The Passions of Dr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

The Passions of Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan © 2013 SourcebooksFrom the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder: 

Some series are just too good to let go, whether they be movies, TV, or books. Sharon Lathan’s Darcy Saga, inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is one such series. I’ve had the pleasure of reading all six of the previous novels, and I was sure that book seven, The Passions of Dr. Darcy, would not disappoint me in the least. So, without further ado, I sat down and began to read about another member of the Darcy family: Uncle George.

While a young Master Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his childhood at Pemberley, another member of the Darcy family is out making a name for himself in the world. Dr. George Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s bright and engaging uncle, has quickly become noted around the countryside as one of the greatest physicians in the area. He enjoys all the attention, but becomes restless and decides to make a drastic change that will take him away from all the rich and bland clientele he is used to. So, he sets off on an assignment with the British East India Company, which at the time had expanded far and wide into the Indian subcontinent. Excited to take on this new opportunity, Dr. Darcy then embarks on a journey that is full of wonder and experiences that will last forever. He then returns after many years and recounts his tales to the now older Fitzwilliam Darcy, his wife Elizabeth, and their family. We join in the experience as Dr. Darcy describes the adventures which have shaped him into the gentleman he is today. Continue reading

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan (2011)Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

The happily-ever-after at Pemberley takes a sharp left in The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, the fifth book in Sharon Lathan’s lush, romantic Darcy Saga.  Darker and more complex than the preceding novels in the series, Lathan tackles deeper elements in  Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy’s marriage.  Gone are the days of the happy honeymoon period, as Elizabeth struggles to recover from her second pregnancy, creating tension in the Darcy household.

Lathan’s latest work definitively shows her growth as an author, chronicling a marriage that has its roots in real-life marital problems that we all face.  Because of this, I was drawn into the story and interested where it would lead.  I  really connected with Lizzy, being a married woman myself, and I happily dove into the pages not knowing what to expect, but excited all the same.

After returning from their six month trip to the continent, Lizzy gives birth to their second child, Michael.  Days of happiness should be ahead, but unfortunately aren’t, due to Michael being born more than a month early.  Lizzy becomes desperate in her care for him and begins neglecting Darcy and their first child Alexander.  Darcy becomes angry and depressed due to what he sees as his failing in properly taking care of his family.  Lizzy and Darcy soon stop speaking to one another and sleep in separate rooms, causing major issues in their relationship.  Luckily Dr. Darcy, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s uncle, begins noticing what’s going on and sees that Lizzy is suffering from what we would call today as post-partum depression.  He begins Elizabeth on an herbal treatment to help calm her hormone imbalance and get her back to normal.

Lizzy and Darcy begin to mend their relationship and about a month later all is back to normal.  By the time Lizzy is feeling herself again they rush off to Meryton for her youngest sister Kitty’s wedding.  In the days leading up the impending nuptials, they discover that Lydia and Wickham will be attending the event, making it the first time that the Darcy’s have been in his company since “discovering them” living together in London before they were married.  When the Wickham’s arrive, Lizzy is surprised to see that Lydia is dressed in the latest fashions and that neither she nor Wickham look like they are at a loss for money.  This begins the cogs working in Elizabeth and Darcy’s minds as to where their money is coming from, and what the Wickham’s are really doing in Meryton….

This is, without a doubt, Lathan’s best book in the saga so far, as Darcy and Lizzy evolve into a more mature couple.  Gone are the overtly gushy scenes where they obsessively call each other pet names and tell each other how much they are in love with each other.  The Lizzy and Darcy of TTwMD are more secure in their love and affection for each other, and it’s obvious in the change of their manner of speech.  The love scenes were the one thing that bothered me about the former books in the series.  It became tedious to read them book after book; with TTwMD the love scenes are more sensual and seductive (definitely for mature audiences).  The notion of a perfect marriage is also gone, replaced by a marriage that is marred with the occasional conflict and misunderstanding.  Watching them struggle with Lizzy’s post-partum, which is a real conflict in many marriages today, turned the book into a truer look into their marriage.  Their relationship is therefore much more believable because of these points, making the book more enjoyable for me.

The best part about Lathan’s writing is that she’s unafraid to delve into the minds of Austen’s supporting characters.  In the first four books we see Jane, Bingley, Caroline Bingley, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Kitty, and Mary all get their own story lines.  I was beginning to wonder when we would see more Georgiana Darcy!  The Trouble with Mr. Darcy FINALLY takes us deeper into her story and gives her a “happy ending”.  Lathan has a great way of introducing characters in small way in her prior books and then expands on their story lines in her later works.  It’s a great tactic that ties all the novels in the series closer together, making the story more seamless and streamlined.

