Friday, October 15, 2010
The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview
"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 propreity, 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."
(from the publisher)
I enjoyed Monica Fairview's The Other Mr. Darcy and looked forward to her second Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel, The Darcy Cousins. The author has a mastery of the Regency period and is true to the Austen style, which I admire. Her characters' dialogue rings true, and the social expectations, fashions, and matters of propriety and etiquette are spot on.
In this coming of age story, Georgiana Darcy takes center stage as she begins to put the memories of a disastrous past with Mr. Wickham behind her. She is entering her introduction into society with anticipation as a certain charismatic gentleman, Mr. Percy Channing, has caught her attention. Unfortunately for Georgiana, two cousins from America have arrived and begin to cause problems for her all-important season.
Frederick and Clarissa Darcy are American and free in their thinking and speaking -- much to the dismay of the formidable Catherine de Bourgh. As Lady Catherine declares upon her first meeting of the Darcy cousins,
"I expect you are like all Americans -- presumptuous, outspoken, and opinionated."
Lady Catherine has no idea what's in store for her as Clarissa's influence begins to affect not only Georgiana, but her own daughter, the frail and sickly Anne.
And wouldn't you know it, Clarissa seems to have caught Mr. Channing's fancy, and both Georgiana and Clarissa attempt to do their best to seek his attentions.
While there were a few compelling storylines (what happens to Anne de Bourgh, and which gentleman, if any, will capture Georgiana's heart), this novel seemed long on dialogue and short on plot. The "scandalous" reason the Darcy cousins left America was a let-down, and the "mischief and mayhem" promised fell short. It was a good read, but lacked the sparkle and excitement of The Other Mr. Darcy.
And speaking of Pride and Prejudice, just for fun, head over to Jane Austen Today to read about a rare, three volume edition from 1813 of Austen's Pride and Prejudice that is available at Sotheby's. Sure wish I had an extra $150,000.00 hanging around! ;)
Title: The Darcy Cousins
Author: Monica Fairview
genre: historical fiction; Regency romance