In this sequel to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen, Sally Smith-O’Rourke takes us on a journey through time and across continents as we explore what happened to the characters and romances from her first novel.
Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen picks up moments after the previous book leaves off. The heroine, Eliza Knight, a contemporary New York artist, is staying at the home of Fitzwilliam Darcy, a handsome, southern gentleman and the owner of Pemberley Farms in Virginia. Previously, Eliza and Fitz were brought together by a pair of mysterious letters written by Jane Austen herself which suggested that she once had an affair with an American named Fitzwilliam Darcy. A man whom she later used as the basis of the hero of Pride and Prejudice.
Though the letters are valuable, Eliza decides to give them to Fitz (for reasons revealed in the previous book, which I won’t spoil). Eliza must now deal with the fallout from refusing to reveal the contents of the letters to the public while navigating her blossoming love for Fitz and trying to understand his past as a time traveler. Yup, a time traveler.
Eliza’s story also intertwines with that of an 1813 Jane Austen. Fresh off the success of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, Jane is planning to publish her newest novel, Mansfield Park. Jane writes and spends time with her family, though she cannot quite forget the handsome American who suddenly fell into her life just three years before and disappeared just as quickly.
I may be at a disadvantage here because I’ve never read The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. If you’re in the same boat, you will probably be able to catch up very quickly as the author spends quite a bit of time recapping the events of the previous story. However, I would really recommend going back and reading the first installment if you plan to tackle this one.
The main reason for this is that I just couldn’t shake the feeling that The Man Who Loved Jane Austen was probably a much more interesting book than this one. Jane Austen? Mysterious letters? The truth about the real Fitzwilliam Darcy? Time travel? Budding romance? Sign me up. Once all of those questions are answered, there just doesn’t seem much left to do. Continue reading