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The Second Mrs Darcy

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  • Hardcover
  • ISBN-10: 0007287895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007287895
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Aston was born in Chile to an impeccably English father and a distinctly un-English Argentine mother. Educated by Benedictine nuns in Calcutta, Fabians in London, and Inklings at Oxford, she's lived in India, England, Malta and Italy.

Her Mountjoy books (originally published by Hodder, and now reissued as ebooks) were inspired by years of living in York, where her son was a chorister at the Minster. They depict the unholy, unquiet, and frequently unseemly goings-on of an imaginary northern cathedral city and its peculiar inhabitants, enhanced with a touch of magic and enchantment - Elizabeth Aston has always been fascinated by what lies just beyond our sight.

Her other books include the bestselling Darcy series - six historical romantic comedies set in the world of Jane Austen, and a contemporary novel, Writing Jane Austen. These were inspired by her love of Jane Austen - her heroes, her heroines and her wicked sense of humour.

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By StarPlayer on 3 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband. But recently widowed Octavia Darcy disagrees. She hasn't forgotten her impoverished girlhood. Now, when she unexpectedly finds herself an heiress, her ambition is to lead an independent life, not to marry again.

I was hoping for some witty conversations and some romance. Instead it was just a story about a year and a bit of Octavia's life. There were no witty dialogues. Nothing the least bit amusing. The romance (for want of a better word) was the last 2 pages of the book. I have no idea when the H and h fell in love. In like (maybe-ish) but love? Nah. I wanted to read a romantic story (sob). It would have been nice if there had been a lot more interaction between the H and h. I would have liked to have seen them enjoying each another's company and falling in love. To be honest, there really wasn't that much interaction between them until the very end really.

If you're looking for something along the lines of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen or Joan Smith - this isn't it.
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By Kindle Customer on 29 Jun. 2015
Format: Audio Download
I have looked at a number of darcy related books and Elizabeth astons are better than some, what makes this book pleasant to listen to is the narrator Phyllida Nash
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By anita hamilton on 11 Feb. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really a good read
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By AILEEN on 24 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
And so continues!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 32 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Aston-on-Austen 17 April 2007
By K. Schieber - Published on
Format: Paperback
I agree that this is the best of Aston's P & P spin-off novels. I thought Octavia was delightfully fleshed out. Ms. Aston did not depend on Jane Austen's creation. The story stood on its own and didn't rely on any prior novel for exposition or context. Christopher and Camilla could have been from any powerful family (however, it is fun to emotionally connect to our beloved Darcy family). I applaud that independence. An original is always worth more than a copy, as they say.

Also, Aston is quite comfortable and smooth, I thought, in her use of the language and idioms of the time. (I've read others who are trying WAY too hard.) It is obvious that she's done her homework.

The only aspect of this novel that I didn't altogether enjoy was the abrupt ending. I'd grown accustomed to being privy to the characters' thoughts and the romantic resolutions were much too swift and left far too many questions unanswered for my taste. There is no sweet dialogue between them (interspersed with kisses perhaps?) as to when they fell in love or how she overcame her firm conviction not to remarry (as well as her enjoyment of her new-found independence) nor how he has overcome his trust issues. They seem too sensible and thoughtful to let their feelings over-ride all that. I also thought the balance might have been better if not all of the characters' storylines had found their resolution at the same time. London would have been a better location for wrapping up Octavia's story too, I think. (I have many more questions and suggestions but have to avoid spoilers!)

It seemed that either Ms. Aston was in a hurry to be done with the whole thing or perhaps she was just not comfortable dealing with the sort of emotional detail and intimacy between these strong personalities that I would have preferred; leaving it up to her readers to fill in the blanks with our imaginations (luckily I have a good one!) This sort of rounding out of the story would have made it more satisfying for me. However, as I said, I did enjoy the book and came away smiling.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
"I am a woman of independent means... not in the least in want of a husband." 11 Mar. 2007
By Luan Gaines - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although this novel rides the coattails of the classic Pride and Prejudice, using the Darcy name to people the story with characters in search of independence in a class-conscious society, the delightful marriage of Octavia Darcy to London society is peppered with Regency pretensions and the "classism" characteristic of the era. As the season for matchmaking arrives, the city teems with marriageable young ladies on the prowl for suitable arrangements. The black sheep of a notable London family, Octavia, daughter of a second wife, has been sent along with the "fishing fleet", single young women hoping to make matches with officers serving the crown in India. Less-than-marriageable females are considered fortunate to find suitable companions on the continent, when they might otherwise languish as old maids in an intolerant world where a woman's value is reflected through her husband.

Indeed, Octavia does marry a naval officer, Christopher Darcy, related to the infamous Mr. Darcy of Austen's beloved novel. Unfortunately, Mr. Darcy dies and Octavia must settle her affairs; Darby's estate is entailed to the male heir, George Warren, a man who is disinclined to offer the widow any remuneration whatsoever. Returning to London, Octavia understands that there will be few opportunities, but unexpected circumstances change her fortune; the second Mrs. Darcy turns London on its head. Arriving in London with the intention of residing with her half-sister, Octavia dreads her position in the family, the embarrassing step-sister. She is both shocked and delighted to learn she has inherited a vast fortune from a distant aunt on her mother's side. Suddenly the future is bright, the widow relieved from the burdensome interference of her step-siblings, soon to be a woman of independent means.

