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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Reading JANE AUSTEN in AUGUST : 2 Reviews

Reading Jane Austen in August?

I am enjoying this bit of reading indulgence whilst I have the opportunity!  I'm also including today's reviews as part of my Pride and Prejudice Bicentenary Challenge participation.

Here are my responses to two P and P novels ~
-author Pamela Aidan  
In this first book of her Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman trilogy, she reintroduces us to Darcy during his visit to Hertfordshire with his friend Charles Bingley revealing Darcy's hidden perspectives on the events of Pride and Prejudice. As Darcy spends more time at Netherfield supervising Bingley and fending off Miss Bingley's persistent advances, his unwilling attraction to Elizabeth grows—as does his concern about her relationship with his nemesis, George Wickham.

Setting the story vividly against the colorful historical and political background of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style comfortably at home with Austen but with a wit and humor very much her own. Aidan adds her own cast of fascinating characters to those in Austen's original, weaving a rich tapestry from Darcy's past and present. Austen fans and newcomers alike will love this new chapter of the most famous romance ... - goodreads

My response:
Ms Aidan writes with an excellent grasp of the language I would expect for the refined characters of Ms Austen's day.  This adds much to the enjoyment of the story for me in keeping with the original Pride and Prejudice.  As this is the novel told from Mr Darcy's point of view, we gain insights into thoughts behind the familiar actions.  His increasing interest, change of heart and desire for Miss Elizabeth Bennet is well described.

Personally, I could quite clearly see Elizabeth Bennet's reasons for disliking the man.  There were instances where I too found my own dislike increasing.  Ms Aidan paints precise character pictures of Charles and Miss Bingley as well as introducing us to new characters in Mr Darcy's circle.  Cambridge friend, Lord Brougham, broadens our picture of Darcy's life when he arrives for a visit and subsequent adventure during an evening soiree.  Darcy's valet, Fletcher, is a personable addition and their interactions are a delight - laugh out loud humorous in several scenes!  I preferred Ms Aidan's characterization of Darcy's reactions and responses as a gentleman of quality when confronted with the intrigues of the haut ton.

Having met and marvelled at Ms Aidan's abilities as a debut author, I am now looking forward to continuing the series of Fitzwilliam Darcy Gentleman.

George Knightley Esquire

George Knightley is the owner of a considerable estate, a landlord, a magistrate, and a bachelor-a state that his brother John is perpetually prodding him to change. Thankfully, there is no one remotely suitable in his entire circle of acquaintance...or so he thinks. An unwanted interloper, a few romantic mishaps amongst his friends, and the dawning realization that Emma Woodhouse is no longer a child might just change everything. 
Barbara Cornthwaite has written a retelling of one of Jane Austen's novels from the hero's point of view. Carefully researched and skillfully written, George Knightley, Esquire tells the other side of Emma's story. -goodreads
My response:

Spending time with George Knightley, I gained excellent insights into Knightley's world, experiencing his life as a landowner, magistrate, employer and as a respected gentleman in Regency England. 

Ms Cornthwaite's adeptness at writing humour adds delightful laughter to the story.  Letters between George and his brother John are happy diversions that pulled me in to their world, revealing appealing aspects to these characters.  Emma also appeared clearly from Knightley's point of view.  Though, perhaps not the same opinion of her is shared as what Geo Knightley purports! Ms Cornthwaite's introduction of supporting characters is well done, preventing the confusion that often occurs in sequels or fan fiction.  Ms Cornthwaite also expresses a great understanding of scripture, having characters referring to its message and applying it accurately throughout the novel with the understanding that would have been common to that day.  This too adds much to the authenticity of the story.

I gained a greater appreciation for Knightley, having read Charity Envieth Not, and look forward to further romantic development in book 2, Lend Me Leave, now that he's realized his heart's desire is Emma...

Join us at Adam's Austen in August for more 
Jane Austen reading and reviews...
and at Austenprose with Laurel Ann for monthly features
celebrating Pride and Prejudice's 200th bicentenary.


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