Book Reviews, Jane Austen Sequels Book Reviews

The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, by Regina Jeffers – A Review

The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy, by Regina Jeffers (2012)Review by Lisa Galek

In case you’re like me and can never seem to get enough of your favorite Jane Austen characters, The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy will have you curled up next to the fires at Pemberley in no time. Just don’t expect to stay too long… for there’s a mystery to be solved!

This book is a sequel to a sequel. It follows the events of not only Pride and Prejudice, but also Regina Jeffers’s other Austen-inspired novel, Christmas at Pemberley. For those of us who haven’t got a chance to check out that volume yet, don’t worry – the author spends time catching us up on all the important details. Mr. and Mrs. Darcy are happy at home at Pemberley, glowing after the birth of their first child, Bennet. Georgiana has also experienced some changes of her own. She has married her cousin, Major General Fitzwilliam (promoted from Colonel after we last left him in Pride and Prejudice). The Major General has been sent off to fight the French shortly after their marriage, leaving Georgiana to get settled at their estate in Scotland. As the novel opens, Georgiana receives an erroneous letter explaining that her husband has been killed during the battle of Waterloo. In her grief, she foolishly flees on horseback out onto the dangerous Scottish moors. When the Darcys receive word that Georgiana has not been heard or seen from in days, they race to Scotland in order to locate their missing sister. Their investigations lead them to Normanna Hall, a ghoulish gothic castle, owned by Domhnall MacBethan and his domineering mother, Dolina. What horrors live inside those terrifying walls? Does the secret to finding Georgiana lie inside the castle? Can the Darcys get to her in time?

The novel also returns us to some of our favorite characters. Mr. and Mrs. Wickham show up and attempt to gain entrance to Pemberley (they are rejected and fists fly). Mary and Kitty have also been married off to respectable young men. Jane and Charles Bingley are happy and thriving with their own family of three adorable little children. Lady Catherine also makes a brief appearance, but sadly, she seems to have received a complete personality makeover during Christmas at Pemberley, so there’s no one to satisfy one’s love for affable condescension.

One of the dangers of writing a sequel to one of the best-loved novels in all of western literature is that the reader may not care for the direction in which you take her cherished characters. I found myself alternately enjoying and being annoyed by the author’s depiction of the people I knew and loved from Pride and Prejudice. I was thrilled that Georgiana married Colonel Fitzwilliam (because that is what I always imagined would happen) and that Elizabeth, too, kept some of her wit and charm. However, I was completely annoyed with the Wickhams, who seemed to act totally out of character. Lydia suddenly had a desire to become a dutiful wife and Wickham had turned into a very violent and angry man. Elizabeth also had a bit of sap added as she repeatedly reassured her husband that if Georgiana were dead “they would know it in their hearts,” and seemed to put a little too much emphasis on her “woman’s intuition.” Mr. Darcy, too, got a bit of a romantic makeover. His constant expressions of love for Elizabeth seemed a bit too over-the-top. Certainly Mr. Darcy loved and valued his wife, but I have a hard time imagining that he would ever put these sentences down on paper:

Please know, my dearest Elizabeth, that each night I will dream of you – the woman I adore. My love for you is more than true, and my feelings are deeper than those three words so easily bandied about among those caught up in passion’s first flush. When you came into my life my world tilted, but it also opened for me for the first time. My life began. You are the music of my soul. Until we are once more in one another’s embrace, I remain your loving husband.

Aside from all this, the basic plot of the book was good. Though Georgiana’s disappearance didn’t come into play until about a third of the way through, once we started to understand more about the predicament she found herself in, I became more drawn into the story and more invested in finding out the fate of the missing girl. The new characters, too – especially the devious MacBethans – were well done and came with fully-formed backstories that added to the suspense and drama. And, I hope it’s not too much of a spoiler to say that this mystery had an intriguing twist that kept me guessing right up until the end.

All in all, an interesting and engaging read. Those who like a good mystery will be pulled in. And if you don’t mind seeing it all play out with your favorite Austen characters, then you’ll enjoy it all the more.

3.5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Disappearance of Georgiana Darcy: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery, by Regina Jeffers
Ulysses Press (2012)
Trade paperback (336) pages
ISBN: 978-1612430454
NOOK: 978-1612430812
Kindle: B007OVTCQ6

Lisa Galek is a professional writer, editor and lover of all things Jane Austen. She lives in the suburbs of Cleveland with her wonderful husband and their two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth and Gwendolyn. When she’s not working or mothering, she enjoys attempting to write her own novels, watching mindless TV shows, and re-reading Pride and Prejudice yet again.

© 2007 – 2012, Lisa Galek, Austenprose

Austenesque, Book Reviews, Holiday Reading, Regency Era

Christmas at Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Sequel, by Regina Jeffers – A Review

Christmas at Pemberley, by Regina Jeffers (2011)From the desk of Aia A. Hussein 

The author of several Jane Austen adaptations, including Darcy’s Passions and Darcy’s Temptation among others, Regina Jeffers returns with the appropriately-timed release of Christmas at Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Sequel.  Historically situated in Regency England, before the holiday season evolved into its present monumental proportions, Jeffers’ novel attempts to capture the simple lessons of the holiday season of which she considers love, strong family ties, and generosity to be at its core.

