Though Darcy struggles privately with his desire for Elizabeth Bennet, he must still fulfill his roles as landlord, master, brother, and friend.
In Book Two, the "silent time" of Austen's novel, Fitzwilliam Darcy and his personal world emerge as he deals with his servants, including a valet with aspirations of sartorial triumph; his sister, who is only just emerging from a crippling depression; his cousins, the still-squabbling Fitzwilliam brothers; and his hound, Trafalgar, who he calls "Monster" with good reason.
A visit to an old classmate in Oxford designed to shake Elizabeth from his mind sets Darcy amidst husband-hunting society ladies and friends from his university days, all with designs on him...some for good and some for ill. Darcy, and his Shakespeare-quoting valet Fletcher, must match wits with them all, but especially with the mysterious and dangerous Lady Sylvanie.
Setting the story vividly against the colorful, historical, and political background of the Regency, Aidan writes in a style comfortably at home with Jane 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 of all time.
©2006 Pamela Aidan; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
trying to see the world with my ears
Either the narrator got better for part 2 of this series, or I got used to him.
I found this listen very relaxing. The author lets her imagination wander farther afield from Pride & Prejudice than other P&P homage novelists have done when writing from "other perspectives," but still stays true to Austen's plotline-- for example, Darcy's valet is inserted as a very humourous and wise chap and Georgiana becomes a stronger character. We are also teased with glimmers of the world outside polite gentrified country drawing rooms. And although Darcy sometimes comes across as a love sick puppy, he remains on the surface stoic and strong, so I was able to keep my disbelief suspended. So, from my point of view, this turns out to be almost perfect fluff (at least for a tired English teacher on summer holidays).
Volume II covers a period where Darcy was absent from P&P so Ms. Aidon was perfectly free to invent any story she wanted. She went for the castles, intrigues, Stonehenge, high stake cards, fabulously beautiful women including Lady Sylvanie and her strange maid: Doyle, the downfall of a lord, and Darcy's frantic search for a woman who would banish Elizabeth from his heart. Hah! As if that was a possibility!
As you know, Northanger Abbey was Miss Austen's first book and owes something of a debt to Mrs. Ann Radcliffe's Mysteries of Uldopho--I think for the feel of the Abbey in the mind of Miss Catherine Moreland. The heroine of Uldopho faced real trials and dangers while Miss Moreland's were mostly in her imagination. In The Jane Austen Book Club Riggs, who had actually read Uldolpho, when his turn came to host the group, turned his house into a Castle Uldopho gothic horror scene. While Mrs. Radcliffe's style is unusual to our eyes, I think all of Miss Austen's principled, strong women have their genesis in the heroines of Mrs. Radcliffe along with a generous dose from William Makepeace Thackerary .
All the above is prelude. In Volume II, Ms. Aidon presents a Northanger Abbey-Castle Uldopho world with Darcy taking the naive Catherine Moreland role. His rules don't apply here. This is not his world. He is as lost as the inexperienced Miss Moreland was with the machinations of John and Issabella Thorpe in Bath or General Tillme at the Abbey. Nevertheless, like her, his principles with a bit of luck and timely help from Fletcher and Dye pull him through so now we hasten toward the perfect happiness to be found at the end of Volume III.
George Holmes, the narrator, grows on one. In particular, he is perfect for the melodramatic Duty and Desire.
The first and third parts of this series were better than this, which was a little silly and took Darcy completely out of character. Maybe this was the author's attempt to create her own Northanger Abbey. The narrator, as noted by others, is annoying.
The author does a good job filling in the character of Darcy, weaving in an Upstairs/Downstairs story line about Darcy's butler and keeping it all consistent with the plot of Pride and Prejudice. It drags a little at times, and the reader is really bad at women's voices, but despite those drawbacks this is a very satisfying read for fans of Pride and Prejudice. Head and shoulders above the other Austen spin-off I've read.
While I liked the first installment enough to buy the two others, this second installment wanders into the ridiculous. The decidedly gothic and macabre turn the book takes it a complete contrast to the sentiment of P&P. Not to mention the continual irritation the choice of narrator presents to listener. His nasal voice might make a decent Sherlock Holmes but makes for a disturbing Darcy.
Yes, but only in the written format. No one need suffer through such a narration.
When Darcy investigates the mystery regarding Lady Sylvanie.
His voice, his timing, and his delivery.
Yes in that it let me "reread" the book during a car trip. No in that the narration was poor.
Completely entertaining! It's hard to imagine Darcy with anybody else besides Elizabeth. This book was so much fun since it was written from Darcy's perspective. I must admit, Im completely entertained by Mr. Darcy's valet Fletcher who seems to be sharp, a true gentleman, loyal, full of advice and the incredible ability to quote Shakepeare. A fun story that shows how Darcy interacts with others in his life.
Granted this is not real Austen, but for all of us hungering for more to the P&P story, it certainly fills the bill in more ways than one. The style and structure are reminiscent of Austen, but more important, this book, or, rather, series, actually enhances the story and provides plausible explanations for the change in Darcy's thinking and behavior, something sorely missing in the original. It is always a delight to see a good story, originally written from one main character's point-of-view, from another POV. There are flaws, however. The first time I listened to the trilogy, the entire Norwycke section seemed a bit silly, superfluous and completely unrelated. However, the second - and subsequent - times through, I came to realize that it did several things. First, it anchored the events of Austen's story to its time tying it to the assassination of Perceval and other related plots of the period. It also fills in the story of Darcy's long absence from Austen's original.
And, finally, it delineates Darcy's processes by which he comes to think he loves Elizabeth, tries to forget her, learns to face his own weakness of character, and finally realizes her true value through his struggle to understand and help his sister, his realization of who his real friends are, and his failure to interest himself in other women. Austen's Darcy has always been considered one of literature's great romantic men. However, from a 21st century perspective, he isn't particularly likable, much less lovable. Much of that is due to the fact that Austen gives us no real, logical transition from his shocked anger at her refusal to his complete change of heart regarding himself and her family and lack of connections. This series provides us just that. I've listened to the trilogy 4 times so far and still find it fun. The narrator does an excellent job of delineating characters giving each one a distinct personality and voice. Not for Austen purists, however.
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