Top positive review
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Wll not outrage Austen fans
on 25 June 2011
The author writes with an Austenesque style with very few verbal anachronisms. She extends the P&P story while remaining true to the personalities created by Austen. Elizabeth's and Darcy's interactions, Lady Catherine and Lydia all come across as authentic. None of the characters is wholly irreproachable, which is also faithful to Austen.
Georgiana is an important character, and, of course, we didn't know all that much about her from P&P. However, the fact that she had eloped with Wickham at the age of 15 can plausibly be used to justify her behaving indiscreetly now she is a little older and gaining in confidence.
The plot is also fairly Austenesque. In fact it is quite explicitly about pride and prejudice, but in a new context. Unlike some would-be Austen continuations, there are genuine and important difficulties in the way of the lovers. I felt that the ending, where the difficulties were removed, had a touch of deus ex machina, but that is a minor quibble.
The criticism of the plausibility of some of the behaviour may be justified. Modern readers may not always understand the suffocating conventions that bound women in the Regency period. Odiwe clearly does understand them and even expresses thoughts about them through the characters. Nevertheless, it is difficult and perhaps undesirable for a 21st-century writer to see things totally through 18th/19th-century spectacles. The thoughts and occasionally the behaviour of the female characters may be a little anachronistic. In that respect, there is a touch of Georgette Heyer, whom I love but who essentially places 20th-century women in a Regency setting.
My only unhappiness was with the Caroline Bingley episodes. I didn't feel that they were true to her character as created by Austen. Of course, the reader can enjoy laughing at Caroline's discomfiture, but I couldn't believe she would ever forget her dignity enough to behave as Odiwe makes her.
However, overall I am very impressed by this book and will now buy another one of Odiwe's.