Of course, as this book is about the holidays and as Lady Catherine de Bourgh is now technically Lizzy’s aunt, you can also expect family drama to be present in high doses as well.

In an attempt to provide some extra holiday cheer to Lizzy, who has been uncharacteristically subdued and morose after numerous miscarriages, Darcy secretly invites the Bennets and Bingleys to spend the holiday season at Pemberley.  However, as he and Lizzy are on their way home to join the surprise gathering, a blizzard hits the English countryside which forces the couple to take shelter at a small inn.  While they wait for an opportunity to return home, a Mr. and Mrs. Joseph arrive in need of a place to stay and Lizzy becomes anxious for the very pregnant Mrs. Joseph.  It turns out Lizzy’s anxiety is spot-on as a long and painful labor quickly ensues and Lizzy is the only one able and willing to provide help.

Meanwhile, at Pemberley, Georgiana is left alone to tend to her brother’s guests and finds herself in the unenviable task of opening Pemberley’s doors to eleven unscheduled visitors – one of whom is the formidable Lady Catherine – who are all seeking shelter from the surprise storm.  Determined to shed her childhood fears of incompetence and helplessness, Georgiana tries desperately to manage the large party but Lady Catherine’s bitter resentment of the Bennets for their so-called pollution of the shades of Pemberley, the surprise return of Colonel Fitzwilliam from the American front who awakens unexpected feelings in Georgiana, Caroline Bingley’s infatuation with a mysterious American who makes everyone uncomfortable (except for Mrs. Bennet, of course, who is enamored of his talk of wealth and importance and throws Kitty in his path whenever possible), and a host of other entanglements threaten to plunge Pemberley into holiday chaos.

One of the advantages to writing sequels to beloved classics is the knowledge that your readers will automatically feel invested in your characters simply because they are familiar.  There is something about familiarity, about knowing the back story to Darcy and Lizzy’s relationship for instance, that makes the reading experience seem so much more personal.  We are willing to journey with these characters a little bit longer because we feel like we have a history with them.  In many ways, this book is like catching up with old friends.  That experience, in of itself, is usually enough for me to pick up a book like Jeffers’ novel.  That being said, there is also the risk of inserting impressions and interpretations that may seem foreign or misplaced to the reader.  The overtly religious tone of the novel, for example, is not something I would normally associate with an Austen reimagining and I found it a little surprising.  Jeffers is not heavy-handed about it, nor is she judgmental, and it all results in a very thoughtful and contemplative novel about the nature of love, pain, and trust that anyone can appreciate.

One of the problems, however, with crossing a Regency-inspired novel with the sentimentality Christmas may inspire is that you run the risk of being too maudlin and, unfortunately, I did find the book to be a little too sweet for my taste.  The structure of the novel is also a bit dizzying with the transitions to and from the multiple storylines not as smooth as I would have hoped.  All that being said, however, the holiday season is usually when some readers crave sentimentality and, to that end, this is a satisfactory novel filled with familiar characters as they continue to overcome obstacles, find love, and remind each other of the true spirit of the holidays.

4 out of 5 stars

Christmas at Pemberley: A Pride and Prejudice Holiday Sequel, by Regina Jeffers
Ulysses Press (2011)
Trade paperback (336) pages
ISBN: 978-1569759912

PURCHASE LINKS:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cover image courtesy of Ulysses Press © 2011; text Aia A. Hussein © 2011, Austenprose.com

Austenesque, Book Previews, Jane Austen Book Sleuth, Jane Austen Books

Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for September 2010

Autumn is here — and September is my favorite month of the year in book publishing.  There is always so much to choose from and this year does not disappoint.  The Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites of the many, many Austen inspired books heading our way this month, so keep your eyes open for these new titles.  Vampires seem to be dominating the field, with mysteries and Mr. Darcy stories not far behind.  Enjoy!

FICTION (prequels, sequels, retellings, variations, or Regency inspired)

Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron: Being A Jane Austen Mystery, by Stephanie Barron

It’s been four long years since Jane and the Baroque of Frailty, the last Jane Austen mystery from Stephanie Barron first graced my bookshelf.  That is eternity for this Janeite who is as passionate (well almost) about mysteries as her Jane Austen.  The combination of these two mighty forces of fiction is about as good as it gets for me in pleasure reading.  This is the tenth book in Barron’s critically acclaimed series of Jane Austen as a genteel Regency-era sleuth, gumshoeing it with Lords, Ladies and murderers.  The story set in 1813 throws Jane into a murder investigation in Brighton (oh, won’t Kitty & Lydia Bennet be thrilled) involving that infamous mad, bad and dangerous to know poet of the Regency-era, Lord Byron. *swoon* (publisher’s description)  The restorative power of the ocean brings Jane Austen and Continue reading “Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for September 2010”

Author Interviews

An Interview with Regina Jeffers – Author of Vampire Darcy’s Desire

Yes, Darcy is now a vampire! Well actually a Dhampir. Do I sound skeptical or just cynical?

