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Well written but long winded
on 20 September 2015
I puzzled greatly over the number of stars to give this book. I will start by saying that you often see reviews complaining a book is too short - this book is far too long. The writing style is probably the best I have seen in JAFF - but nothing really HAPPENS over the many,many pages. The children of Darcy and Lizzy are introduced into the book, of course, but you are never given any sense of them as real people nor any real feel of what sort of parents the Darcys are - there is a remark near the end of the book which implies that the two eldest children at least are intimidated by their father which seems highly unlikely given the upbringings of both Darcy himself and Elizabeth. I believe at this point the author is just trying to breath some life into the characterless youngest son, named Bennett, who is supposed to be a rebel but is actually portrayed at various points as an idiot, a socialist and who goes on to marry (shock, horror) an American.
The marriage of Darcy and Lizzy,although very sweet, also tends toward the boring. A huge part of Lizzy's appeal to Darcy is that she challenges him - she certainly does no such thing in this book. In fact, and rather alarmingly, towards the end of the book she appears to be turning into her mother. She does make one speech to her daughter about not judging people, after said daughter has made some utterly crass remarks which suggest she knows nothing about her parents at all - but Lizzy's speech in reply goes nowhere, we are not shown how the daughter reacts in any way (in fact, I thought a page was missing). It is as if the author suddenly realised Lizzy needed to show she had learned the lessons outlined in the original P&P - quite timely given that earlier in the story she showed prejudiced opinions about one of her oldest friends in a way that was very similar to the way she originally judged Darcy.
If you enjoy P&P variations, this is certainly very well written but I did often find myself checking how many pages were left and although characters and situations were well set-up,everything seemed to be resolved too easily and with no real drama. It may even be that this would have been better split into another 2 or 3 volumes where the author would have been able to develop ideas in a more satisfying manner.