyielding standards of social stricture. Dutiful and naïve Georgiana Darcy is shocked and intrigued by her cousin Clarissa’s adventuresome and unguarded behavior. Her shy and retreating nature has always acquiesced to proper decorum and her family’s wishes. So has her sickly cousin Anne de Bourgh, who at age 29 remains unmarried and firmly under the thumb of her tyrannical mother. Clarissa is convinced that Anne has been imprisoned by Lady Catherine at Rosings like a tragic heroine in a Gothic novel. Together, Clarissa and Georgiana clandestinely meet Anne hoping to learn her mysterious back story, offer their friendship and encourage her to improve her situation.

Clarissa’s lively spirits also makes her very popular with the young men of the neighborhood, especially to rakish charmer Percy Channing. Clarissa welcomes his attentions while wide-eyed Georgiana watches a seasoned coquette in action. She is also attracted to Channing and in turn annoyed by his sensible and matter-of-fact cousin Henry Gatley who sees right through Clarissa and Channing’s affected airs. “But the perversity of the human spirit is such that when a young lady longs for a specific partner, every other partner counts for nothing.” When Georgiana overhears Channing privately proclaim to his cousin that she is an insipid bore, she is determined not to be the dull as ditchwater little rich girl and entreats her cousin Clarissa’s help to school her in fashion and the art of feminine allurements. And then the unthinkable happens! Their cousin Anne simply vanishes without a trace. Has she been abducted or is this a run-away-marriage to Scotland? Speculation and emotions escalate until Lady Catherine unjustly places all the blame on Clarissa and Georgiana’s influence upon her daughter. As Mr. Darcy defends his sister and young cousin the battle lines are drawn and a family riff erupts. Will the Shades of Rosings be thus polluted? Can Georgiana have her London Season under the shadow of her cousin’s unexplained disappearance and the family scandal? How can she earn her families trust after her disastrous affair with George Wickham?  Will her newly acquired feminine wiles lure Percy Channing away from her cousin Clarissa? And why is that pesky Mr. Gatley always at the ready to remind her that she’s a swan trying to be a peacock?

In this coming-of-age story Monica Fairview presents an engaging historical romance through the eyes of innocent Georgiana Darcy who idealistically thinks the grass is always greener in her cousin Clarissa’s court. Hard wrought lessons on human nature and love must be learned before she can find her own happiness. We are never in much doubt that she will succeed, or whom she will bestow her favor upon, but that matters not. Fairview has such an effortless way of unfolding the narrative that we are swept along with Jane Austen’s beloved characters and her own new additions seamlessly. The story is infused with the flavor of Austen’s world but entirely her own unique creation. It is hard not to compare her skill at irony to Austen’s when her Lady Catherine is annoyed at Napoleon, not for his impending threat to invade England, but for the inconvenience he has caused by too few men at her dinner table, or to the ribald humor of Georgette Heyer when Georgiana is stood up by Mr. Channing who invited her for a drive in his high phaeton through Hyde Park and is then quickly replaced by the waiting Mr. Gatley. When they encounter Mr. Channing driving another young lady, just as Mr. Gatley predicted, Georgiana is exasperated by Channing’s “sublime forgetfulness” and Mr. Gatley’s smug sagacity. Ha! Readers will recognize a bit of Mr. Knightley in Mr. Gatley and a combination of Austen’s slippery villain’s in Mr. Channing. Fairview understands Georgiana’s personality perfectly adding a few surprise twists to Austen’s shy, trusting young lady that give her added depth and interest.  Infused with humor, wit and a bit of social commentary Fairview has proven again why she was my top choice of Austenesque debut authors of 2009. She is well on her way to becoming a nonpareil in Austen paraliterature and I recommend The Darcy Cousins to those who dearly love a satisfying love story and a hearty laugh.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Darcy Cousins, by Monica Fairview
Robert Hale Ltd (2010)
Hardcover (224) pages
ISBN: 978-0709089056

© 2007 – 2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Winners announced in The Other Mr. Darcy giveaway

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2009)Your questions to author Monica Fairview were fun and creative and your quotes of Caroline Bingley were oh so memorable – but the time has come to announce the two winners of one copy each of The Other Mr. Darcy. And the winners are…

Sarah-Wynne

Kristen

A big thank you to all who participated and especially to author Monica Fairview for visiting and responding to your questions so thoughtfully.