Vampires are hot in the media these days after the Twilight phenomenon. Moreover, everyone knows that a young “lady’s imagination is very rapid;” it jumps from the nouveau hottie on the block Edward Cullen to the ultimate one, Mr. Darcy, in a moment. So Darcy becoming a vampire was not a big stretch. Like death and taxes it was inevitable.

I must admit I am intrigued by the concept and more than willing to see what an author could do with “turning” the most iconic romantic hero in literature. It would certainly explain some of Darcy’s superior and enigmatic behavior in Pride and Prejudice. We have already seen one author’s interpretation of Jane Austen’s most famous character struggling with his dark family secret this last summer with Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange. Now Vampire Darcy’s Desire by Regina Jeffers has just been released. I was interested to know from the author’s perspective what inspired her take on such a challenging transformation and what direction she would take in integrating the vampire lore. Ms. Jeffers kindly agreed to answer my questions and granted me this thoughtful and engaging interview. It might surprise you. It has certainly tempted me to read the book.

What was your inspiration to transform Pride and Prejudice into a vampire-themed novel?

Truthfully, the initial concept came from the publisher Ulysses Press. When one of the editors approached me on the project, my rankles immediately rose because, to me, Pride and Prejudice is the most perfect novel ever written, and the thoughts of someone abusing that storyline sent me into a state of amusement mixed with irritation. However, after discussing the idea with close friends and with my editor, I realized I could maintain integrity in the storyline because of my love for and knowledge of the Austen oeuvre.

I could not abide by conceptualizing Darcy as the vampire who seduces Elizabeth. If vampirism was to be added to the tale, I wanted Darcy portrayed as a poetic tragic hero rather than as an embodiment of evil. I also wanted to control the representation of sexuality, the combination of horror and lust. As in Austen’s work, Darcy would desire Elizabeth and would be willing to put aside his beliefs and lifestyle in order to earn her love.

Do you see any similarities from the Vampire genre and Jane Austen’s novels?

Vampire literature springs from the early Gothic tales, which ironically peppered the literature of Jane Austen’s time. In early vampire tales, a respectable and virtuous woman rejects a man’s love. The woman is under the influence of a tyrannical and powerful male, from whom the “hero” must save her, and that “hero” possesses a highly developed intelligence and exceptional charisma and charm. A “seduction” of sorts occurs. Are those elements not also present in each of Austen’s pieces?

After all, Austen herself parodied the Gothic novel with her Northanger Abbey, even mocking Anne Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. She used the stereotypes of the abbey, the mysterious murder, and the evil seducer; yet, Austen kept the theme of the individual’s worth, found in all vampiric literature.

Vampire novels can be scary and gory. Could you elaborate on the tone and direction you have chosen for Vampire Darcy’s Desire and how you have handled the Gothic parts?

Anne Radcliffe said, “Terror and Horror are so far opposite that the first expands the soul and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life; the other contracts, freezes, and nearly annihilates them . . .. And where lies the difference between horror and terror, but in the uncertainty and obscurity that accompany the first, respecting the dreading evil?”

Some elements of the Gothic are apparent in Vampire Darcy’s Desire: an ancient prophecy, dream visions, supernatural powers, characters suffering from impending doom, women threatened by a powerful, domineering male, and the quick shorthand of the metonymy to set the scenes. Yet, essentials of romance are just as prominent: a powerful love, with elements of uncertainty about the love being returned, the lovers separated by outside forces, and a young woman becoming the target of an evil schemer.

Darcy voluntarily isolates himself because of the family curse; Wickham is the epitome of evil. As in many Gothic tales, supernatural phenomena and prevalent fears (murder, seduction, and perversion) are incorporated, but the underlying theme of a fallen hero centralizes the storyline. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick claims (“The Structure of the Gothic Convention,” The Coherence of Gothic Conventions, 1980) a person’s suppressed emotions are compared in the extended metaphor of the protagonist’s struggle against nightmarish forces. Vampire Darcy’s Desire combines terror with horror and mystery, set within the framework of a love story.

Can you briefly describe Darcy the Dhampir? How is he different from Jane Austen’s Darcy?

A Dhampir, the product of the union between a vampire and a human, probably finds its origin in Serbian folklore. Modern fiction holds many examples: Blade (a Marvel comic brought to life by Wesley Snipes on the screen), the character Connor in the TV series Angel (the show’s male equivalent of a Slayer), and Renesmee (the daughter of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn). Traditionally, a Dhampir has the ability to see vampires, even when they are cloaked with the power of invisibility. They generally have similar vampire powers with only a few complications.