While The Trouble with Mr. Darcy takes us down a darker road in the marriage of Elizabeth and Darcy, it is in turn very enjoyable to see them work through struggles and evolve.  Because she makes us truly care about the outcome of these beloved characters, it’s easy to see why Lathan’s Darcy Saga is so successful.  Just as romantic and engaging as ever, this is one sequel you won’t want to miss.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy, by Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks (2011)
Trade paperback (368) pages
ISBN: 978-1402237546

© 2007 – 2011 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

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

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy: A Novel, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy marks author Sharon Lathan’s fourth Pride and Prejudice sequel. As we journey to Pemberley and revisit the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, we take a slightly different path than her first three novels: In Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journey’s Beyond Pemberley and My Dearest Mr. Darcy: An Amazing Journey into Love Everlasting, which chronicled the first year of their marriage. We now experience Lizzie and Darcy’s life from a wider perspective. Still deeply in love, but more mature in their relationship, Lathan weaves in new conflicts/surprises/events into the story and expands the roles of familiar characters such as Colonel Fitzwilliam, Georgiana Darcy, and Jane and Charles Bingley.

Picking up where My Dearest Mr. Darcy left off, the novel begins with the Darcy’s second Christmas celebration and the birth of their first son and heir to Pemberley, Alexander. Much to the chagrin of the “ton”, the Darcy’s refuse to employ a wet nurse preferring to care for their son themselves. Unfortunately, distressing news interrupts their joyous Christmas day celebration. A fire has broken out in one of the mills that Darcy is part owner of requiring his immediate attention. Much to Lizzie’s sadness, Darcy is forced to leave during the holiday, but promises to return for their son’s first month birthday.

As Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam travel to the mill, we learn of Col. Fitzwilliam’s love for an old flame who has recently become a widow. Darcy is astounded that Col. Fitzwilliam believes he is ready to settle down and leave the military. The two share some wonderful moments together, truly showing what excellent friends they are, as well as cousins.

“Go easy on me Darcy.  I think I am in love, yes, but I am caught up in my own Shakespearean tragedy.”  … Timing is everything, I have come to believe.  Certainly this is true in military matters, but also in life and love.”

On the way back, a blizzard erupts and Col. Fitzwilliam and Darcy find themselves amidst a murder mystery! I won’t tell you the particulars of the whodunit, but it was an interesting chapter to say the least. (I’m not sure if it’s because I recently read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, but I felt like this chapter was influenced by that novel. There was much talk about the mill, the people who ran it, and their living and working conditions. It was a nice addition that added depth to the story).

Upon Darcy’s return to Pemberley we find Georgiana and Lizzie preparing for their introductions to society. Georgiana has begun her transformation into a proper young lady, discarding the blushes of her youth, for the bloom of an engaging young woman. We are also treated to the baptism of young Alexander and are given a great chapter showcasing how proud Darcy is of his son, and what a wonderful father he will grow to be. We are also given glimpses into the engagement of Caroline Bingley, Kitty Bennet developing her first crush and broken heart, and the birth of Jane and Charles’ first child, as well as some more lovely moments between Lizzie and Darcy.

Engaging, fast paced and searingly romantic, I highly recommend reading In the Arms of Mr. Darcy if you’re a true Lizzie and Darcy fan. Lathan creates multiple story-arcs in her novels and weaves the Darcy’s underlying love story through it all. Even though we experience a much more mature relationship between the Darcy’s, they are still infatuated with each other, and I am compelled to forewarn readers that there are many sexual scenes not only this novel, but Lathan’s first three as well.  If you are not a fan of authors who take those kinds of liberties with Austen’s characters, then I say steer clear!

I have to say I enjoyed In the Arms of Mr. Darcy best of all of Lathan’s novels in the series because of how the supporting characters take a much stronger role. As much as I enjoy following Elizabeth and Darcy’s new life together, I was glad to see more of Col. Fitzwilliam, Georgiana, and Jane and Charles Bingley included as it added depth to the story. For me there are only so many times I can hear Darcy and Lizzie call each other pet names, or tell each other how much they love one another, and I was glad to be given a breather and thrust into the supporting characters lives.