Winners – to claim your prize, you must reside in the US or Canada and respond with your full name and address by emailing me at austenprose at verizon dot net by October 21st. Books will be mailed directly from the publisher Sourcebooks who has generously supplied them.

Congrats!

FTC Disclaimer – Austenprose did not receive any pecuniary emolument or a trip to Tahiti for writing this interview of the author or for writing a review of The Other Mr. Darcy. In addition we did not receive a review copy in compensation from this publisher nor are we getting a kick back from Barnes and Noble for the link to purchase. Basically we did it for the love of Jane and out of the goodness of our black heart.

Interview with Monica Fairview: Author of The Other Mr. Darcy

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2009)A new Pride and Prejudice spinoff, The Other Mr. Darcy was released this month to positive fanfare. Focusing on Caroline Bingley, a secondary character in Jane Austen’s origial novel, I truly enjoyed her transformation and romance. You can read my review to get all the details of the plot and my impressions. 

Please welcome author Monica Fairview who stops by on her Grand Blog Tour. Thanks for joining us today Monica to chat about your new book The Other Mr. Darcy, a new Austenesque novel. 

While many Austen sequel writers have focused on Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy the main characters in Austen’s original novel, you have chosen to spotlight the minor but very memorable Caroline Bingley. Known for her snooty behavior and snide remarks, she is not exactly likable heroine material for a novel. What inspired you to select one of Austen’s most famous Mean Girls for your heroine?

Not all Mean Girls are Mean all the way through. I felt Jane Austen herself wanted to tell us that. Chapter 45 of Pride and Prejudice starts: “Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley’s dislike of her had originated in jealousy, she could not help feeling how very unwelcome her appearance at Pemberley must be to her.” I read that as an insight into Caroline’s behavior, and a recognition on Elizabeth’s part that Caroline was just trying to keep Mr. Darcy to herself. Jealousy is a very strong emotion, and it tends to bring out the mean streak in everyone. After all, wouldn’t you fight to keep Darcy if you thought you had a chance? 

I read this sentence as Jane Austen providing us with Caroline’s motivation, and took it from there. If Caroline is in love with Mr. Darcy, of course she’s going to try and represent Elizabeth in the worst possible light to him. Hence her snide remarks. 

When I originally read the advance publicity on The Other Mr. Darcy before it was released in the UK last summer, I was intrigued with the creative title. To many readers, Mr. Darcy is the ultimate romantic icon. Who could this other Mr. Darcy be? Like most young ladies, (or not so nearly young), my imagination is very rapid; it jumped from a twin separated at birth, to a multiple personality disorder, to an imposter in a moment! Your Mr. Darcy is of course none of those possibilities, but turns out to be his American cousin. What was your inspiration for Robert Darcy and how is he similar and differ to his English cousin Fitzwilliam Darcy? 

The title was the first thing I thought of, before I even started writing. Originally, I wanted to shadow Mr. Darcy, to create a character that was the other side of him in a way. What came out was Robert Darcy. That’s why if you go through the novel, you’ll find a lot of shadows associated with him. But as he developed, he turned out to be very sunny, and he seemed to prefer open spaces and sunshine. He went his own way. 

Robert is different from Fitzwilliam Darcy because he likes talking about things, he insists on being open and putting his cards on the table. His manners are easygoing and he likes to laugh. To all appearances, he has nothing in common with his cousin Fitzwilliam. But as the novel progresses, they become more similar. There’s a point in the plot where Robert is the one who is earnest and reserved, while Fitzwilliam is – well, I don’t want to give away anything in the plot, but let’s say they’re more similar than one would have thought. 

Let’s delve deeper into the personality of that jealous, manipulative and scheming Caroline Bingley! In Pride and Prejudice she uses all her charms and allurements to entice Mr. Darcy into marriage. When he selects Elizabeth Bennet, of inferior birth and no consequence, her dream of being Mrs. Darcy is thwarted. In The Other Mr. Darcy your Caroline is still devastated by Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s marriage hiding her emotions behind propriety. Since you put yourself in her shoes so-to-speak to write the character, can you share with us your thoughts on Caroline’s personality, what you liked and disliked about her, and what you hoped to achieve in telling her own story? 

