on 14 May 2006
With "North by Northanger," Carrie Bebris seems to have made the decision not to give the latest Mr. & Mrs. Darcy installment the same darkly gothicky, otherworldly tones that she had imbued her previous two novels with ("Pride and Prescience" & "Suspense and Sensibility"), opting instead to make "North by Northanger" more of a "straight" mystery with only the slightest hint of a ghostly presence. And did this decision affect the book in any way? To the contrary, the novel was another excellent read, being both enjoyable and absorbing.
Elizabeth Darcy is happily anticipating the birth of her first child, and although she is finding it to be a bit of a strain trying to follow in her much admired mother-in-law's (Lady Anne Darcy) footsteps. So that when she finds a long lost letter from Lady Anne, the last thing Elizabeth expected was that the letter would herald a disastrous chain of events that would calumniate with Darcy being accused of theft. As Elizabeth and Darcy try to make sense of what has happened and to clear his name, Elizabeth also finds herself once again crossing swords with Darcy's difficult and arrogant aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, over a missing heirloom that Lady Anne held dear and which Lady Catherine is determined to claim for herself...
I thoroughly enjoyed "North by Northanger" and found it to be an easy, absorbing and quick read. One of the things I liked about it is that of all the Jane Austen pastiches out there, this is one series that truly captures what I think the Darcys' married life and relationship would be like. So, thank you Carrie Bebris for fulfilling my expectations. "North by Northanger" was also enjoyable for the manner in which the author featured characters from both "Pride and Prejudice" and "Northanger Abbey" that remained much as Jane Austen had portrayed them. So that while the mystery was a rather strainght forward one and the villains and their motive easy to figure out (and one rather wonders why the intelligent Darcy doesn't realise what's going on earlier), such was the delightful manner in which this plot was unfolding, that I found myself eagerly reading on until the very end. Well written (the author has a nice prose style) and evenly paced, "North by Northanger" was a treat to read from beginning to end, and is a book I'd recommend highly to all Jane Austen fans.
on 12 April 2013
Another of Carrie Bebris light-hearted crime romps with Mr and Mrs Darcy. Must admit I found the newly revealed friendship between the late Anne Darcy and Mrs Tilney a tad unconvincing, I've grown used to taking Ms Bebris's historical inconsistences with a pinch of salt but in this book the emphasis on a devotion to medieval Catholic relics sat uncomfortably in Regency England where this would have been very much frowned on by most levels of society. In many ways her 'spoof' on a classic made me appreciate 'Northanger Abbey' itself even more, where the 18th century 'gothic horror' craze, is sent up (and debunked) with more dazzling results. In truth ‘North by Northanger’ doesn’t really live up to its inventive title but isn’t a bad read if you like the series.