Keeping her inheritance secret until her situation is secured, Octavia visits her property in Yorkshire, where she meets an amiable group of acquaintances who welcome the newcomer. Once her fortune becomes common knowledge, Octavia's relatives are apoplectic at being bypassed. Nevertheless, Octavia is now a woman to be reckoned with, one of strong opinions and loyal character. As the season arrives, her circle is beset with incipient matches, a number of single people strictly observing the conventions, their every move in the mating dance severely restricted. Octavia watches with amusement, anticipating no such entanglement; she is taken aback to find herself drawn to a very eligible bachelor, Sholto Rutherford, although both Octavia and Sholto are the last of their set to acknowledge a mutual interest. The only cloud on the horizon is a legal action taken against Octavia's fortune by the very same George Warren who benefits from Mr. Darcy's entailed estate.

Aston assembles her characters with a wry touch, their foibles and outrageous sentiments making for lively engagements and disastrous situations. With a great deal of humor at the expense of a pretentious, class-conscious society, this lively tale proves that sometimes love trumps circumstance. Nor is Octavia exempt, her strong opinions about marriage turned on end. Luan Gaines/2007.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Although predictable, still a pleasant escape 12 Nov. 2007
By Jane - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have read all four of Elizabeth Aston's novels, starting with Mr. Darcy's Daughters. I have enjoyed them all very much. She basically uses the same formula for all of these books. The heroine is above-average but not outstanding in beauty. She may or may not be wealthy, but she is almost always outspoken to the point that others in late Regency London think her to have "too much of an opinion on matters for her own good". She lives by a strong code of moral conduct, although she is not judgmental of others, and is rather open-minded for the period. She has sisters or other relatives that make life less than pleasant for her. These relatives are predictable, and rude, and selfish. She is not desperate for a husband, but not adverse to the idea in general. She strives to be independent, and, in short, is appealing to 21st century women. It's how we would like to think we would have been if we had lived in the 1830's in London. The hero is also very similar throughout the books. He is handsome, rich, independent, and has had some sort of hardship in his past. He has very good moral character in general, although may have had a mistress or two along the way. He doesn't think much of the heroine when he first meets her, as she is so different from typical young ladies of the time. However, he comes to appreciate the strength of character the heroine shows when she is unfairly accused or accosted by some rogue (often Caroline Bingley's dastardly son). And they live happily ever after.

So why do I like these so much if they are all rather the same? The answer is that the formula, with Mrs. Aston's pleasant writing style, works very well. I like the characters and I want to find out what happens to them. I like how the author often includes details of dress, fabrics, furniture, houses, landscapes, etc. Not to the point of distraction, but enough to make it very enjoyable to read. She sprinkles in some interesting characters, and brings them back in several of the novels. With the exception of minor appearances by the ever mean-spirited Caroline Bingley and the buffoon clergyman Mr. Collins, Mrs. Aston does not attempt to use Jane Austen's characters in her novels, but rather created her own set of characters. The effect is fresh, and fun. This is a great kind of escape novel, when you would like something to ease your mind, and take you away to a romantic setting. There is nothing disturbing or vile in them at all, something you could feel comfortable giving to your 80 year old grandmother to read. Try them out, starting with Mr. Darcy's Daughter, the first in the series. If you are an Austen fan, you will probably like these.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The best yet of the Mr. Darcy's Daughters series! 14 Mar. 2007
By Christina Boyd @xtnaboyd - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From page one to the climactic ending of The Second Mrs. Darcy, I felt as is I were on a train, gradually building steam, piecing stories and characters together while taking me on an amusing trip... until I realized I had but some 15 pages left-- and that I didn't want it to end with so much still unsettled. I found I was holding my breath with anticipation of how this story would work itself out! The end comes fast. A bit too quickly maybe for my liking, as I truly loved the heroes. (Possibly a epilogue could have made it a bit more satisfying... but then it really isn't necessary to anyone except for those of us that enjoy sugar in our champagne!) Ashton's excellent ability to tell a story and captivate her audience coupled with the name-dropping of some of our best beloved Pride and Prejudice characters throughout, make this an ideal read for any fan of Jane Austen "sequels." This is the best in her Mr. Darcy's Daughters series yet. I loved it!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A pleasurable read 28 Mar. 2007
By KellyMM - Published on
Format: Paperback
Ms. Aston just keeps getting better. I've enjoyed each of her "P&P period" novels and I am looking forward to her next one. Without a doubt though, this one is her best. The Second Mrs. Darcy is clever and enjoyable and filled with characters that will remain in your imagination long after you've put down the book. This book felt even more "English" with Ms. Aston introducing the realm of India and giving us a tour of the English countryside as the main characters visit their country manors. Life's too short not to have lots of heroines and Ms. Aston keeps giving us fun ones!
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