Caroline used every trick she knew to get Mr. Darcy’s attention. But wouldn’t you? He was a good catch in every possible way. Because we’re on Eliza’s side, we only see Eliza’s perspective. We’ve got to remember that Eliza despises both Mr. Darcy and Caroline when she’s describing the way Caroline toadies to him. Later, she learns more about Mr. Darcy, so she comes to appreciate him. But we don’t get to know Caroline, so that initial impression remains. I felt there was a story there, particularly since Caroline is from a lower social class, and I wanted to know how she really felt about that. 

The other issue that puzzles me about Mr. Darcy’s relationship with Caroline is that he chooses to spend time with her. He’s perfectly happy staying with them in Netherfield, and spends days if not weeks in the company of Caroline. Then, as if it isn’t enough, he later invites her to Pemberley to stay with him there. And of course, he dances with her at that first ball. There must be something good about her, if he’s willing to spend so much time with her. It’s not as if the Bingleys are the only friends he has (one hopes!). 

In The Other Mr. Darcy you’ll find there’s a lot that’s good about her, once she realizes it’s useless to try and keep up the social pretences. It takes quite a few blows to recognize that, but once she does, and the real Caroline emerges, we can see why Fitzwilliam Darcy liked to spend time with her. 

I don’t want to say more about Caroline, because the novel’s partly about her process of self discovery, so I don’t want to spoil the experience for the reader. But I do want to remind people that Caroline, who is younger than Charles Bingley, couldn’t have been more than twenty one. She’s young and inexperienced, One of her redeeming features is that she’s willing to learn from her mistakes. I think of her, in some ways, as resembling Emma, who also arrogantly blunders along and has to learn along the way, except that Emma perhaps is more confident, as she never had to prove herself to anybody. 

Your first novel An Improper Suitor was also a historical romance set in the  Georgian/Regency times. Your historical references and knowledge of the era are quite impressive. In The Other Mr. Darcy, Caroline travels from Netherfield Park in Hertfordshire by carriage to Pemberley in Derbyshire. Your descriptions of the towns and countryside along the route were remarkable. How do you research your novels? Did you actually reconstruct the rout in the early 1800’s to inspire your writing? 

It took me a long time to work out the details of the journey north. I consulted strip maps of the time (literally, maps that are strips. They cover one particular section of the route in detail), I researched each of the places they passed through, and I used only real historic inns of the time. It was a lot of fun, but it took ages. I’m planning to take the route myself one of those days, just to see the actual places. A bit after the fact! 

I’ve visited the places I mention in my next novel, though, so I know exactly what the places look like. It doesn’t make me very popular with my family, I can tell you, because I spend hours taking pictures of every nook and cranny, while they stand around being bored to tears! 

Jane Austen has obviously influenced your writing. You have also mentioned your admiration for author Georgette Heyer when you wrote about her novel The Grand Sophy last summer on Jane Austen Today. What other writers have inspired, influenced, or cajoled you into becoming a writer? Who are you reading right now? 

Speaking of Georgette Heyer, now that’s one writer who’s absolutely amazing with historical detail, because she’d know the routes and the distances between towns and villages at the blink of an eye. Her books are an encyclopedia of information. I remember once painstakingly doing research about some of the famous boxers of the time, and then I picked up one of her books, and in one scene she gave us more information than all the research I’d done!    

I can’t say which writers influenced me most. There are so many. Virginia Woolf was important to me because through her I discovered stream of consciousness writing, and I fell under her spell for a while, until I discovered she was really too melancholy. I’ve loved Oscar Wilde, too, since I was a teen, and I would give anything to be as witty as he is (I haven’t seen Dorian Gray, yet, though I wouldn’t say wit is the strong point in that piece). Another writer I love is Toni Morrison. Perhaps at the back of my mind when I wrote The Other Mr. Darcy I had Jean Rhys’ Wild Sargasso Sea, which gives voice to the madwoman in the attic in Jane Eyre. I’ve read so many types of books, from science fiction to fantasy to postmodern, I can’t begin to say who influenced me. But I’m grateful to them all. 

The only sad thing about writing is that you don’t have as much time to read. 

I read many Jane Austen inspired books over a course of a year, but only a few authors really surprise and delight me as much as you did with The Other Mr. Darcy. Do you have another Austen inspired novel in the queue, or will you take a new direction? 

