As I continue down comfort lane my reading takes me to Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston. There is an entire series in the Darcy line, well six of them anyway, and then Aston went off and wrote something modern and has never been heard of again. laughing, I lie but she went off to write a new series I haven’t read or even heard of until this morning when I went a googling to see if I was lying out my …
Aston isn’t Austen. And I wouldn’t want her to be. She’s Austen light. A solid meal of a good book with an Austen flavoring if you like. There comes a point in every Austen novel where I am up my eyebrows in flowery description and scream, “just get on with it.” Aston, just gets on with it. Three lines of delicate descriptive prose to Austen’s 300.
“Daughters” is the first in the series and takes place while Darcy and Elizabeth are on their way to Constantinople as diplomats in the service of their country. Their five daughters have come to London for the season to stay with the Fitzwilliams. Only the two oldest should be out but the two middle daughters soon scheme their way out of the school room. Five headstrong, for how could Darcy’s daughters be anything else, young women in London with very inadequate chaperone. Disaster abounds in high Austen style. But I find one thing an improvement on Austen. The girls ALWAYS rescue themselves. No need for a man to swoop in an save the day. A man always swoops but usually finds the situation already in hand by the time he gets there.
The series continues, the next book focusing on the youngest Darcy daughter and them moving out into the wider sphere of relations. Aston found her own ground as she moved through the female relations, each book getting further from being a reboot of Austen and more of an Austenesque but original work with one or two Austen born people, if that makes sense. In other words, the books only get better as you read through the series. I’ll be hard pressed not to start re-devouring the other five right now. Which I can’t do because I have 400 other things pressing me.
One memorable bit is when Camilla, the second daughter, is off to the lending library and her maid is grumbling at all the books she has to carry for her. The maid wonders at the young ladies, don’t they have enough books, they must have read everything ever written by now. To which Camilla replies, “Authors go on writing books, and so we go on reading them. It is a sad state of affairs.” Indeed.
℘℘℘℘℘ – Five pages. Daughters is a solid five pages, but to be honest some of the later books in the series are definite six pagers. Witty, intriguing, well written. I like knowing things turned out well for Elizabeth Bennett. I like the new characters Aston invents.
And just in case you were wondering, in Aston’s world, Elizabeth does provide Darcy with two sons as well, so an heir and a spare was adhered to.