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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 14 May 2006
Truth to tell I never finished reading Elizabeth Aston's "Mr. Darcy's Daughters." And this was not because it was a terribly written book (to the contrary in fact!), but because I couldn't get past my irritation that the author had portrayed Darcy's and Elizabeth's daughters as being five rather foolish and headstrong young ladies. Perhaps, however, I should have let go of my expectations and surrendered instead to the pull of a story well written and well told. For, because I had no unrealistic expectations of "The True Darcy Spirit" (it was after all about the daughter of Anne de Bourgh), I found myself happily absorbed and very impressed with this latest Jane Austen pastiche, and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good literary read.

Cassandra Darcy's life at home (Rosings) is not a happy one: her mother (formerly the sickly Anne de Bourgh of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice") is more preoccupied with keeping her second husband, Mr. Partington and her children from that marriage happy than to see to the wants and needs of her eldest daughter; and Mr. Partington cannot abide Cassandra, finding her too proud and clever for his liking. So that when it is perceived that Cassandra has committed an indiscretion, Mr. Partington summarily packs Cassandra off to his sister's in Bath, with instructions that the lady get Cassandra married off quickly and credibly. Once in Bath, however, the deeply unhappy and lonely Cassandra quickly succumbs to the blandishments of rogue and soon finds herself in London, alone and penniless and cut off from her family. Fortunately, Cassandra has the Darcy spirit, courage and is a very talented artist, and she is resolved to try and make her living as an artist. But she soon finds herself out of her depth in a city where everyone is not what they seem. Her landlady, Mrs. Nettleton, for example seems generous and kindly at first, but keeps insisting that Cassandra socialise with her friends, who are not at all to Cassandra's liking; and then there is Lord Usborne whose attentions are quite disturbing. But most troubling of all is her stiff-necked cousin, Horatio Darcy, who openly disapproves of her and has no trouble believing the worst of her. Will Cassandra thrive and survive on her own in London or will she, as Horatio Darcy believes, come to a grim end?

"The True Darcy Spirit" read more like a novel that Maria Edgeworth and Eliza Heywood would have written, rather than Jane Austen. Elizabeth Aston spends a lot of time developing her heroine's growth and maturity from a pampered (if unloved) young girl to a young lady able to earn her own living and find her own niche is society. Not very Jane Austen like at all; so that one really has to let go of the notion that one is reading another Jane Austen-like novel in order to appreciate the "The True Darcy Spirit." It is extremely well written (excellent prose style) and executed, and Elizabeth Aston's rendition of characters and scenes are clear, vivid and concise. However, there was, in my opinion anyway, one problem with the novel -- the sudden rushed romance between Cassandra and Horatio. For much of the book, both characters have little to do with each other, with Horatio truly believing that Cassandra has sunk beyond all redemption. So that when a sudden romance between the two is hinted at, one feels a little confused. Other that that, "The True Darcy Spirit" was a wonderfully absorbing and enjoyable read. I spent a nice, relaxing afternoon with this novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good historical novel to enjoy.
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This is the second book in this series that I have read. I did not like the first but having given it a poor review I wanted to check whether it was an aberration.This book is as poor as the other.

I know the author under two different names, Elizabeth Pewsey and Elizabeth Edmondson and greatly enjoy her work which is character driven and quirky. I suspected, because it is a Jane Austen derivative, that this would be a lighter read than her usual work, but I expected it to be well constructed and it wasn't. The plot was full of coincidences and holes and the characters were two dimensional efforts lent from the romcom cupboard.

Joan Aiken and Jane Aiken Hodge, not to forget Georgette Heyer, have shown that it is possible to write light, frothy yet well constructed historical romances. This is not in their league.

But do not be deterred from trying her books written as Pewsey and Edmondson. They are good.
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on 13 September 2015
Pride and prejudice goes full circle. Helen Fielding wrote the Bridget Jones books based on Pride and Prejudice, and this book has more than a touch of Bridget Jones about it. Cassandra keeps getting herself into scrapes, and the serious Mr Horatio Darcy helps her out of them, whilst the oversexed and odious Lord Usbourne tries to help her out of her knickers. Whilst hardly in the same league as Pride and Prejudice, this is a fun romp through the Georgian period with some of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy's relatives, and it was great reading on holiday.
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This is the first novel I've read by this author.

It's well written and all the characters have great depth, which in turn made the story very believable.
It's a very good historical novel for how society was at that particular time.

Although the author states she loves the way Jane Austen wrote and wants to continue along the same lines, she doesn't manage to do it.

I did find it a little boring at times, it wasn't a compulsive read, and I won't be reading anymore of these in her series that deals with the Darcy family.

It's not a book I would read again.
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on 10 September 2009
An excellent read in the style of Georgette Heyer without the 18th century language and with a more modern take on relationships. Using Austen's Mr Darcy and Elizabeth as the uninvolved parental connection adds structure to the story which revolves around the next generation of the Darcy family.
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Cassandra made a mistake when she fell in love and eloped only to find that her lover has feet of clay and only wanted her for her money. She leaves him and vows to make her own way in the world and support herself by painting. But Cassandra isn't well acquainted with the ways of the world and she soon finds herself the focus of Lord Usborne's attention as he wants to make her his latest mistress.

I read this book several years ago and have recently listened to the audio book and found it just as good as the first time I read it. I liked Camilla, one of the characters in the first book in this series - Mr Darcy's Daughters - and she reappears in this book. I liked the characters of Horatio Darcy, the banker, with whom Cassandra crosses swords when she tries to access her own fortune.

If you like well written historical novels with glimpses of Jane Austen's original characters then this might be of interest to you. I think it is well written and entertaining and it takes the Pride and Prejudice characters a generation further on in time. This is the third book in the series but the books in the series can be read in any order..
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on 28 June 2012
Very enjoyable series of books, flow well through the story of the Darcy clan. As I finish one I'm reaching for the next ideal for a wet summer afternoon. Not sure what I'll do once I complete the set.
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on 24 March 2015
Conyinuing perhaps not as you thought
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on 29 January 2016
Really enjoyed this book
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on 1 February 2016
So well written,
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