4 out of 5 Regency Stars

In the Arms of Mr. Darcy: A Novel, by Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks (2010)
Trade paperback (384) pages
ISBN: 978-1402236990

© 2007 – 2010 Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Austenprose

A Darcy Christmas: A Holiday Tribute to Jane Austen – A Review

Guest review by Christina Boyd

A Darcy Christmas: A Holiday Tribute to Jane Austen is a collection of three holiday novellas by Sourcebooks’ best-selling authors Amanda Grange and Sharon Lathan, and debut author Carolyn Eberhart. Reading and reviewing a Christmas book when pumpkins, witches and goblins still abound seems out of synch. Alas, with a sigh, I have mustered all of my supercilious, Ebenezer Scrooge-like sympathies and yielded to pre-Christmas, pre-Halloween! undertaking.

In Sharon Lathan’s A Darcy Christmas (same as the title of this book) nine chapters chronicle the highlights of some twenty-nine years of Darcy family Christmas’ including the joyous first Christmas when Darcy gifts Elizabeth with a key to a locked cabinet holding a collection of sexually instructive books, to a grief stricken Christmas after the death of Elizabeth’s beloved father, Mr. Bennet. Lathan fans will readily recognize her vivid characters from her “Two Shall Become One” series and delight in their saccharine-sweet sentimentality. Albeit Lathan’s style is not Austenesque, and the dialogue lacks Regency aplomb (i.e. Darcy discussing pregnancy in mixed company) she should get points for her steadiness and commitment to her characters. What it lacks in actual plot, Lathan’s Darcy and Elizabeth, as in her previous novels, make up for in their undying love, unyielding libidos and excessive banter of the mundane. Bah humbug, indeed.

What does one get the man who has everything? In Amanda Grange’s Christmas Present, it becomes quite apparent that Mr. Darcy of Pemberley is in want of an heir, and his wife, Elizabeth is poised to oblige. This charming tale takes the Darcy’s to visit with Charles & Jane Bingley and their newborn son at their new estate, Lowlands Park in Nottinghamshire. However, through various contrivances of Mother Nature and Mother Bennet, the Bingley’s small family party has expanded to a house full of colorful characters, including Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mr. Collins, Caroline Bingley and the Bennet family. Much like in Grange’s previous novels, her characters “are clever, well-informed people, with a great deal of conversation” and the story is delightful. But also as in many of her previous works, this novella ends entirely too quickly. Yes, as expected Elizabeth delivers Mr. Darcy a Christmas present, but surprisingly, the author decidedly wraps it up shortly after the naming of the child. Whether you prescribe to the expression, “less is more,” you will have to judge for yourself.

Carolyn Eberhart’s break-out contribution, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol is the marrying of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The story opens on Christmas Eve with a morose Mr. Darcy, stewing over his lot; consequences of his damnable pride that held him from renewing his addresses to Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Darcy is visited by a ghostly apparition in the image of his deceased father warning him of his impending future rife with bitter regrets and loneliness… if he fails to amend his life’s missed opportunities. He is warned that he will be visited “by Three Spirits all of whom will appear familiar” in hopes of helping him to escape such a gloomy fate. As in Dickens’ classic, after all the Past, Present and Future Spirits have all shown him poignant moments of his life and Darcy is shown the course he must take, Darcy declares “… all three have striven to show me what I already knew within me.” Determinedly, he then heads off to Hertfordshire to declare himself again to Elizabeth. Although Eberhart’s breakout novella is predictable by reasonable deduction to anyone familiar with the Dickens and Austen originals, Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Carol is a surprising gem in this collection.

Despite endeavours to conquer these erstwhile Scrooge-like sensations, no doubt can be lost regarding my disappointed hopes for this holiday tribute to Jane Austen. Overall I was frustrated that the stories were overly predictable and rather tiresome. To be frank, having read Sharon Lathan’s previous writing, I was not expecting much from A Darcy Christmas and was not wholly surprised by the overlong passages of inane details. But as I am a self-proclaimed, devoted fangirl of Amanda Grange’s previous works, I regret that Christmas Present left me indifferent after such a weak conclusion. However, the debut story from Carolyn Eberhart is a lighthearted and in the spirit of the season.

I am glad for the opportunity to have read this collection of short stories in A Darcy Christmas, but I am confident that once was plenty. Marketed and packaged perfectly for our unsuspecting loved ones, who will undoubtedly rejoice in their triumph of having found “the perfect” gift for us Jane Austen aficionados, I can only hope that should you discover A Darcy Christmas in your stocking, you will remember the timeless words of Tiny Tim, “God bless Us!  Every One!” and add to that a bit from Miss Bingley, “It was kindly meant.