This new Darcy possesses many of the qualities the reader notes in Austen’s character. He is “withdrawn” from society, is generous to those he affects, is protective of his sister and his estate, and has a sharp wit. He is amused by Elizabeth’s verbal battles and is attracted to her physically. Darcy denies this attraction initially and then makes changes in his life to win and to keep Elizabeth’s regard.

In order to end the curse of vampirism passed on to the first-born son of each generation, Darcy the Dhampir has decided he will never marry. He considers it to be an honorable action. No previous generation has ever succeeded in defeating George Wickham, but this Fitzwilliam Darcy is less likely to succumb to the temptation of eternal life, so Wickham must resort to different tactics to exact revenge.

Austen’s Darcy says, “I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit . . .. I was spoiled by my parents . . . allowed, encouraged, almost taught to be selfish and overbearing . . ..”  This characteristic plays well in the Dhampir Darcy’s pursuit of Elizabeth. He more aggressively persists in winning her affection in this book.

Thank you for joining us today Regina. Vampire Darcy’s Desire is now available from Ulysses Press.

Author’s Biography

Regina Jeffers currently is a teacher in the North Carolina public schools, but previously she taught in both West Virginia and Ohio. Nearly forty years in the classroom gives her insights into what makes a good story. A self-confessed Jane Austen “freak,” she began her writing career two years ago with the encouragement of her Advanced Placement students. Her next Austen inspired novel Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion: Jane Austen’s Classic Retold Through His Eyes will be released by Ulysses Press in March 2010.

Cover image courtesy of Ulysses Press © 2009; text Regina Jeffers & Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com

Jane Austen Book Sleuth

Vampire Darcy’s Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation, by Regina Jeffers – An Excerpt

Last June I posted a preview of Darcy’s Hunger, a new Pride and Prejudice retelling of Jane Austen’s famous love story with a vampire theme. Since then, the book has gone through a ‘turning’ so to speak with a new cover, an earlier release date of October 1st, 2009 and complete name change to Vampire Darcy’s Desire: A Pride and Prejudice Adaptation. Here is the publisher’s description:  

In Austen’s original novel, Darcy and Elizabeth are compelled to overcome countless obstacles — but that’s nothing compared to what they face in Vampire Darcy’s Desire. This inventive, action-packed novel tells of a tormented Darcy who comes to “Netherfield” to escape the intense pressure on him to marry. Dispirited by his family’s 200-year curse and his fate as a half-human/half-vampire dhampir, Darcy would rather live forever alone than inflict the horrors of a vampire life on a beautiful wife. Destiny has other plans. Darcy meets Elizabeth and finds himself yearning for her as a man and driven to possess her as a vampire. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, their complex relationship forces them to confront their pride and prejudice like never before and to wrestle with the seductive power of forbidden love. Meanwhile, dark forces are at work all around them. Most ominous is the threat from George Wickham, the purveyor of the curse, a demon who vows to destroy each generation of Darcy’s and currently has evil intentions for the vulnerable Georgiana. 

The author Regina Jeffers has kindly offered to share an excerpt from the novel with us. As you will surmise from this short scene, there is no prolonged mystery over who is and isn’t a vampire that we experienced in the first Darcy themed vampire novel to hit bookstores with past summer. Jeffers has taken an entirely direct approach from the first page. Enjoy the excerpt! 

She was beautiful in all her innocence, much more beautiful than the infamous Mrs. Smith, his latest minion, who arranged this encounter and waited for him in the adjoining woods. Long, thick lashes rested on the rise of her high cheek bones, and although a bit mussed, the golden tresses spread out across her pillow like the rays of the sun. A deep sigh brought his attention to her lips, and for a moment he thought her awake, but Georgiana Darcy slept soundly thanks to his spellbinding charm. She was the embodiment of his beloved Ellender. 

One candle lit the room, casting shadows, which danced in the corners. There was nothing mediocre about the room – rich tapestries and elegant sculpting. “Only the best for the Darcys,” he mumbled as he moved forward to stand over her. 

With a unique swagger not found in many of his kind, he nearly glided to the bed’s edge. Unable to hide his anger and his contempt, a frown furrowed his deep set eyes, and a flash of fire transformed his vision. A torrent of images racked his soul – pictures of blood – of betrayal – of revenge. “You will do quite well, my Dear,” he whispered. “I will enjoy spending an eternity with you.” He lightly twisted one of her curls around his finger. “This is for the first of my kin to suffer at the Darcys’ hands.” 

Slowly, he leaned over her, feeling the blood rush through her veins – hard, dark eyes, seeking the indentation of her neck – relishing a feeling of expectancy – ringing silence broken only by his breathing. 

Fully engulfed in his desire, when the door swung open, it took several seconds before he realized an intruder discovered his inexplicable need for her. “Move away from her, Wickham,” the tall, dark figure ordered as he stepped carefully into the room. “You will not bring your death and decay into my household.” 