Thank you for saying that, Laurel Ann. I’ll treasure those words. My next novel, The Darcy Cousins, is coming out in the spring, which is lovely really, because it starts in the springtime. The Darcy Cousins deals with Robert’s sister Clarissa. Meanwhile I’m working on a third book related to Pride and Prejudice, but I can’t reveal more than that. 

Thank you for joining us today Monica. I am looking forward to reading The Darcy Cousins when it is released in the UK (Robert Hale) in March 2010 and in the US (Sourcebooks) in April 2010. 

Author Monica FairviewAbout the Author

As a literature professor, Monica Fairview enjoyed teaching students to love reading. But after years of postponing the urge, she finally realized what she really wanted was to write books herself. She lived in Illinois, Los Angeles, Seattle, Texas, Colorado, Oregon and Boston as a student and professor, and now lives in London. To find out more, please visit her webite Monica Fairview or her blog Monica Fairview, Author.

Giveaway Contest: Win one of two copies of The Other Mr. Darcy by leaving a comment or question for Monica, or by stating what your favorite Caroline Bingley quote is from Pride and Prejudice.  Contest runs from October 7th – 14th and closes on midnight ET. Contest open to US and Candian residents only. Winners announced on October 15th. Good luck!

And .. yet there is more! Here are even more chances for you to win one of five copies of The Other Mr. Darcy, plus a grand prize winner gets chocolates too. Visit Monica’s blog during the month of October and answer a daily question about Pride and Prejudice to enter the drawing. Then, follow Monica on her Grand Tour of the book blogosphere to enter additional giveaway contests. Here is her blog tour schedule.

Good luck to all!

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview – A Review

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2009)The Other Mr. Darcy is a new Pride and Prejudice sequel with a unique premise. Spotlight Caroline Bingley, a minor character who we all loved to hate in the original novel, and somehow make her into a likeable heroine. Impossible you say! And so it would seem. Add into the mix Robert Darcy, the unconventional American cousin of Mr. Darcy, and you have an intriguing concept that could challenge the most accomplished writer. Let’s hope author Monica Fairview’s fairy godmother mojo is stronger than Caroline’s predilection to snark.

After attending the marriage of Fitzwilliam Darcy to Elizabeth Bennet, the distraught Caroline Bingley uncharacteristically breaks down. Unbeknownst to her, she has a witness to her emotional outburst, Robert Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s American cousin. Shocked and embarrassed to be seen in such a state, their first meeting gets off to a very bad start. When they meet again a year later, Caroline is horrified to see him. Will he keep her secret, or use it against her? As they travel together from Hertfordshire to Derbyshire, complications delay their journey in Nottingham and their party takes refuge at a local estate. While there, Caroline will receive two surprising marriage proposals. One from Colonel Fitzwilliam who she suspects is motivated by her dowry, and the second by the last man in world she would be prevailed upon to marry, Robert Darcy. To save her honor, he has gallantly stepped forward offering a fake proposal to quell rumors of her engagement to the wealthy and distinguished Sir Cecil Rynes, the one man she truly aspires to marry. Dumbfounded and numb with shock, the proper Caroline has no choice but to temporarily play along with the scheme to save her own reputation. Also included in the ensemble are many familiar characters from the original novel: The Bennets, the Bingleys, Louisa Hurst, Lydia Wickham, and of course Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, all ready to offer help or hindrance to the couple.

Cleverly crafted and humorously engaging, The Other Mr. Darcy will delight Austen fans as they travel with Caroline Bingley on a journey of self discovery to Pemberley, and her heart. Monica Fairview is a skilled storyteller, creatively continuing Jane Austen’s characters, presenting a captivating but un-haughty version of the iconic Mr. Darcy in his American cousin Robert Darcy, and a Caroline Bingley who clings to her structured propriety sparking brisk repartees between them. Surprisingly, this Caroline has evolved beyond that snobby and gossipy “mean girl” that we remember in the original. I did not object to her change in attitude, but I think it would have been a tad more interesting if Caroline was that “mean girl” at the beginning, and grew away from it with new experiences. Despite this small quibble, I commend Monica Fairview for waving her magic wand and cleverly transforming Caroline Bingley into a human being worth knowing!