2 out of 5 Regency Stars

A Darcy Christmas: A Holiday Tribute to Jane Austen, by Amanda Grange, Sharon Lathan and Carolyn Eberhart
Sourcebooks (2010)
Trade paperback (304) pages
ISBN: 978-1402243394

© 2007 – 2010 Christina Boyd, Austenprose

Austen Book Sleuth: New Books in the Queue for March

Jane Austen Selected Letters, Oxford World's Classics (2009)The Jane Austen book sleuth is happy to inform Janeites that Austen inspired books are heading our way in March, so keep your eyes open for these new titles. 

Austen’s Oeuvre 

Selected Letters of Jane Austen (Oxford Worlds Classics) 

Oxford University Press continues to re-issue their stable of Oxford World’s Classics including all of Austen’s major novels last year, Catharine and other Writings last January and now her Selected Letters edited by scholar Vivien Jones. This edition includes nearly two-thirds of Austen’s surviving correspondence, and Jones’ lively introduction and helpful notes. Publisher’s description. In one of her personal letters, Jane Austen wrote “Little Matters they are to be sure, but highly important.” In fact, letter-writing was something of an addiction for young women of Jane Austen’s time and in her social position, and Austen’s letters have a freedom and familiarity that only intimate writing can convey. Wiser than her critics, who were disappointed that her correspondence dwelt on gossip and the minutiae of everyday living, Austen understood the importance of “Little Matters,” of the emotional and material details of individual lives shared with friends and family through the medium of the letter. Ironic, acerbic, always entertaining, Jane Austen’s letters are a fascinating record not only of her own day-to-day existence, but of the pleasures and frustrations experienced by women of her social class which are so central to her novels. 

Trade paperback, Oxford Worlds Classics, ISBN: 978-0199538430 

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

Confession fo a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler (2009) UK editionConfessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler 

Great news for UK readers! You will now know what all the Janeite laughter has been about in the Colonies since 2007 when Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict hits your shore on March 16th. Here is the publisher’s description. Courtney Stone – sassy, smart and suddenly single – has always felt she might have been better suited to life in Jane Austen’s England. She senses that she would have found soul mates in Emma and Elinor, and through good times and bad S&S and P&P have been her secret under-the-duvet pleasures. One evening, having drifted off to sleep after self-medicating with pizza, Absolut, and Elizabeth and Darcy, Courtney wakes up in nineteenth-century England, in the bed (not to mention the slim and svelte body) of a girl called Jane Mansfield. At first she thinks this has to be some sort of weird dream, but slowly she becomes used to the absence of toothpaste and fat-free food, and finds herself actually enjoying Jane’s life. Perhaps she could do without her wicked new ‘mother’ who wants to marry Jane off as soon as possible to the nearest wealthy man although this may not be such a bad thing, as the nearest wealthy man just happens to be the very dishy Charles Edgeworth. But, in becoming Jane, Courtney has left some important unfinished business behind, and she soon realises that in order to return to the present day she needs not only to solve the riddle of Jane and Charles but to get to grips with her own twenty-first-century relationship phobias along the way. A laugh-out-loud romp with a Regency heart, this delightful debut is a truly modern comedy of manners. 

Hardcover, Bloomsbury Publishing, London, ISBN: 978-0747594215 

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan (2009)Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan 

Did you love the sweeping romanticized 2005 adaptation Pride & Prejudice? If so, you might enjoy this new sequel of the movie based on Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice which continues Elizabeth and Darcy’s life as newlyweds in all its enthusiastic  romantic splendor. Publisher’s description: Elizabeth and Darcy are positively goo-goo eyes for each other and the burgeoning love and closeness between them drives the plot. As the narrative unfolds through the honeymoon and then the challenges of Elizabeth assuming the role of Mistress of Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth thoroughly reveal their differing points of view of how their relationship blossomed from misunderstanding to perfect understanding. As the couple grows in maturity and understanding, as they accustom themselves to each other and to married life, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy emerges as a fascinating portrait of a deep and passionate marriage. 

