The Darcys Give A Ball: A Gentle Joke, Jane Austen Style, by Elizabeth Newark – A Review

The Darcys Give a Ball: A Gentle Joke Jane Austen Style, by Elizabeth Newark (2008)In Jane Austen’s masterpiece, Pride and Prejudice, our story ends with the lovely Miss Elizabeth Bennet marrying Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in a double wedding ceremony alongside her beloved sister, Miss Jane Bennet to Mr. Charles Bingley, and we all close the novel satisfied knowing that all will turn out well.  Twenty-five years after this happy event, author Elizabeth Newark depicts in her Darcy’s Give A Ball: A Gentle Joke, Jane Austen Style what happens when Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy and Mrs. Jane Bingley decide to hold a ball at Pemberley as their children are now ready for the marriage mart. Although the Darcy’s do give a ball and that is the driving force of all these characters to convene at Pemberley, this light-hearted novelette really is about the Collins’, in particular the two youngest grown children and Mrs. Charlotte Collins nee Lucas. In these brief 156 pages, the first half of the story is devoted to the preparations for the ball while in the second half, at the actual cotillion, we meet some of the offspring from Jane Austen’s other novels, including the Brandons, Wentworths, Bertrams, Knightleys, Elliots, and Churchills.  Not surprising, the still unattached Miss Caroline Bingley, is busy match-making her favorites while the young people are falling in and out of love to the horror or glee of their parents. 

Because there are so many new characters, it was apparent that Newark decidedly focused on Eliza and Jonathon Collins and Juliet Darcy.  The rest simply faded to background; pairing anymore of them off would have been sadly contrived.  Still had Newark fleshed out any of these characters more thoroughly, the reader might care more about them.  Maybe.  Mr. Darcy, Sr. sightings are fleeting but when he does appear, he is as he ever was. On the other hand,  after 25 years as the mistress of Pemberley, Elizabeth Darcy first appears to have become a bit of a snob and forgotten that she was at one time considered not an acceptable match for the illustrious Darcy. Fortunately she comes around. I also believe this story could have been stronger had Newark moved her explanation of Charlotte Collins and Elizabeth Darcy’s friendship to the beginning of this story;  alas, when she finally explains Charlotte’s motivations and the affection for her old friend, it is a bit anti-climactic after all the activity at the close of the ball. 

Originally self published as Consequence: Or Whatever Became of Charlotte Lucas in 1997,  this is a harmless, light-hearted, and very quick read. Elizabeth Newark is a gifted writer and her turn of the phrase is oftentimes amusing.  However, it is questionable as to what “the little joke Jane Austen style” may have been. I think I was hoping for more substance.  In this case, maybe less is not necessarily more. Albeit, I am glad to have it part of my collection, I am indifferent to if I will re-read it again any time soon.  Still, I enjoyed well enough. 

Christina

3 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Darcys Give a Ball: A Gentle Joke, Jane Austen Style, by Elizabeth Newark
Sourcebooks, Landmark, Naperville, IL (2008)
Trade paperback (156) pages
ISBN: 978-1402211317

Additional Reviews

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The Darcy’s Give a Ball Contest Winner

A Gentle Joke Jane Austen Style, by Elizabeth Newark, (2008)The Austen Book Sleuth is pleased to announce …

Congratulations to Felicia for being the lucky winner of a new copy of The Darcy’s Give a Ball: A Gentle Joke Jane Austen Style, by Elizabeth Newark in our contest. Felicia has responded to our e-mail and says, “Yea!  I have never won anything! Thank you so much!” 

We are thrilled to be anyone’s first, at anything, and hope that Felicia will enjoy the book and let us know her thoughts after she finishes reading it! Elizabeth Newark has a light and witty hand as a story teller, and we suspect that you will laugh in all the right places. Have fun, and happy reading.

Buying Austen Books a Disagreeable Duty? Never!

Illustration of Jane Austen by J. BoneSince I wrote last, my 2nd edition (Sense and Sensibility) has stared me in the face. Mary tells me that Eliza means to buy it. I wish she may. It can hardly depend upon any more Fyfield Estates. I cannot help hoping that many will feel themselves obliged to buy it. I shall not mind imagining it a disagreeable duty to them, so as they do it. Mary heard before she left home that it was very much admired at Cheltenham, and that it was given to Miss Hamilton. It is pleasant to have such a respectable writer named. I cannot tire you, I am sure, on this subject, or I would apologise. Letter to Cassandra Austen, 6 November 1813, Jane Austen’s Letters 

Jane Austen jokes to her sister Cassandra that it is a disagreeable duty for her public to buy her books. If so, then we should all be so unhappy to bear such a burden. 

Being the attentive Austen book buyer, I felt compelled to fulfill my duty to Miss Austen and purchase a few volumes with a Barnes & Noble gift card that happened my way. I could not be happier with my recent selections. Here is a peek at my choices.  Continue reading