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Darcy and Fitzwilliam Paperback – 10 Feb 2011
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Pride and Prejudice has given contemporary writers of historical fiction an endless source of ideas. Many of these novels of possibilities are very good and honor the original classic, while others are wastebasket material. Karen V. Wasylowski has turned out one of the former, a charming and believable rendering that offers the reader a look at the men in Pride and Prejudice. Fitzwilliam Darcy, true to the Austen image, is prideful and arrogant, yet exceedingly charming, a handsome gentleman. His cousin Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, two years older, is described in the novel as barrel-chested, slightly rougher looking in an unkempt uniform, a decorated officer. Darcy marries Elizabeth and reconciles with his Aunt Catherine as Elizabeth and he wait the arrival of their child. Darcy is obsessed with keeping her safe as the reality of his own mother s death during childbirth haunts him with increasing stress. Colonel Fitzwilliam refuses to settle down, and his life of promiscuity and love of alcohol continue to alarm Aunt Catherine. The Colonel is envious of the life that his younger cousin lives and dreams of a wife and family. One day he becomes bedazzled by Amanda, an American, who has a young son. Desperately in love, he is undone when his future plans with her appear hopeless. More than not you will chuckle and giggle reading the tête-à-tête that takes place among the characters. Elizabeth has a contemporary tongue for a 19th-century wife and during many tempestuous tiffs, boldly stands up to Darcy. Fitzwilliam and Darcy are a comic pair as well, always trying to outmaneuver the other. The cagey Aunt Catherine is embraceable as she shows clever wisdom in her astute handling of all situations. Austen would no doubt welcome Darcy and Fitzwilliam, an amusing and witty interpretation. --Historical Novels Review 28.01.11
About the Author
Karen Wasylowski is a retired CPA. She and her husband spend their free time volunteering with charitable organizations that assist the poor. They are also actively involved with Project Light of Manatee, providing literacy instruction to immigrants and to members of the community. Karen and her husband live in Bradenton, Florida.
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Having said that, Fitzwilliam I liked very much, I didn't feel he was misinterpreted and since the majority of the story revolves around him it's actually quite an entertaining read. There are a number of bits which are really very funny. If you can just forget that two of the characters are supposed to be Darcy and Lizzy and think of it just as a historical romance then it's worth another star at least.
I was unprepared for just how funny the book would be. The scene where Lizzie is giving birth, with Amanda's small, curious, stiffly-educated son looking on, is hilarious, and had my husband wondering why I was laughing so much. Even the servants have been wittily expanded, and the book is funny because it is so well-observed. It pokes fun at regency attitudes to women, and gently lampoons the manners and morals of the time. There is also a sense in which the English themselves are satirized, and this is refreshing, but not at all offensive.
After the initial forty or so pages of set-up the book fairly sweeps along with misunderstandings aplenty, and it is no slight volume. The characters have to be impeccably constructed for the situation comedy to work, and Karen Wasylowski has done this thoroughly, also the research on her period and The Peninsula War gives the reader just the right amount of setting.
A great read, that works whether you have read any Austen or not.
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