“You brought it into mine, Darcy.” He stood, trying to judge his next move. Wickham knew in an out-and-out fight to the end, the man in front of him stood no chance of survival, but sensing no supernatural fear from the intruder made Wickham question what else this confrontation held. Absent of all volition, he hesitated only a moment before moving in a swirling whirlwind to a point of advantage, but the man framed in the light of the doorway did not move. 

A dramatic black eyebrow lifted quizzically. “You forget, Wickham, we already share the same characteristics. You cannot infect what is already infected. Neither my sister nor I will follow you into the darkness. This madness ends – the curse – the wicked allure will die with us.” The deep rumble of his voice filled the room, and a gleam entered his ice blue eyes, intensified by his opponent’s muteness. 

“I have not given up taking my fill of beautiful young ladies.” A glowering presence exuded from him, right before a squall-like eruption pushed Wickham forward, arms extended to the side, sending Darcy rolling along the floor, scrambling to avoid the chasm – an abhorrent shudder of death. “I am coming for you, Darcy,” the voice boomed through the room as cold blasts flew from sinewy hands, reminiscent of the grave. 

Sucking noises filled Fitzwilliam Darcy’s senses, and he realized the tall, pale form loomed over him in an infuriating counterattack. Sliding against the far wall, it was all Darcy could do to bite back a scream, but he ducked first and came up, arm flung overhead, preparing to unload. “Now, Wickham,” he hissed, and then he released it. 

A vial, carrying clear liquid, tumbled end-over-end through the air, splitting the silence surrounding them – each figure moving in slow motion, playing out their parts in a deliberately swirling tableau. 

And then the stopper exploded, and the transparent fluid rained down on the apparition of George Wickham. A scream filling the room mingled with agony and terror, smelling of old blood and dark radiance. The shadow hissed in the moonlight, and the odor of burning flesh wafted over both of them. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s smile turned up the corners of his mouth. “Holy water,” he whispered in affirmation. 

“You will rot in hell!” Wickham threatened. “I will see those you love ruined – see them lick the blood from your body. Sharp fangs jutting from their mouths – smelling of death and decay – ghoulish nightmares!” He started forward again, prepared for another reprisal, but Darcy anticipated the move. Pulling the double crucifixes from his pocket, he met Wickham’s intent with one of his own. “Iron,” he mocked, unfurling the chain and reaching out to his enemy. 

Panic played across Wickham’s fever-filled eyes as he backed away from the symbol of the Trinity, stumbling – recoiling – and suddenly, he was gone in a grey shadow moving across the lawn, a highly combustible howl billowing upon the breeze in his retreat. 

Darcy stood motionless for several long minutes, needing to clear his head. He took a slow breath, trying to control his anger, and then he smelled it – smoke. Against his better judgment, he rushed to the bedchamber’s open door. “Wickham!” he cursed. The house he rented in Ramsgate heated with a fiery blaze, started at three separate points of entry on the bottom floor. Thick smoke, fueled by heavy draperies and fine upholstered furniture, rolled from the doorways of the lower rooms and rose in a black drape to cover the stairway. Acrid smoke drifted his way. Immediately, he turned toward the body still reclining on the bed where George Wickham left her. 

“Georgiana!” he called in a panic as he scooped her into his arms and pulled his sister tight to his chest. Darcy grabbed a towel on the washstand and dipped it into the tepid water she used earlier. He draped the wet towel over her head and face, repeating the procedure for himself. Then he made his way to the top of the stairs. Thick smoke covered the lower half of the rise. He took a deep breath and lunged forward.

Author’s Biography 

Regina Jeffers currently is a teacher in the North Carolina public schools. A self-confessed Jane Austen “freak,” she began her writing career two years ago with the encouragement of her Advanced Placement students. Vampire Darcy’s Desire will be her sixth book in that short time. 

Vampire Darcy’s Desire has been published by Ulysses Press and is now available for purchase. Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1569757314

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Jane Austen Book Sleuth

Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for September

According to Jane, by Marilyn Brant (2009)The Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that many Austen inspired books are heading our way in September, so keep your eyes open for these new titles.  

Fiction (prequels, sequels, retellings, variations, or Regency inspired) 

According To Jane, by Marilyn Brant 

Here is a bright new face on the Austen sequel/inspiration market. In this contemporary novel, Jane Austen’s ghost inhabits teenage Ellie Barnett’s thoughts, guiding her through all of life’s romantic and unromantic dilemmas. Since we all know that Auntie Jane never steered any of her heroines in the wrong direction, Ellie has excellent advice, or does she?  (Publisher’s description) It begins one day in sophomore English class, just as Ellie Barnett’s teacher is assigning Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”. From nowhere comes a quiet ‘tsk’ of displeasure. The target: Sam Blaine, the cute bad boy who’s teasing Ellie mercilessly, just as he has since kindergarten. Entirely unbidden, as Jane might say, the author’s ghost has taken up residence in Ellie’s mind, and seems determined to stay there. Jane’s wise and witty advice guides Ellie through the hell of adolescence and beyond, serving as the voice she trusts, usually far more than her own. Years and boyfriends come and go – sometimes a little too quickly, sometimes not nearly fast enough. But Jane’s counsel is constant, and on the subject of Sam, quite insistent. Stay away, Jane demands. He is your Mr. Wickham. Still, everyone has something to learn about love – perhaps even Jane herself. And lately, the voice in Ellie’s head is being drowned out by another, urging her to look beyond everything she thought she knew and seek out her very own, very unexpected, happy ending. Kensington. ISBN: 978-0758234612 