Trade paperback, Sourcebooks Landmark, ISBN: 978-1402215230 

Sandition: Jane Austen's Masterpiece Continued, by Jane Austen & Juliette Shapiro (2009)Sanditon: Jane Austen’s Unfinished Masterpiece Completed, by Jane Austen & Juliette Shapiro 

Jane Austen’s last writing endeavor before her death in 1817 was Sandition. Many other authors over the years have attempted to complete it. Here is author Juliette Shapiro’s contribution in this nice new edition from Ulysses Press. Publisher’s description. Had Jane Austen lived to complete Sanditon, it would undoubtedly be as famous and treasured as her other novels. But unfinished at her death, the masterpiece has remained mysterious and overlooked. Now, author Juliette Shapiro has completed Sanditon in a vivid style recognizable to any Austen fan. Here is the story of Charlotte Heywood, who has recently arrived in the town of Sanditon to enjoy the benefits of the ocean air. At first, Charlotte finds amusement enough standing at her ample Venetian window looking over its placid seafront and salubrious ocean, wind-blown linens and sparkling sea. But there is much more to this promising little coastal resort. Before long, Charlotte discovers that scandals abound. To the delight of her eccentric host Mr. Parker, she becomes captivated by the romance of the seaside lifestyle. But is the town of Sanditon truly the haven that Mr. Parker likes to think it is, and will Charlotte Parker find happiness here? 

Trade paperback, Ulysses Press, ISBN: 978-1569756218 

The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer (2009)The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer 

First published in 1936, the incomparable Georgette Heyer presents a romantic comedy thriller counterpointing a young and older couple, a devise that she would continue to use throughout her writing career. Here is a plot summary from Wikipedia. On his deathbed, Baron Lavenham arranges a marriage between his great-nephew, Sir Tristram Shield, and his young French granddaughter, Eustacie de Vauban. His grandson and heir, Ludovic, is on the run on the Continent, after allegedly murdering a man in a dispute over a valuable heirloom, the talisman ring. The romantic Eustacie, appalled by her betrothed’s phlegmatic character, runs away and soon encounters a smuggler, who turns out to be her cousin Ludovic. The two take refuge at a local inn, after Ludovic is injured escaping from Excisemen. There they encounter an older lady, Miss Sarah Thane, who vows to help them. The subsequent plot revolves around proving Ludovic’s innocence by finding the missing ring and unmasking the real murderer. 

Trade paperback, Sourcebooks, Casablanca, ISBN: 978-1402217715 

Nonfiction 

Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, by Jennifer Grillone (2009)Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen, by Jennifer Adams 

Jane Austen has often been quoted for her pithy and sarcastic witticism, now the tables are turned as writers and others have their say on Jane Austen’s works and life. In this new beautifully package gift quality volume, author and editor Jennifer Adams acknowledges one of the most beloved and influential English novelists of all time. Publisher’s description. Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen offers one hundred quotations on Austen and her writing from well-known authors, critics, intellectuals, and the actors and directors of film adaptations of her novels. The book features writers from J. K. Rowling, Ian McEwan, Anna Quindlen, and P. D. James to Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, C. S. Lewis, and Harper Lee. It also includes quotations from such favorite actors as Keira Knightley, Emma Thompson, James McAvoy, and Colin Firth. Insightful, pithy, and often illuminating, these quotations give you a glimpse into why Austen is considered by many to be the greatest writer in the English language second only to Shakespeare. 

Hardcover, Gibbs Smith, ISBN: 978-1423604785 

Austen’s contemporaries  

Waverley: or 'Tis Sixty Years Since (Oxford World's Classics), Walter Scott (2009)Waverley: or ‘Tis Sixty Years Since (Oxford World’s Classics), by Sir Walter Scott

In 1814, Jane Austen wrote to her friend Anna  Lefroy; “Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. It is not fair. He has fame and profit enough as a poet, and should not be taking the bread out of the mouths of other people. I do not like him, and do not mean to like “Waverly” if I can help it, but fear I must.” Previous to its publication in 1814, Walter Scott had been primarily known as a poet, so when Austen read his first novel, she had good reason to be concerned about his talents challenging other authors royalties! It was an immediate success prompting Scott to continue writing historical novels which he is now most remembered for. Publisher’s description. Generally regarded as the first historical novel, Walter Scott’s Waverley; or, ‘Tis Sixty Years Since is set during the Jacobite rising in Scotland in 1745, this novel springs from Scott’s childhood recollections and his desire to preserve in writing the features of life in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland. Waverley was first published anonymously in 1814 and was Scott’s first novel.

Trade paperback Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199538027 

Bride of Lammermore, Oxford World's Classic, by Sir Walter Scott (2009)The Bride of Lammermoor (Oxford World’s Classics), Sir Walter Scott 

The Bride of Lammermoor is an historical novel based on an actual incident in the history of the Dalrymple family of Scotland set in the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714). Along with A Legend of Montrose, it forms the third series of Scott’s Tales of My Landlord; the two novels were published together in 1819. The story was also the inspiration for one of my favorite operas, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. Publisher’s description: The plans of Edgar, Master of Ravenswood to regain his ancient family estate from the corrupt Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland are frustrated by the complexities of the legal and political situations following the 1707 Act of Union, and by his passion for his enemy’s beautiful daughter Lucy. First published in 1819, this intricate and searching romantic tragedy offers challenging insights into emotional and sexual politics, and demonstrates the shrewd way in which Scott presented his work as historical document, entertainment, and work of art. 