4 out of 5 Regency Stars 

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview
Sourcebooks, Landmark (2009)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402225130

Additional Reviews

Cover image courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark © 2009; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2009, Austenprose.com

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview – A Review

The Other Mr Darcy, by Monica Fairview (2009)The Other Mr. Darcy is a new Pride and Prejudice sequel with a unique premise. Spotlight Caroline Bingley, a minor character who we all loved to hate in the original novel, and somehow make her into a likeable heroine. Impossible you say! And so it would seem. Jealous, manipulative and scheming, her negative attributes heavily outweighed any of her finer qualities (honestly, none come to mind), presenting an incredible challenge for any sequel writer. Add into the mix Robert Darcy, the unconventional American cousin of Mr. Darcy, and you have an intriguing concept. This will be either a complete bus accident, or a delightful ride in the park. Let’s hope author Monica Fairview’s fairy godmother mojo is stronger than Caroline’s predilection to snark.

Deeply mortified by Mr. Darcy’s marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, Caroline Bingley uncharacteristically breaks down on the day of the wedding ceremony. Distraught and sobbing, her emotional outburst is witnessed by Robert Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s American cousin. Shocked and embarrassed to be seen in such a state, their first meeting gets off to a very bad start. A year and a half later, Caroline is living with her brother Charles Bingley and his wife Jane at Netherfield Park. Also residing with the Bingley’s is her sister Mrs. Hurst, now a widow. When Robert Darcy arrives unannounced from Pemberley bearing urgent news for the Bingley’s, Caroline is horrified to see him again. Will he keep her secret, or use it against her? Jane is needed immediately by her sister Elizabeth prompting the Bingley’s to depart for Pemberley post haste, leaving Robert Darcy to escort the ladies to Derbyshire. Joining them from London is Colonel Fitzwilliam, Mr. Darcy’s cousin, and a Bingley family friend. Along the road, travel complications delay their journey in Nottingham, and they take refuge at the estate of the Lough’s, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s friends.

While there, Caroline will receive two surprising marriage proposals. The first is from Colonel Fitzwilliam. Suspecting that he is motivated by her fortune, she delays her decision. The next morning guests begin congratulating her on her betrothal, but not to Colonel Fitzwilliam; to the wealthy and distinguished Sir Cecil Rynes, sending her into a panic. This blunder will ruin her chances with the one man she truly aspires to marry. Whoever started this rumor has forced Sir Rynes’ hand to deny the betrothal, humilating Caroline. She must either acknowledge the engagement immediately or refute it. Resolved to announce the mistake, she is interrupted by her friend Mr. Olmstead who steps in with his own solution declaring that Caroline is indeed engaged – to Robert Darcy! Caroline is dumbfounded and numb with shock. Mr. Darcy has gallantly agreed to save her honor. The proper Caroline has no choice but to temporarily play along with the scheme to save her own reputation.

Monica Fairview is a skilled storyteller, the narrative well paced and engaging. I admired her creative ability to craft characters from Austen’s plot, move them in new directions, and introduce new characters that framed the scenes and enhanced the story. I found her style to be fairly modern, with little embellishment of the text with early nineteenth-century language or idioms. There are, however, brief allusions to passages and language from Pride and Prejudice that astute Janeites will recognize. The highlight of the novel were the brisk repartees between Caroline Bingley and Robert Darcy as sparks flew over their opposition to what each believed was right and wrong. This prompted plenty of misconceptions, misunderstanding and resolutions. This Mr. Darcy is an American with more relaxed social attitudes. Caroline on the other hand, holds on to her social strictures as long as she can, only gradually realizing that they are influencing her attitudes and judgments, ultimately keeping her from her own happiness.

So how did author Monica Fairview turn Caroline Bingley the perfect archetype of a malicious “mean girl” into a heroine that we can admire and root for? Very gradually. The snobby and gossipy Caroline that we remember is never there as strongly as Austen presented her. Most of the snide and spiteful comments are generated by her sister Louisa, making the reader believe that she was the inspiration of Caroline’s bad behavior to begin with. This Caroline has evolved, correcting her sister, and opposing her slights. I did not object to her change in attitude, however, I think it would have been a tad more interesting if Caroline was that “mean girl” at the beginning, and grew away from it with new experiences. Despite this small quibble, I commend Monica Fairview for waving her magic wand and cleverly transforming Caroline Bingley into a human being worth knowing!

4 out of 5 Regency Stars 

The Other Mr. Darcy, by Monica Fairview
Robert Hale, London (2009)
Hardcover (224) pages
ISBN: 9780709088110

Cover image courtesy of Robert Hale © 2009; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2009, Austenprose.com