Darcy and Anne, by Judith Brocklehurst (2009)Darcy and Anne: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband for Anne, by Judith Brocklehurst

Another Pride and Prejudice sequel which I am I happy to say is focused on the emancipation of Miss Anne de Bourgh, a minor character who sorely deserved a make-over. (Publisher’s description) It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband for Anne. When a fortuitous accident draws Anne away from Rosings and her overbearing mother’s direct influence, she is able to think and act for herself for the first time ever. In the society of her cousins Darcy and Georgiana, and, of course, the lively Mrs. Darcy, Anne reveals a talent for writing and a zest for life. Meanwhile, Lady Catherine is determined to choose a husband for Anne. But now that Anne has found her courage, she may not be so easy to rule. Anne de Bourgh is a sympathetic character whose obedience and meekness were expected of women in her day. As she frees herself from these expectations, Anne discovers strength, independence, and even true love in a wonderfully satisfying coming-of-age story. Sourcebooks Landmark. ISBN: 978-1402224386

Murder at Longbourn, by Tracy Kiely (2009)Murder at Longbourn: A Mystery, by Tracy Kiely 

Ready for a cozy mystery with a Pride and Prejudice theme? This debut novel by Tracy Kiely just might do the trick. Set in contemporary Cape Code, her Elizabeth Parker is as clever, witty and spirited as Jane Austen’s original Lizzy Bennet, but in addition to dealing with her love life, she is in the throws of a murder. (Publisher’s description) Planning New Year’s resolutions to rid her life of all things unhealthy, Elizabeth Parker has dumped fatty foods, processed sugar, and her two-timing boyfriend. Indeed, the invitation to join her Aunt Winnie for a How to Host a Murder Party on New Year’s Eve at Winnie’s new Cape Cod B and B comes just in time. But when the local wealthy miser ends up the unscripted victim, Elizabeth must unearth old secrets and new motives in order to clear her beloved aunt of suspicion. The suspects include the town gossip, a haughty rich woman, and an antiques business owner much enamored of his benefactress, a Mrs. Kristell Dubois. If that isn’t bad enough, Elizabeth must also contend with her childhood nemesis, Peter McGowan—a man she suspects has only matured in chronological years—and her suspicions about his family’s interest in Winnie’s inn. Minotaur Books. ISBN: 978-0312537562 

Darcy's Temptations, by Regina Jeffers (2009)Darcy’s Temptation: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Regina Jeffers 

Ah, Mr. Darcy. We can never get enough of him. In this creative Pride and Prejudice sequel, Darcy has lost his memory and has an adventure without Lizzy. Oh my! (Publisher’s description) By changing the narrator, Darcy’s Temptation turns one of the most beloved literary love affairs of all time on its head, even as it presents new plot twists and fresh insights into the characters’ personalities and motivations. The author faithfully applies Jane Austen’s fun-to-read style, suspenseful narrative, and sardonic humor to her own imaginative tale of romantic entanglements and social intrigue. Four months into the new marriage, all seems well when Elizabeth discovers she is pregnant. However, a family conflict that requires Darcy’s personal attention arises because of Georgiana’s involvement with an activist abolitionist. On his return journey from a meeting to address this issue, a much greater danger arises. Darcy is attacked on the road and, when left helpless from his injuries, he finds himself in the care of another woman. Ulysses Press. ISBN: 978-1569757239 

My Cousin Caroline: The Pemberley Chronicles No 6, by Rebecca Collins (2009)My Cousin Caroline: The Pemberley Chronicles Book 6, by Rebecca Collins 

You’ve got to hand it to author Rebecca Collins. She is one creative and persistent Janeite pumping out Pride and Prejudice continuations in rapid fire. Actually, she wrote the ten book series over several years. We are just now fortunate to have international publication through Sourcebooks. My Cousin Caroline is the sixth filly out of the gate in The Pemberley Chronicles series. (Publisher’s description) Mr. Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth’s cousin Caroline Gardiner take center stage. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Caroline develops from a pretty young girl into a woman of intelligence and passion, embodying some of Austen’s own values. Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, and the Wickham’s all move through the story as Caroline falls in love, marries, and raises her children. Caroline rejects the role of a compliant Victorian wife and mother, instead becoming a spirited and outspoken advocate of reformist causes in spite of the danger of scandal. Caroline’s advocacy of reform, undaunted by criticism, demonstrates strength in a time when a woman’s role was severely restricted. Sourcebooks Landmark. ISBN: 978-1402224317 