Trade paperback Oxford World’s Classics, ISBN: 978-0199552504 

Until next month, happy reading! 

Laurel Ann

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan – A Review

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan (2009)Anyone who has seen the 2005 movie adaptation Pride & Prejudice and been moved by the final scenes when Mr. Darcy proclaims to Elizabeth that she has “bewitched him body and soul” will immediately connect with this book. In Mr.& Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, author Sharon Lathan has reverently followed the tone of Deborah Moggach’s screenplay and Joe Wright’s direction to continue the impassioned story of the Darcy’s life after the nuptials. Is this Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice after the marriage? NO! Is this one person’s interpretation of the ultimate Darcy and Elizabeth fangirl fantasy? YES! 

In the author’s foreword Ms. Lathan attempts to disarm reproof right out of the gate. She had not read the original novel prior to her first movie viewing and was not influenced by it when she began writing her fan fiction which ostensibly became this novel. Her inspiration was solely based on the romanticized movie adaptation and her personal reaction to it. Therefore it is not unreasonable to review this book based on what it actual is: a sequel, inspired by a movie adaptation, loosely based on a novel. 

The wedding is finally over and Mr. Darcy is relieved to be past all the constant pressure of wedding plans and family arrangements to be with his beloved Elizabeth. To get to this point, they both had to overcome some serious obstacles of vanity and misunderstandings impeding their romance before they realized that they were in love and destined to be together. Elizabeth is also pleased and thankful that her husband has planned a quick retreat from the Netherfield wedding reception to a coaching Inn where they will stay the first two days and nights of their married life together. Here we witness their first innocent and unsure moments alone as newlyweds. Next they are off to Pemberley where Elizabeth’s first experiences as Mistress are intimidating, but Darcy and Mrs. Reynolds are there to support her. Her first family event in her new capacity will be a Christmas gathering, which will included Darcy’s younger sister Georgiana, his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and his aunt and uncle Lord and Lady Matlock among others. She is also introduced to the local gentry at a Twelfth Night Masquerade Ball where she meets the Marquis of Orman who admires her beauty and spirit far too intently. Not wanting to reveal everything, I can allude to the expectation of a young olive-branch, and a sword duel before the novel concludes. 

In addition to experiencing Lizzy and Darcy’s first months as newlyweds at Pemberley, Lathan gives us a descriptive glimpse of Regency life managing a grand estate including a palatial manor house with acres of rooms, an army of servants, stables, extensive grounds, and a county of farmland. However, this is merely window dressing to the real heart and soul of this novel which consumes about two-thirds of the narrative; Darcy and Lizzy’s passion, devotion and abiding love. Yep! This is definitely a romance novel of the first order. Lathan is quite generous with her intimate descriptions devoting entire chapters to one night. After about the 20th go round, I turned the shag counter off and just hunted for the plot, which pretty much did not arrive until about 125 pages in. Even after other characters arrive on the scene, we are never in any doubt of the Darcy’s rapturous affection for one another. As a writer, I could see Lathan’s style improve and develop as the novel progressed. She smoothly supplies us with all the elements of the ultimate female fantasy – marry Mr. Darcy the definitive literary romantic icon who proceeds to billet you out in high style, shower you with expensive gifts and sentimental trinkets, clothe you in opulent fashions, supply you with more pin money than your grasping ma’ma could ever hope for, and worship you beyond all reason whilst making love all over the place. Swoon! That’s great if you’re trying to be the next Julie Garwood or Jude Deveraux, but this is Darcy and Lizzy, sacred ground, and even if author Linda Berdoll has straddled that precipice all the way to the bank, do we really need a successor? 

If you read Pride and Prejudice before you saw the 2005 movie and cringed over the American ending, then this novel might not be for you. If you enjoy enthusiastic romance passionately written featuring the indefatigable Mr. Darcy and his wife, then “I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours“! 

Laurel Ann

3 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One, by Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks Landmark, Naperville, IL (2009)
Trade paperback (295) pages
ISBN: 978-1402215230

Additional Reviews

The Sunday Salon Badge