Waiting for Mr. Darcy, by Chamein Canton (2009)Wating for Mr. Darcy, by Chamein Canton 

The description of this book just made me smile. For all you ladies of a certain age waiting for Mr. Darcy to knock on your door, this book will both charm and inspire you. The author’s advice – “Open your eyes and your heart. He may be closer than you think.” (Publisher’s description) Three friends over forty still wait for Prince Charming in the form of their favorite Austen character, Mr. Darcy. Not quite ready to turn in their hot chick cards for the hot flashes of menopause, they’d like to find a man who is charming, smug, intelligent and cute to share the primes of their lives with (even if one of them doesn’t know she’s looking). Together they navigate this brave forty-plus world and find out that Mr. Darcy is closer than they think. Genesis Press. ISBN: 978-1585713516 

Austen’s Oeuvre 

Jane Austen: The Complete Novels (Collector's Library Edition) 2009Jane Austen: The Complete Novels (Collector’s Library Editions), by Jane Austen, illustrated by Hugh Thomson 

Oh yum! 720 pages of all Austen all the time and with colorized Hugh Thomson illustrations. What greedy Janeite could ask for more? (Publisher’s description) This title includes more than two hundred full colour illustrations by Hugh Thomson. All Jane Austen’s novels are presented in one volume. It features Jane Austen’s romantic world captured by her finest illustrator, Hugh Thomson. It also includes Thomson’s beautiful and evocative illustrations hand-coloured by Barbara Frith, one of Britain’s finest colourists. Barbara Frith’s renderings of Hugh Thomson’s illustrations have won the approval and commendation of both Jane Austen’s House Museum at Chawton and The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. This title contains extended biographical note and accompanying bibliography. It is presented in page size 270mm X 210mm; 720 pages; printed laminated case and dust jacket. CRW Publishing Limited. ISBN: 978-1905716630 

Nonfiction 

Reading Jane Austen, by Mona Scheuermann (2009)Reading Jane Austen, by Mona Scheuermann 

I just love Austen scholars. They keep pumping out treatise after treatise in the pursuit of the Holy Grail of Austen scholarship. This one springs from Austen as a moral barometer of her times. Jane Austen’s grand niece Mary Augusta Austen-Leigh wrote a biography of her great aunt admonishing those who thought Austen’s novels were written as moral lessons. Best that she avert her eyes on this one. (Publisher’s description) Reading Jane explores Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion against their historical and cultural backdrop to show precisely how Jane Austen sets out the core themes of British morality in her novels. Austen’s period was arguably the most socially and politically tumultuous in England’s history, and by replacing the novels in this remarkable era, Scheuermann sharply defines Austen’s view of the social contract. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 978-0230618770 

Austen’s Contemporaries 

A Simple Story (Oxford World's Classics), by Elizabeth Inchbald (2009)A Simple Story (Oxford World’s Classics), by Elizabeth Inchbald 

Elizabeth Inchbald, née Simpson (1753 – 1821) was an English novelist, actress, and dramatist who may be most famously remembered for her play Lover’s Vows which Jane Austen featured in her novel Mansfield Park. Both ladies wrote during the same time period, but their personalities and lifestyles appear complete opposites of each other. Austen lived quietly in the country and wrote about the country gentry she experienced, while Inchbald was an active performing actress touring Great Britain, writing plays and novels gently influenced by her radical political beliefs and desire of personal independence. A Simple Story is one of two novels she wrote. (Publisher’s description) When Miss Milner announces her passion for her guardian, a Catholic priest, she breaks through the double barrier of his religious vocation and 18th-century British society’s standards of proper womanly behavior. Like other women writers of her time, Elizabeth Inchbald concentrates on the question of a woman’s “proper education,” and her sureness of touch and subtlety of characterization prefigure Jane Austen’s work. Oxford University Press USA. ISBN: 978-0199554720 

Lord Byron Selected Poetry (Oxford World's Classics), by Lord Byron (2009)Lord Byron Selected Poetry (Oxford World’s Classics), by Lord Byron 

“I have read Corsair, mended my petticoat, & have nothing else to do.” Jane Austen in a letter to her sister Cassandra, 8 March 1814 

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, of Rochdale, (1788 – 1824) was a British poet and a prominent figure in the Romantic Movement. It is no surprise that Jane Austen mentions reading The Corsair in an 1814 letter to her sister Cassandra. As a writer also strongly interested in poetry, she would be keenly interested in new works. Byron was wildly acclaimed as a poet and scandalous social figure. His reputation as “mad, bad and dangerous to know” came from his well publicized affair in 1812 with the married Lady Caroline Lamb. Austen would later mention Lord Byron along with Mr. Scott in her novel Persuasion, as an example of superior writers when her characters Anne Elliot and Captain Benwick discuss literature and poetry. This reprint of his selected poetry by Oxford was edited, introduced, and noted by Jerome J. McGann, John Stewart Bryan Professor of English, University of Virginia. (Publisher’s description) Lord Byron was a legend in his own lifetime and the dominant influence on the Romantic movement. His early fame came in 1812 after the publication of Childe Harold. Relishing humor and irony, daring and flamboyancy, sarcasm and idealism, his work encompasses a sweeping range of topics, subjects, and models, embracing the most traditional and the most experimental poetic forms. This selection of Byron’s works includes such masterpieces as The Corsair, Manfred, Bebbo, Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN: 978-0199538782 

Movie Adaptations 

Sense and Sensibility, BBC Miniseries (1971)Sense and Sensibility (1971) 

This elusive and never before aired in the US miniseries of Sense and Sensibility produced by the BBC in 1971 will be available on DVD on September 29th. Staring Joanna David (Mrs. Gardiner in P&P 95) as Elinor Dashwood and Ciaran Madden as Marianne Dashwood, this three hour miniseries should be a treat for Austen enthusiast in the US who have only heard tales of its existence. Its reappearance on the video scene now requires a re-numbering of Sense and Sensibility movie adaptations, since the 1981 version had been considered the first available – with no hope that this could ever resurface. Now, if the 1967 BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries pops out of the vault, the fan numbering system will have to be re-mastered also. Special features include: Audio Commentary, deleted Scenes, interviews, outtakes and photo gallery. BBC Warner. UPC: 883929081202 

Until next month, happy reading! 

Laurel Ann

Austenesque, Book Previews, Historical Fantasy, Paranormal & Gothic Fiction, Pride and Prejudice Sequels

Darcy’s Hunger: A Vampire Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, by Regina Jeffers – A Preview

Darcy's Hunger, by Regina Jeffers (2009)Even more vampires in the queue for Janeites. After we reported last week about Mr. Darcy, Vampyre and The Imortal Jane, we are pleased to announce arriving this December from the author of Darcy’s Passions and Darcy’s Temptation is Darcy’s Hunger: A Vampire Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

This vampire twist on the classic love story gives new meaning to Mr. Darcy’s noble mien. We always knew he was enigmatic and haughty. Now he has been given a new reason. He is a Dhampir under an ancient family curse. In addition, other characters such as George Wickham who we only thought of as a wastrel, a gamester and a rogue, is seen in a new and even more sinister light.

Author Regina Jeffers has kindly shared an exclusive preview with us today, and given a short summary of the background and synopsis of the story.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

In the early 1600s, Ellender D’arcy set her cap for Lord Arawn Penningham, and the young man easily fell in love with her; but Léana, a beautiful muse of a vampire, known to offer inspiration to young artists, chooses Lord Arawn for her own. However, Penningham triumphantly resists her temptation and, ultimately, makes Léana his slave. Outraged, Léana seeks the help of her Baobhan Síth sisters, and a curse is placed on the young couple. Arawn’s descendants will forever be looking enviously at the D’arcys, and they will never achieve the same kind of greatness. In addition, the Baobhan Síth will take Arawn’s life.

Desperate to save the man she loves, Ellender strikes a deal with Léana, offering another of her suitors, Seoras Winchcombe, in Arawn’s stead. The curse of the vampires consequently runs through Seoras’s veins, and he hates the D’arcys for bringing demonic destruction on him. He vows his revenge, first taking Ellender and then a D’arcy of each generation. Seoras Winchcombe is the Scottish name for George Wickham, and the story of Arawn and Ellender is sung in the traditional Scottish ballad of “Fair Ellender and Lord Thomas.”

Two hundred years later, Fitzwilliam Darcy is the latest member of Ellender’s family to carry the curse. A Dhampir, Darcy holds a plan to end the hex. He will resist his desire to exercise his vampiric hunger, and he will destroy George Wickham. Everything is going as he foresees until he meets Elizabeth Bennet, and he finds he must possess her as both a man in love and as a vampire needing to feast on what only she can give him. Even more ironic, Elizabeth traces her roots back to Lord Arawn (Lord Thomas). Could Fate bring everyone full circle to one final showdown? The lure of eternal life and the seduction of fame and glory rides high as they must solve the mystery of the curse and destroy the beast in all of them.

AUTHOR BIO

Regina Jeffers currently is a teacher in the North Carolina public schools. A self-confessed Jane Austen “freak,” she began her writing career two years ago with the encouragement of her Advanced Placement students. Darcy’s Hunger will be her sixth book in that short time.

Darcy’s Hunger will be published by Ulysses Press and is available for pre-order in advance of its December 1st, 2009 release date. Trade paperback, ISBN: 978-1569757314

Many thanks to author Regina Jeffers for sharing this preview of Darcy’s Hunger. Please join in the fall when Ms. Jeffers talks about her inspiration for her new novel, describes Darcy the Dhampir and other re-imagined characters from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.